Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Election issues: Are we lazy or what?

A friend stopped by to see me this morning. He is quite involved in
state politics, not as an elected or appointed official, but as a
volunteer in the Statehouse. He is also involved in Farm Bureau.
One of his jobs is to answer the telephone at the Statehouse when the Indiana General Assembly is in session.
He takes calls on all subjects; in fact, at one point the telephones were backed up 500 calls during the last session.
One of the points he made today was, anyone can lobby for any cause they
wish. But, they have to go to Indianapolis and see the people who make
the laws and plan the state's two-year budget.
A few people will do so, but most won't, he said.
Why?
Do we expect the organizations we join to lobby for us?
I belong to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP),
though I doubt I'll ever be financially able to retire. I'm not even
sure I would want to retire, if I had good health. I always plan to
write, as long as I can hold a pen or produce typos on a keyboard.
But I'm also a member of Alamo Christian Church, Alamo, Ind. To my
knowledge, none of our members lobby on my behalf. We have no paid
lobbyists, according to the monthly financial reports.
I also belong to the Clay County YMCA. Any lobbyists there? Maybe, but I'm not sure.
This all reminds me of something one of my bosses said about a decade ago.
People complain about "special interest groups" running the country,
but we're all part of a special interest group.
Ahh, yes. But that's the rub.
I am a member of several special interest groups. I cannot be defined by just one of my memberships.
Not all retired persons are Christians -- they are certainly not all
members of the little church I attend. I'm sure many members of AARP do
not share my values. As an American I support their right to be
different and I stand up for my right to be an individual as well.
I guess I had better take time to visit the Indiana General Assembly, or not
complain because the state isn't doing what I think is best.
I vote in each election.
Usually, since I began voting in the early 1970s, I have voted Republican
(except for some state and local races). I voted for Gerald Ford
(against Jimmy Carter), I voted for Ronald Reagan (twice) and I voted
against Bill Clinton and against George W. Bush (twice each).
But I never really told any politician how I felt on the issues.
I think my friend was right this morning. You have to be your own lobbyist.