The post by ‘D’ about becoming engaged in the community is one of the best reasoned I’ve yet read.
Yes, we should know each of our local elected officials for we put them in office. I submit that people of our way of thought and lifestyle must get involved with our communities; that we get involved with the Tea Party, with the Republicans, with the Democrats, with the Libertarians, perhaps even create a new political party, and use political processes to effect change within acceptable channels of change. We have been given a most unique gift, a flexible government amenable to change without bloodshed. This is a gift of unimaginable proportions. Destruction is easy. We need only to look at our own Civil War, to Serbia, to Afghanistan, to Syria, in order to see this. To build and to build something better, now that is much more difficult and the challenge much more gratifying.
I have been an elected judge in the Great State of Texas. Even though I chose to serve but one term of office, for the rest of my life, I shall likely receive mail addressed to the Honorable. I simply cannot describe what that feels like, how very very humbling it is, how grave and solemn it is, to receive mail so addressed; to have men older and no doubt wiser stand when I walk into a room, to no longer to be called by my name but to be quietly addressed as ‘Your Honor.’ How so many elected officials live lives less than honorable when openly referred to as ‘the Honorable’ is beyond comprehension. Nevertheless, elected leaders at the White House, at Congress, at State Houses, and at our local Court Houses across the land all too often live lives and perform deeds that are by no standard, Honorable (all elected leaders receive the appellation). In the post Nixon era it has become common for a politician behaving in a horribly egregious manner to apologize and all is forgiven. Nay, I say. Nay! We should never forgive nor forget anyone who tarnishes the high standard of public trust conferred by elected position.
I became involved in the political process and ran for office when someone I thought undeserving ran unopposed. This my friends is the heavy burden life in our Republic places on each of its citizens. Civics and political science classes often curtail the obligations imposed upon citizens of this Republic. To vote and to serve on a jury are the obligations most quoted. These are important and by no means trivial, however the mature citizen understands the higher obligations of military service and the political processes.
A philosopher far wiser than myself once observed that every people have the government they deserve. This is the reason different peoples have organized under warlords, kings, dictators, democracies, and republics. Functional representative governments require citizens willing to stake their fortunes, their liberty, and their very lives, for abstract and intangible principles.
The only physical difference between El Paso and Juarez is the Rio Grande yet we have two peoples living with totally different sets of opportunities. Our ancestors decided they did not want to live as unrepresented citizens of the Crown and violently threw off the mantle of British rule. By so doing they ultimately created a political system that has made the United States the envy of the world. Far too many citizens of Mexico would flee rather than undergo sacrifice required to create there what we have here. As long as this happens, life under their form of government will always remain less desirable. That we are willing to absorb a people unwilling to make those ultimate sacrifices, many unwilling to even learn our language but all more than willing to absorb our largess, works in concert toward our ultimate downfall.
Some of us are quick to call for the violent dismemberment of this representative government that is the envy of the world. Friends, our ancestors and many of us alive today have paid an incredible price for the however much diminished freedoms we now enjoy. They have given us a political system amenable to non-violent change. Hiding in a hole with our beans, bullets, and band aids is not the answer. What we need, is the courage, the commitment, and the will to use political processes to effect desirable change. My friends, it will always be easier to destroy than to build.
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