It amazes me that whenever there is a discussion about the socials ills we face as a county and community, the conversation inevitably turns to politics and elected officials. Somewhere along the line, people have come to believe that politics and politicians are both the sole cause and solution to what ails us. I disagree.
More than anything that elected officials—individually or collectively can do, I believe that a clear understanding and embrace of information and resources is the cure. It’s quite simple; when people are armed with the information they want and need to make educated and informed decisions about their lives, they are then better equipped to be better for themselves and others.
It is, in part, the lack of (or the lack of access to) objective and thorough information that holds people back. An absence of understanding of the importance of education, economics and what drives our capitalistic system, and the basic understanding of human and social dynamics. These things are held together by the threads of basic literacy and comprehension. The lack of those basics contributes to ones inability to grasp the larger concepts, and thus are more readily accepting that both the problem and solution lie within the hands and laps of someone else.
This may also be a contributing factor to why voters, nationwide, elect candidates based on name recognition, their oratorical skills or some other topical but irrelevant factor instead of qualifications, ability, ideas and a comprehension of the seat and system to which they are seeking election.
Interestingly, many elected officials run on a never ending platform of the same issues, which never seem to be resolved. Yet, voters buy into the belief that the same or new candidate can indeed solve those pending problems…this election, this time.
Yet, the conversation and cycle never end; same problems, same promises, same platforms, and the same problems prevail. Until people start to recognize the ability to influence their own lives and livelihood over what any political entity can do, there will always be a population left by the wayside. Them being there is what keeps getting politicians elected, and reelected fueled by the hope and broken dreams that the government will solve their woes.
The discussion must include education, economics and self-empowerment in order for a community and country to rise above the challenges they repeatedly face—unemployment, crime, poor health. The problems and those who face them are the backs upon which others stand and from which they benefit. Problems for some equate to profits for others.
Ultimately, people make decisions based on what they know…or not, thus validating the basic assumption that people would do better if they knew better. This isn’t blaming the victim; it’s empowering them.