Responsible Political Parenting

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As our nation teeters on the brink of economic ruin, it is an appropriate time to reflect upon the decisions of our political leaders.  One important question we ought to ask is do our representatives in Washington, Richmond, and in either city council or the county board of supervisors reflect our values?  And, if they don’t, what responsibility do we have to correct this issue?

Yes, I use the word responsibility because the actions of our elected officials are, in fact, our responsibility.  Whether we voted for the people currently in power, voted for someone else who didn’t win, or chose to forgo our civic duty and not vote at all, these people are a reflection of our own values and principles. Although it may seem like an odd thought at first, given that we have the ability to decide who represents us, we are indirectly the authors of our leaders’ actions; our politicians are our political children.

But this viewpoint brings up a troubling thought.  If we see our government and our laws as our figurative offspring, what should we do when they engage in behaviors that stand in stark contrast to our beliefs?  Now, that’s not to say that we should view our leaders as one, lumped together as a kind of monolithic group.  Like any collection of people, some are more in agreement with our values than others.

To answer the previous question, we need to ask another.  What would you do if your children engage in behavior that you find objectionable? If our representative, political party, or nation begins to travel down the wrong path, should we speak up and steer them in the proper direction?  Well, what if your child gets in with the wrong crowd and makes poor life choices?  Does a loving, responsible parent remain quiet, thereby tacitly supporting whatever foolish or dangerous course the child takes, even if he or she believes these acts will lead to self-destruction?  Or should he or she speak up and try to correct the behavior before it devolves into something even worse?

Unfortunately, speaking out against one’s elected officials, one’s party, and/or one’s nation when they are in the wrong is not popular in certain circles and can create considerable animosity.  After all, the faithful will follow every whim or decree without question, right?  The answer, of course, is no.  After all, if you truly care about someone or something and you see that she is causing harm to herself, you do what you can to improve the situation.  Simply staying silent or reciting the mantra of my country (or my party) right or wrong is about as helpful to the political health of the nation as an absentee father is to the upbringing of a child.

Now, don’t think that we are either better or worse than our politicians.  After all, most arise from the ranks of the ordinary citizens of this nation, just like we are.  But, when you grant a person such a significant amount of power, there arises a strong temptation and opportunity to misuse this privilege.  Do you know how your legislators act?  Is it safe to leave them unchecked for two, four, or even six years at a time? Yes, it is okay to trust, but still you ought to verify.

A representative republic such as ours cannot function properly without an informed citizenry engaged in their political duty, to oversee our nation and our politicians.  Our massive national debt is but a small taste of what happens when we neglect this role; without supervision, too many of our political children are running wild, maxing out our credit cards and engaging in all sorts of risky behavior with seedy characters.  So isn’t it about time that we take responsibility for the actions of those in power, make our voices heard, and reprimand the scoundrels whose primary motivation is to bleed the people in order to further their own political ambitions?

So how about it?  Are you ready to stand up and be a responsible political parent?

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