Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday's Op-Ed

I think that one of the best ways to learn how something works is to objectively observe it, and break down how all of the pieces operate and connect. Learning how this world and “the system” operates requires the patience and astuteness to watch a slippery morphing quagmire disguised in hidden agenda.

America promotes the image that it prides itself on democracy and its democratic process. However, we only have to examine the inequities that exist in the nation to realize that the “democratic process” is not all that it is promoted to be.

For the past few years, I’ve attended a slew of community council and community board meetings to observe how the political pieces function and connect on a local level.

I’ve seen politicians renege on promises and get re-elected. I’ve seen politicians voice one opinion and plan of action in one community district, and voice an entirely opposite plan and opinion in another district. I’ve seen people crying out for proper representation from their local politicians, and I’ve seen an absence of what I feel are the real sentiments of the majority of the community at meetings that are supposed to help that very community. After all of these experiences, I can’t help but notice the disingenuous nature that exists in all of the political pandering.

Some politicians are quick to jump in front of a television camera, or behind a radio microphone, and bewail violent deaths that happen in the street. Yet these same politicians allow sports stadiums to be built with hundreds-and-millions of dollars of city funds in the midst of a hiring freeze on teachers, and in the midst of little or no money being funneled into community programs and centers that could help to greatly decrease the violence. However, another side of this issue must also be explored.

We, the people, must demand certain services. Unfortunately, certain elected representatives aren’t going to act in the community’s best interest just because it’s in their job description. If we continue to allow politicians to pander to us by throwing holiday and summer parties, while the funds are going out of the back door to be disbursed in a way that is not in our best interest; then that is exactly what will happen.

I think that our vote and voice is effective collectively. Some members of some community districts have organized exactly who they will put into office before the election even occurs. This makes the politician starkly aware of who they are beholden to. If we do not exercise our vote collectively and determinedly then it is weak and of no consequence. Accountability must be stressed.

I’ve also conversed with people who do not believe in participating in the political process at all due to the rank deceit that plagues it. I can definitely understand this point of view. [SIDEBAR: There is a possibility that I too may one day join these ranks.] However, again I feel that if we do choose not to participate in voting because of the system’s gross inequities; we still must make a collective and determined decision. Our community still needs resources. Our community still bolsters the city funds with our tax monies. Monies that are being used to build extravagant sports stadiums, while our children hunger (mentally and physically). Therefore, I ask myself and others, “What should be done?”

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