Over the past few years, we have slipped away from one of the most important underpinnings of this republic of ours: that those who are elected to represent us in government, whether they be Senators or Representatives or the President — they work for us.
And it is well past time we reminded them of that — loud and clear — don’t you think?
The other day, I quoted an old FDR chestnut that KathyG highlighted, but the nugget of it bears repeating this morning:
I’ll close with one of my favorite political stories. It concerns my all-time favorite president, FDR. He was meeting with a group of reformers trying to persuade him to support one of their goals. After they finished speaking, FDR said to them, "You’ve convinced me. I want to do it. Now make me do it."
And that, my friend, is the task at hand.
It is, indeed.
One of the things that far too often gets lost in the day to day shuffle is this: politicians compromise, activists push…and somewhere between the two, legislation gets made. Our job, as advocates for progressive policy, is to stand up and make the folks we elect to Congress do what we think they ought to be doing. If we had more elected officials willing to lead on civil liberties issues like Russ Feingold, Chris Dodd and a number of others have been in front of the cameras and behind the scenes, I think we would be much better off. But, alas, we don’t.
So it is up to us to make them do what is necessary to protect the liberty and the rule of law on which this nation was founded.
I know that I say this a lot, but citizenship is something that you do. You can’t just sit back and let someone else do it for you — because that person may be advocating policies that you find abhorrent. Only your voice is going to carry the message that you want to send.
We’ve been tossing around some ideas on how to best advocate for the rule of law, mainly centered around the FISA issue since it is the latest front in this battle to restore balance and accountability in our government. Our Accountability Now project is one way we are trying to do just that. You can find some of the other potential action step proposals here.
But it starts with collecting necessary information and that takes a little legwork and some phone calls to local offices and checking websites and local newspapers and such. So, here’s step one for us today — let’s see how many public appearances we can come up with for members of Congress, especially Senators but really folks in both houses. If you find a public event, let us know day, time, place, and who is involved in the comments. We’re working on setting up a mechanism to assemble all of this, but we can’t wait — the recess for Congress begins this weekend, and they need to hear from as many of us as possible through the entire 4th of July break.
It’s time to remind them what patriotism really looks like. Now, let’s get to work…
(YouTube — The Preamable from Scholastic Rock. Love this…)