Hi, my name is America, and I have a problem

It is common knowledge that the USA is the greatest country on earth. It is very hard for me to dispute that as a fact because to do so would be less than graceful. The USA has been very good to me. It has provided me with a wonderful public education system which was subsidized by the taxpayers. It has provided me with a lifetime living in a peaceful, low crime environment. Although our government deserves criticism from time to time (if not often), we can criticize it without fear. The first amendment allows us to say things which are boorish, polite, smart or stupid. I, for one, have enjoyed the privilege of having uttered all of the above.

That said, there are trends which though troubling are solvable. In the latest city election here in Minot, fewer than 3,500 people in a town of nearly 50,000 exercised their right to vote. Assuming there are roughly 20,000 eligible voters in Minot, roughly 17,000 didn’t bother to vote. Fewer than half of the eligible voters in the USA voted in last November’s Presidential election. Both political parties well deserve criticism. It is apparent that the Republican party has swung too far to the right and the Democratic party has swung too far to the left. As a result, citizens who merely want to be governed by reasonable persons are left with less than desirable choices.

It is very easy to assign blame. People in high profile positions are easy targets. Let me offer an alternative opinion. If a majority of the eligible voters are doing nothing, could they be the root of the problem? What is stopping them from demanding that the political party toward which they lean, stop posturing and start governing? What is stopping them from starting a third party? As those who have served in the military know, drill sergeants tell their trainees to get off their (expletive) and on their feet. Some of us are watching MSNBC and getting angry. Some of us are watching Fox News and getting angry. That is a problem. What may be even more of a problem is that it looks like the majority of us don’t give a damn. I reserve the right to be wrong, but apathy and inaction have not been the historical path to greatness.

One can’t phone in a functional republic let alone not bothering to pick the phone up. We can’t fix our problems unless we admit them. Let’s join Americans Anonymous. Hi, my name is America, and I have a problem. Hi, America.

Jim Maxson

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