Government of the people takes a team effort

Everybody talks about how government fails the people, but few do anything about it.

People get the government they deserve, depending on their work and effort in elections.

Now is the acceptable season for the people of the U.P. to get to work, particularly because this district’s congressman is leaving office. Given the staying power of incumbents through gerrymandered districts and legalized bribery known in polite circles as campaign contributions, the election of a new representative of the Michigan’s First Congressional District will impact the U.P.’s fate for perhaps a decade or more.

From now until Election Day, the people have the power. What they do or don’t do during this time will determine their fate.

In one scenario, the one which unfortunately is far too common, the people do nothing but rail against the system, complain about all the ways their leaders, their elected leaders, let them down, but manage to cast a vote on Election Day. Judging from a poll on our website last week, that’s the scenario we’re headed toward again: 76 percent of respondents said the extent of their involvement this election would be, at most, casting a vote.

Given the insanely divisive political tenor of the times, it might seem unrealistic that there are issues in which we’re all in agreement. But there are.

Recently a senior citizen trying to live on a fixed income called about the outrageous prices we pay for energy. Who’s responsible? What can be done?

One thing that can be done is granting the consent to govern to leaders who will work for us instead of with energy corporations that oppress us.

It’s not easy. It requires more than just showing up on Election Day. It involves organizing, bringing like-minded voters together, demanding real commitment from candidates to support your issues and campaigning against ones who don’t, including the ones who won’t even show up in person in the area when they’re running for election. It involves writing letters to the editor, walking precincts, and holding them accountable by monitoring every action they take once they’re in office.

Active participation by the people is essential in a democratic republic. Without it, zealots and special interests rule, and they’re never on your side, the side of the people.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial