A Reader's Call for Public Engagement

Frank Geefay, a community advocate says 'There is really no place for public apathy.'

“You don't always get what you ask for, but you never get what you don't ask for...unless it's contagious!” - Franklyn Broude. 

If you don’t ask for it then don't expect to get it no matter how much you grumble. Government at every level has always been criticized for not delivering to their promises or chartered responsibilities. Yet all the public seems to do is grumble about how bad government is yet take no real actions to change the situation.

In reality most of our regulatory and enforcement agencies are grossly underfunded or operate so inefficiently that they do not have adequate resources to properly do their jobs. They have a great tendency to take the path of least resistance when it comes to the enforcement of laws and regulations.

When large corporations and individuals with lots of money and legal resources are confronted by governments about violations of the law the agencies tend to make large compromises which usually favor such offenders, and the offending corporations and individuals easily get away with breaking laws that we less endowed people could not possibly do. It is in the nature of the well-endowed to look only after their self-interests. That is why they are successful.  It is an unfair system but that is the way it works not only in Democracies but in most other forms of governments. Those who have the resources have an unjust advantage over those who don't, a form of survival of the fittest.

So how do we get the system to work for the majority of less endowed individuals? By taking ACTION against injustices. We have got to get out of our comfort zones and literally and openly express our displeasures to government regulators in-mass. One thing government is sensitive to is public option and bad publicity. Government agencies are sensitive to being called incompetent in public and in the press.  This is their Achilles tendon and our primary recourse.

There is no place for an apathetic public. Grumbling to yourself and your friends gets you nowhere. You must grumble with your friends to the government agencies, in public, and to the press. You must embarrass them into submitting to your rights and wishes. You must become an advocate and activist for your cause and against injustices. The more people do it the more powerful is the effect.  That is unfortunately how the system works. Don’t expect the government to fight for your rights unless you are willing to fight with them. 

It is also not good enough to just elect officials who you hope will represent your views. They are equally swayed by powerful cooperate interests and well-endowed individuals. You must be forever vigilant.

—submitted by Frank Geefay

Robin February 08, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Thank you! I will share this with my kids!
Susan February 09, 2012 at 02:02 AM
3,000 signature needed by Friday, February 10th. Spurred on by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, big, special-interest money from corporations and wealthy individuals is already swamping our campaigns through so-called Super PACs. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has fueled Super PACs by ruling that candidates can appear at Super PAC fundraising events, and that Super PAC spending is still “independent” of the candidate. Unbelievable! But TRUE. We must replace the FEC commissioners, and your signature on the White House petition could push us over the top. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, follow these easy steps to create an account and add your name to the petition! http://www.lwv.org/content/step-step-instructions-signing-white-house-petition League of Women Voters 1730 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20036
Frank Geefay February 09, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Susan make a good point. Campaign reform is badly needed to check insane campaign practices and expenses. There are far too many abuses sanctioned by regulators such as the Federal Election Commission. We must take action as suggested by Susan to counter these abuses.
Susan February 11, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Good news! "Yesterday afternoon, we surpassed our 25,000 signature goal on the petition asking the White House to appoint new FEC commissioners! We could not have done this without the support of League members and supporters from across the country. You persevered through what was sometimes a difficult process, and helped push this petition across the finish line!" Elisabeth MacNamara
President, League of Women Voters LWV statement regarding this achievement: http://www.lwv.org/press-releases/league-and-partners-surpass-fec-petition-goal
Frank Geefay February 11, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Congratulations on the petition signatures. But this is only the first step in changing a broken campaign finance system. Even our last local City Council elections abound in insane developer campaign contributions far in excess of candidate’s actually campaigns expenses. Our form of elections puts those not backed by wealthy companies and well-endowed individuals at a distinct disadvantage. This makes a mockery of our free election system.


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