This election cycle seems to have caught many political pundits and members of the media by surprise. However, the real shock is that it took this long for members of either entity to realize what many of us that live beyond any self-imposed domes of ignorance have known for years.
Regardless of political affiliation or ideology, there has been a growing bubble of discontent for some time, and it now appears the American people are prepared to reclaim their government. Maybe.
The first thing that should be made perfectly clear is that all of us are to blame for the current state of displeasure and suspicion regarding our relationship with our government. “We the People” isn’t a recommendation; it is a definitive proclamation of who is in charge, and lo and behold, it’s us. The people we elect as our “representatives” are not our leaders; they are in fact our proxies, our employees. As our nation has matured, “We the People” have surrendered more and more control to our elected representatives, becoming willing participants in the demise of our constitutional authority. Worse still, our representatives have outsourced their responsibility to an ever growing bureaucrat class, further distancing ourselves from control over our government. Our indifference is just as responsible for our current state of frustration as anything else.
There has always been a class of citizens that have been a “thorn” in the side of our government. Often ostracized and maligned, this patriot class has changed over the years, and they have represented the left, right, and center of our nation’s political spectrum. No policy point has been without its critics, and although mocked by the very institutions they were attacking, these “agitators” were successful at reminding our government that someone was watching them. Whether it was the protester burning the American flag or “Tea Partier” holding the Gadsden flag, their actions made our elected officials sit up and take notice.
However, it takes more than pitchforks and large crowds to change the status quo.
There is nothing more frightening to our elected officials, their appointed bureaucrats and a compliant, unquestioning media than a well-informed electorate willing to stand up for what they believe in, while remaining constantly vigilant. Yet, what we seem to have now is nothing more than “ground hog” voters. They pop up every presidential election year, irritated about the “failure of government,” casting their ballots, and scurrying back down their hole. When they pop back up four years later, they are shocked nothing has changed. But nothing will change until we all realize our commitment to our government is more than just a part-time responsibility, but a daily endeavor. “We the People,” has to mean something to all of us, or it means nothing at all.
We have inherited a gift, both as a state and a nation. As Granite Staters, we have been tasked with an important role in the selection process for the next president of the United States. We cannot approach this role lightly, nor as some in the media have described, “angrily.” There is more at stake than just the integrity of the First-in-the-Nation primary. We in New Hampshire will determine whether we as a nation still believe in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and accept our solemn role as guardians of the virtue that is self-government. If you still believe this, then clear you heart and mind of any malice that would prevent you from casting a ballot that honors our sincere responsibility.
This topsy-turvy election cycle has exposed the “winter of our discontent.” Yet our answer cannot be that “one man” can make the difference. If that were true, our Constitution would begin with “I the Person,” and the rest of us could go home. Many of us have become too inflexible and have checked out of this grand experiment we call the United States of America. Governing is not for the faint of heart, but nor is it for just a handful of rabble-rousers. The distance between our success and our failure as a nation is the resolve that each of us holds in our hearts and minds. An election is not the end of our commitment to govern, it is merely the beginning.