Truth to power…

I’m use to getting form letters from my elected representatives. Writing them directly might not count for much in today’s world, but the right to petition our government for redress of grievances is one of the hallmarks of the American democracy. Even as one voice among 300 million it’s not a right that I’m willing to let quietly die or to forgo simply because it doesn’t feel effective.

Like others of a certain age, I also use Facebook and Twitter to make my opinion known. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, these messages to power go unremarked and barely noticed… Which is why I was surprised today to get a reply to my last post on Representative Andy Harris’ Facebook page. It might have had a bit of the form letter flavor, but it at least meant that a staffer had to take the time to note my opinion and provide the appropriate response. That was unexpected.

The government writ large understands two basic things: money and popular opinion. Until I hit that elusive Powerball jackpot, I won’t be hiring my own lobbyist, but the one thing I can do, loud and long, is let my opinion be known at every opportunity. I know there are plenty of people out there who thing I should shut my pie hole and be glad I have a job (even if it is part time for the next 9 weeks), or think that the typical bureaucrat is overpaid, or think the whole damned machine needs to be torn down. That’s fine. We all know that opinions are like a certain anatomical orifice.

I expect and encourage others to have their own opinions, but know now that despite any thoughts to the contrary I will continue to make mine heard through every avenue available to me. To borrow a quote from one of my favorites, I strive to “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

Sometimes I’m going to fall well short of that goal, but I’ll be here as long as I can hold out, raising hell and telling truth, as I see it, to power.

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