― Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right
It is quite easy to complain about the state of affairs in our country. People have been doing it since the beginning of time. No president, no matter his party, remained unscathed. Thomas Jefferson had Sally Hemings, and JFK faced the Bay of Pigs debacle. Nixon had Watergate and Reagan faced the Iran-contra scandal. Whether the proverbial shoe drops on a personal matter or a political debacle, every leader eventually faces the angry faces of those who elected him.
Yes, It is easy to sit back and be an armchair quarterback as our elected officials attempt to straighten out our country’s many problems. Without knowing all of the facts though, our solutions are not always feasible. So we sit there and complain about the liberal left or conservative right and discuss the demise of our country with our friends and neighbors. We feel afraid and helpless and worry that we are beyond the point of being saved.
I remember being a relatively new teacher during the Gulf War and trying to convince my students to register to vote. We were discussing their apathy towards school at the time, and one particular young man went on a “what’s the point” tirade. “We are all gonna die anyway,” he exclaimed, “I will probably be drafted next year, so I am just gonna smoke pot and chill till they get me.”
George H. W. Bush was president at the time, and the Mideast crisis was as real to that generation as the Vietnam war had been to their parents. I understood my students’ fears, but I still didn’t understand their apathy, just like I don’t understand the apathy that many people are displaying today. In 2016 only 59.7% of eligible voters actually cast their ballots. What were the other 40.3% possibly thinking?
How many of those non-voters are complaining about the state of things now?
Things are definitely not beyond the point of saving, but we all have to invest in the future. We can make a difference if we care enough to try. I agree that the government needs to do more to save our environment, but so do we. Approximately 25% of Americans do not recycle their trash. Why? It is an easy task and is so beneficial. How about water waste? Do you know that the average American uses 100 gallons of water a day, and much of that is wasted. You can save 25 gallons a month if you simply turn off the water while you brush your teeth and turn it back on when you are ready to rinse. Then there is that leaky faucet. Fix it and you will save 2,700 gallons a year.
There is so much that we can do to make our world a better place. Teach our children not to bully. Lead by example. Boycott companies that are destroying our planet and support companies that make an effort to do what is right. Don’t just complain about politicians who are working against your beliefs...volunteer to work for their opponents. Let your voices be a positive move for change rather than another complaining constituent who whines rather than works.
This week I read a thriller with historical overtones that really got me thinking. When the Past Came Calling by Larry S. Kaplan brought back all of the conspiracy theories of the JFK assassination and reminded me that every generation faces issues that seem worse than the ones before, yet we somehow get stronger.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.