For the last four years, I have had the privilege of traveling all across our nation and speaking to all types of wonderful American citizens. I talk about my love for this nation and my journey towards becoming an American.
Invariably, after each occasion, some wearied, frustrated attendee will work their way towards me, press their hands firmly into mine and look at me with quiet desperation as they ask, “Do you think our country can be saved? Is it too late to change things?”
Some may giggle at the intensity of such an inquiry, but I never do. I take it quite seriously. While the expression may sound dramatic, I understand exactly where it comes from. People are scared. People are worried. Hard-working Americans are watching their savings, their jobs, their health insurance, their homes just evaporate in front of them. When they dare to complain about how their hard-earned money is being spent, they are accused of being racists, bigots, anarchists, homophobes…whatever “ists” and “phobes” are in season that day.
It’s wearying. It’s discouraging. I get that. I’d be lying if I said I never had days where I feel the battle is lost. I look at how the media has become nothing but a stenographer’s pool for the White House and I wonder how Americans can ever find the truth, when the one institution sworn to report the truth has given up on even the concept of veracity.
But then I am reminded of just how great this country is, and by extension how great her people are. Even in the face of overwhelming odds, Americans have never been a people to back down from a challenge, especially when it comes to freedom. Then I can look at those strained faces hoping so desperately for me to have a good answer and say, “As long as there are people like you asking that question, it will never be too late,”…and I truly believe that.
The problem comes when ordinary people wait for extraordinary leaders to come save them. We humans have some deep-rooted need for a hero. We think that one person – a Superman of sorts – can just come along and make everything better. That would be easier. Heck, I’d love a superhero to come swooping through my house and magically make all the dirt, dust and bills disappear.
Unfortunately, its not that easy. This is real life, and in real life we are each responsible for our own actions. That is how our government works, too. Government isn’t a superhero. It’s not some other-worldly entity that functions outside of the normal parameters of time and space. Government is us…and “us” dropped the ball.
So, is it too late? Short answer -no, but you have to be the change. I know that sounds terribly cliche but there is no other way to say it. You’re a citizen, you’re a voter, you have a responsibility to hold your government accountable. No one else is going to do it for you. Take back control of your life.
To that end, one of my favorite citizen-journalist organizations is holding a contest encouraging regular Americans to confront their representatives during the August recess of Congress. Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks often says, “Government goes to those who show up.” Watchdog Wire is encouraging average citizens to simply “show up” this summer, as our legislators use the summer recess to head home to constituents.
WW wants you to head out to those events with your camera or smartphone. Ask a question, stage something clever, be funny, get your word in. Whatever you feel like doing, the point is that it’s time for us to start “showing up” if we have any hope of righting this ship.
You may be saying to yourself, “But Kira, who am I? I’m a [senior citizen/stay-home-mom/student/high school drop-out/etc.]. How am I qualified to speak on politics and government?”
To which I would respond, “You pay your taxes, earn (or have earned) a living, buy gas, use water, drive cars, eat out, buy food at the grocery store, sing, dance, smoke, drink, go to the beach, go the park, graduate from school, get married, get divorced, get remarried, etc. etc. Every one of these things, every single one is affected and/or regulated by government. Your entire life is at the mercy of government so, hell yes, you are qualified to speak on politics and government!”
So, go be an expert. I happen to be on of the “celebrity” judges for this contest (yes, they are scraping the bottom of the “celebrity” barrel, but I take what I can get!) and I can’t wait to see what happens when some of you start showing up to remind your legislators that you see who they are and what they’re doing. And that you’re watching.
And that’s what we need more of. We need more people reminding our officials that they are indeed being watched. None of what they do is without consequences for us regular citizens, thus none of what they do should be without consequences for themselves as well.
Click here to find out more about the contest. Don’t worry about quality. Just get out there, point and shoot!
You want change? Its time to start showing up.
*Kira Davis is a freelance blogger, scotch enthusiast and IJReview’s Op-Ed-Diva-in-Chief. She as interviewed President Obama and appeared on Fox News, the Blaze and the Dr.Phil Show. Follow Kira on Twitter @KiraAynDavis