We The Peeps - And Response

Monday, May 5, 2014
Here we are, 5 May 2014. Some call this a day of celebration, Stinko de Mayo, celebrating by getting stinky drunk... to celebrate a date they know little or nothing about, it's just a reason to celebrate. It's more important for Tennesseans this year. It's the day before county primary elections, which occur tomorrow, 6 May.

Whenever I hear people complain about our government one of the first things I ask is whether or not they've ever spoken to any of their elected officials, often receiving a blank stare.
The next question is if they know who their elected officials are, followed by a request to pull out that old voter registration card so we can see what districts they're in.

Granny always said I could be a little snot, back when I was little.

We hear young whippers and geezers alike complain about government, say their vote doesn't count. When we don't vote, or even register to, our votes certainly don't count. When we don't participate in the system we claim ownership of, we have no right to complain, do we.

If we don't participate, do we truly own the system?

Almost 20 years ago, about this time of year in 1996 actually, I was having coffee in Nashville with Mr. Patrick McCutchen, then executive director to the District Attorneys General Conference who, unfortunately, passed away suddenly back in 1998. We were discussing kids, their futures, and how all of us need to work to ensure they have all the opportunities they deserve, like we did growing up. I'll always remember the comment he made; "Roy, we think holding our children in our arms is the greatest feeling in the world. There's nothing that compares to holding a grandchild, especially the first one."

He was right, you know.

10 years before that The Judds released a hit song written by Jamie O'Hara, "Grandpa," that I've always liked. 1986 seems like a long time ago, before some of us, including some political candidates, were even born but with only slight changes of wording how much more true is it today than all those years ago?

Tell me 'bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like
This world's gone crazy
And Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
Where the line between right and wrong
Didn't seem so hazy

Did people really have a job with pay
And government stay out of your way
Did politicians really fear The Peeps
Or did they always make you pay
Did everybody work to earn their way
And daddies not get forced to go away
Whoa oh Grandpa
Tell me 'bout the good old days


(Sorry, I can't play a guitar.)

Everything is changing fast
We call it progress
But I just don't know
And Grandma, let's wander back into the past
And paint me the picture of long ago

Did old men demand everything their way
While everybody else had to pay
Were honor and integrity the rule
Or something only dreamt of by a fool
Was there always a new scandal every day
While you were told to pay and pay and pay
Whoa oh Grandma
Tell me 'bout the good old days

Whoa oh Grandpa... whoa oh Grandma
Tell me 'bout the good ole days

Whoa oh Grandpa... whoa oh Grandma
Tell me 'bout the good ole days

During a short discussion with a friend recently I made a comment about getting crossways with the party elite, the establishment, those "powers that be" as some will call them, and the response was interesting; "No. Just not one to do as the old men folk demand."

The ring's getting crowded, isn't it. What with all the old men who either put this nation, the greatest nation to ever grace the face of Planet Terra, in the shape it's in, encouraged others to do so for their own personal gain, young whippers without enough life experience to know about honor, those willing to go toe-to-toe and get nose-to-nose without doing the kiss-kiss-smoochie-smoochie deal with the others to straighten the problems out, perhaps it's time to thin the crowd.

Perhaps it's time to send those who got us here home. What have the old men done but get us another day older and deeper in debt, to quote Tennessee Ernie Ford, including our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

One of the greatest documents ever written in the history of mankind begins "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We the Peeps... our Posterity... is anyone willing to answer "No" when asked "Grandpa, Grandma, did you do everything possible to make sure my generation has the same opportunities yours did? Tell me again, please, about those good old days."

Not me. I'm scared enough that voting for these two Democrats tomorrow is going to hurt.

I wonder if my Lamaze training from all those years ago will help...

Royce Burrage, Jr.
Royce@Officially Chapped.org 

* * *

One of the greatest embarrassments of this country is the low voter turnout. And voting is only the beginning of good citizenship, not the end.  Staying involved, active, and informed is required. Unfortunately, of those few who do vote, most don't even start paying attention until a few months before an election. 

I can remember when adults took children to the polls to show them that this was something important to do.  And sadly it is the moderates and the left, though more numerous in this country, who are the least discipline about voting.  Say what you will about single issue voters on the right and their conspiracy theories. But they are at least driven enough to stand in line. 

Yes, I'm more than aware of the roadblocks and games they put up to voting, such as in Ohio the curtailing of early voting in Democratic areas and not in Republican areas. Or not putting enough voting machines in Democratic leaning districts. 

However, in 2008 and 2012 we showed that we could rock the vote enough to overcome these obstacles. There is no reason we cannot do it during the midterms. And we need to force the state and local Democratic Party to run a candidate in every race and support the people who do run properly.  There should be no uncontested races. 

Do you think a Republican State House will fix the gerrymandered 3rd and 9th districts out of the goodness of their hearts? 

R.W. Young

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