Without a Culpable Citizenry, There Is No Freedom

I was going to respond to a letter by Jayne Platt:

We can call and write our representatives. I do, I really do. Should I quit my job and babysit the Assembly, watching every bill that comes to the floor? Then, I ask, why should I vote?
Stopping a self-serving, destructive bill needs to be done before it becomes law. After it’s law, how long will it take to reverse it? Separation of powers has taken decades to get to this point, and we’re still not there yet.
If half of our elected officials can’t be there to vote on critical bills, what logic on earth makes one think that a working Rhode Islander could control that power?
Under the current structure of government, I am not consenting.

But then I noticed that Westerly’s Ed Murphy, although not meaning directly to do so, has already responded:

The problem in Rhode Island is the broad abdication of citizens’ responsibility for what is happening to them. When people blindly accept what they are told by self-interested politicians, accept as normal and unchangeable that which is clearly improper, and look out only for what they perceive to be their personal interests, regardless of the interests of their neighbors, what can we expect?
Exactly what we have: a one-party legislature, dominated by legislators who are either present or past union leaders or members, led by a small group of power grabbers who would rather watch a Celtics basketball game than meet their sworn obligations to the public. How much does it require to make the point?
The problem is as clear as the answer: Wake up, Rhode Island! Stop letting others determine your future! Accept some responsibility for what is being done to you and your family! Join the ballot-box union and accept some responsibility for our future!

I don’t think people understand how much good they can do merely as they go about their lives here in Rhode Island. Contacting representatives is a good thing (I think), but each call is only one call. What this state needs are more calls from different people as well as more votes for different candidates.
You know, one doesn’t have to be slightly-questionable-activist-guy (or gal) to play a role in moving things forward. Talk to those with whom you interact every day. Encourage voting — or, better, heterodox voting. Above all, what Rhode Islanders need to foster is a political culture in which discussing politics — and actually acting on gripes and conclusions — isn’t an activity only for those with ulterior interests or a predilection for posturing.

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