I remember when I reached the age to vote. I was excited. The only problem I had was having to decide which party to align with.
My beliefs then and even now reside somewhere in the middle of the two primary parties. Having to pick one over the other seemed like nonsense. The integrity of an elected official was more important to me than his or her political party. My thought then was that whoever wanted to serve the people should do so regardless of the affiliation, race, gender or other labels used to separate those they represented.
At that time, character, honesty and a desire to improve conditions for all people was a basic requirement expected from those who ran for public office. Although talking points varied as they do now, the perception of who was going to represent you was as important as anything else. You wanted to trust that they would do as they said they would do. Character played an important part when choosing to cast a vote. Regardless of what party won, the hopes of many was that positive change would occur. I would like to think that it is still a priority for individuals who are voted to in office, but sometimes I wonder.
Numerous laws have been passed over the last few years that seem to have no real positive effect on many of the people. With each vote cast, lawmakers seem to compromise and fragment our rights and freedoms. What results seems to be focused more on improving the bottom line of companies that are not necessarily working for the people’s well-being, but their own – often by dangling dollars to support those entrusted to vote to make a little change here and there. Some of our lawmakers do accommodate them, but it comes at a price. The dollars they pay cost we the people bits of our trust in them.
The mass shooting in Florida last month was quite disturbing because once again the nation had to face the loss of precious lives. Most everyone is saddened, angry, disturbed and fed up with the rampant misuse of firearms that have no business on the streets to begin with. Why on earth does anyone personally need to own semi-automatic weapons?
The fallout is the impact on people and how they view their safety. Children are now concerned about their personal safety and confused as to why this is happening. In fact, our youth are standing up and demanding answers from lawmakers. Perhaps their fire and interest might open the door to more responsible laws being implemented to prevent the likelihood of such callous misuse of firearms. Hopefully this unrest will not be swept under the rug or the discussion switched to a topic of the legality of gun ownership. Gun ownership is not the concern, it is the type of guns made available that is the primary issue.
Perhaps we the people, should consider looking at some of the virtues that were once very important when considering individuals who will represent you and your interest. Are they honest? Are they compassionate? Do they have a heart for the people? Can you trust them to represent the interest that effect your freedoms and that of your community?
There are many basic things that we all want and need. We need clean air to breath. We need fresh and clean water to drink. We should feel safe whether we are in schools or walking on the streets. Our freedoms should not be pawned away to the highest bidder in a transaction. We should expect justice from our lawmakers. Those we vote for must remember that they are to represent the people’s interest.
“We the people” might want to consider that when our majority interest is not represented, or our freedoms become entangled or “sold down the river,” we do have one recourse that can make a difference. Vote them out, without hesitation in a heartbeat. Eventually those voted into office will remember that serving is a privilege and trust is earned, not given away.
Regina Gale is a speaker and local author of “Sometimes He Buys Me Grapes” a memoir of the song and dance of life from a seasoned woman’s heart. www.reginagale.com.