"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

Why Should I Have To Worry About It?

I haven't been writing much lately.  When tax season ends, I'm not as busy, but I don't have any staff, either.  When you're in the tax business, people just assume that you have nothing to do for the next 8 months or so.  But there are always people who procrastinate.  Always people getting audited or facing IRS collections.  Financial plans to be compiled.

I frequently work 50-60 hour weeks off season.  Which isn't as bad as maybe 90 hours or more at the peak of tax season.  Not many business owners ever work a 40 hour week.

I mention this because of something someone said to me lately.  He didn't like some of the provisions of his state's school attendance law.  I agreed with him that the law was somewhat draconian.

Well, many of you know me, and know that I get a bit preachy when it comes to local politics.  I see opportunities to actually have some influence at these levels.  Which are the levels of government that affect your lives most frequently and directly anyway.

I suggested that he get to know his state senator and representative.  To at least know who they are.  It's unlikely that you'll become the constituent that they'll consult before every decision.  They may make every effort to ignore you.  You can reach out, but you can't make them engage or remember you.

But you do have some access.  And if you're not the only one concerned, if enough people bitch to their reps about the same things, maybe something will happen.  Maybe not.  In fact, nothing at all will happen, more often than not.  But you can always try, and you may be pleasantly surprised the one time in a hundred when something positive does happen.

Anyway, that's me.  That's how I go on about involvement in local governance.  I can't help myself. 

He cut me off in the middle of my sermon, though.  "Why should I have to worry about it?  I work a lot of hours.  I have a family and property to take care of.  I shouldn't have to worry about it.".  He went on to tell me that not everybody can be as involved as I am (although, truth to tell, it's really not that much), and that to me, it was a hobby, while to most people, it wasn't something that they had time for.

I suppose that I shouldn't have told him that politics was my hobby.  It's just part of my life.  It's part of everybody's life.  Some people are completely wrapped up in politics and governance.  Others pay as little attention as is humanly possible.  Most people are somewhere in between.   It's a matter of priorities.

So, why should you have to worry about it?  Well, you shouldn't worry about politics or government at all, as long as everything is to your liking. 

But there's something you don't like?  Well, see, you just started worrying about it right then and there.  Maybe you shouldn't have to worry.  But you're going to worry about it anyway.  So why not just spend a few minutes once a month or so and reach out to one of your representatives or local officials?  A phone call.  An e-mail (yes, some politicians do read and respond to constituent e-mails--it's how I came to be on a non-speaking basis with my city councilman).  A letter.  When I want someone to read my letter, I send it in a big envelope.  10" x 13".  I've found that I'm more likely to get a response that way.

Actually going down to their office is time-consuming, and probably best left to "hobbyists" like myself.  Not that I really have the time, either.  Damn politicians work during business hours.

So yes, you may have more on your plate than you can handle already.  Maybe you shouldn't have to worry about politics.  Maybe everything should already be right, and shouldn't need to be corrected.

But it's an imperfect world filled with imperfect people who make imperfect rules.  The folks that do worry about it may not always--or ever--get their way.  But at least they made their wishes known.

Because the rules are made by people who thought that they should bother.