Word Worth®
                      World Magazine of Ideas and the Arts™ — ©Winter 2018 Volume XVIII,  Issue 1

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“People get the government they deserve”

Joseph de Maistre’s quote is one that is arrogantly thrown about when someone wants to disparage circumstances even in their own country. While de Maistre had specific reasons for the statement, those who repeat it tend to do so looking down their nose as though they have nothing to do with their government or justify lack of sympathy for those in hopeless situations. Do the Middle East refugees in January of 2018 freezing to death on a mountain top deserve to be where they are because their government is tyrannical?

Some make the statement as meaning that people in a democracy deserve the government they have. The problem with that is there are all kinds of people in the democracy. I know someone who rails against “welfare queens.” She sends out e-mails attacking any politician who is even slightly supportive of funding health care.

She has been on the public dole her entire adult life: receiving funding for women and children, and then social security disability. She lost jobs many people would kill for by not showing up while not calling in. She’s been fired for insubordination. Her disability is an unwillingness to work. All the while she attacks any politician who suggests that the government should help out the afflicted. She and her mother work for Republican candidates, and her mother instructs her other children to not tell anyone that their sister is on welfare or disability.

People like her help determine the government we get.

It’s true that in a democracy we all have certain responsibilities. One is to research the issues, to find and support reliable sources. Then, based on that research, there is an obligation to vote. The public duty can’t stop there, however. A democracy must have participants.

In the current zeitgeist, however, participation becomes murky. It does not include activism in the way Timothy McVeigh was an activist. There are too many "activists" who think they have the right answer and are the only ones with the right answer. A democracy requires participants, not bullies. I would refer to myself nor to any reasonable person as an activist.

The Parklands students, mere children, are a shining example of what participating in a democracy should look like. The problem is that the swamp monsters among our elected officials plan to make it as difficult for them as possible, talking down to them, being patronizing and dismissive. If the students don’t succeed, if we don’t ensure that they succeed, our country will roll down the road of those which have murdered millions of their own people.

How accountable can the refugees be held for a government so catastrophic that mass murder is a given? How accountable can their forebears be held for not long ago stopping the sinking of their governments into the swamp gas? How accountable will we be for not stopping Trump before he destroys every noble quality for which our country has ever been known?

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