Is Politics Important?
I was talking to my son the other day. He's been under a lot of stress lately, and after listening to him vent for about 20 minutes, I thought a change of topic would help. So in passing I asked him if he'd seen the Obama-Romney debate. I didn't ask his opinion of it. I didn't ask him to evaluate either man's performance. I didn't make any comment at all beyond "Did you see it?"
It didn't help.
His comment really floored me, though. He said that he was glad that I was interested and active in politics, but he said he didn't care about "all that political garbage" at all. Since he lived in California, quoth he, unless you agreed 100% with Progressive-Democrats, politics was a waste of time.
The very next day I ran into a younger fellow (almost everyone is becoming a younger fellow much faster than I'd like) who said he'd never voted for a president.
What both my son and this other young man fail to realize is that politics is not a hobby. It is not a pastime.
Having a model railroad is a hobby. Playing golf is a hobby (unless of course your name is Tiger Woods. In that case it's capitalistic exploitation of the downtrodden 99%).
Politics is only a little less important than your heart rate.
Look at it this way: politics is the way we, as a nation and a culture, have determined what common rules and customs we have agreed to live by for nearly 225 years. But when politics is ignored by as much as a third of the population, and those who store great faith in the progressive dream are incredibly motivated, well, I hope everyone will enjoy ObamaCare.
And it starts at the very lowest local level. You didn't vote in the last school board election? Then don't complain about Michelle determining not only what your kids will eat in school, but how much they will be allowed to eat. Don't complain when your kids are bullied -- by a teacher, no less -- because of the words on their t-shirts. Don't get upset when the history books that they read evaluate the contributions of historic figures not by how much they helped form what used to be the quintessential American character, but rather by how many are listed in the book and what the racial balance among Native Americans, whites, blacks, Latino/Hispanics, and Asians is.
You live in New York City and didn't vote? Then stop whining about being limited to a 16-ounce plastic cup full of Coke, Pepsi, or whatever your choice of beverage might be.
Do you tear your hair out when you go to fill your tank? Do you think that it's the "greedy corporation" that's selling the gas that's the source of your angst, or do you realize that there are members of Congress and the executive branch who brag about "putting their boot on the neck of the oil companies" when what they are really doing is putting their collective (and collectivist) boot on your neck -- while they put their hands in your wallet?
Do you think the cost of your steak is too high? You could blame some of the cost on the global warming hoax, you know. Our farmers are encouraged to sell their corn not as animal feed, but so that it can be converted to ethanol. The EPA then requires ethanol to be mixed with your gasoline and put in your tank to reduce "greenhouse" gases. And, by the way, ethanol is more expensive than refined petroleum, so it, too, increases the cost of your daily commute. And if your state, like mine, imposes a sales tax on this governmentally inflated price of gas, that sales tax goes up as well.
Do you hate the idea of gigantic windmills dotting the landscape? Are you yearning to find a job so you can afford one of those new cars that resemble roller-skates with windows and that just might spontaneously burst into flame? Once again, it's politics in action.
Do you think that you don't have to worry about politics because you are in that 46% of Americans who don't pay federal income tax? You might want to think again. You pay a tax on your phone, your cable TV bill, your gasoline (beyond any state, county, or city sales taxes), your tires (no kidding, there's a separate tax for tires), and on and on and on. You pay, indirectly, all the taxes that are sent to Washington by every company from which you purchase things, including the bread on your table. You think that since there's no sales tax on certain food items that there's no tax at all?
That level of naiveté alone shows what the impact of politics is and what the cost of ignoring it (or thinking of it as just a hobby) may be.
True, there may be no sales tax on your weekly fix of Twinkies or Ding Dongs, but the baker takes part of what you pay for your Twinkie (the part that is called "profit") and sends some of it along to Washington. There is no escape.
The point here is that every single part and every single facet of your life is impacted by politics. Politics cannot be ignored.
Sensible people check the locks on the doors of their homes before they turn in for the night, right? Why? It's a way to protect yourself and your family. Voting is almost identical in intent and result. Not voting is like leaving your doors wide open and putting up a sign on your front lawn that says "Looters Welcome"!
Something to think about, and some thoughts to share the next time someone says to you, "Oh, I can't be bothered voting."
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a Vietnam veteran, an independent voter, and a frequent contributor to American Thinker. Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.