Who ... Me? Claiming Responsibility for Government

Questioning our responsibility for the conduct of our state and nation.

In an obliquely related blog, a discussion of political engagement and responsibility prompted a post by one replier that included a potent thought. The sense of it I got was, "what if people actually felt responsible for what their governments did?" It came as we discussed a sort of laziness in the American public which manifests by our shallow grasp of policy, the brief buzz themes candidates put forth as goals, and the general lack of research many of us are willing to do in order to get through the political spin and hype. 

I responded that, not only did I think this was a critical question, but that I thought it needed follow up. Further, I believe that WE ARE responsible for what our government does to a great extent, particularly as, in this country, we (still) are allowed to speak up without much threat of repression. 

In the exact same manner, the policies of Iran's despotic government are pinned to that country at large — with no distinction made in the news or in general conversation between the unfortunate citizens of the country and their medieval adminstration, people all over the world see America as a block.

The image they have of America, is that of Empire, not significantly different from other empires, the British, the Third Reich, the Japanese effort at empire, the Romans, etc. We are larger and capable of far greater destruction ... physically and economically. That's about it. It isn't that we do no good along the way, as did at least some of these empires ... (the Romans made a lot of roads) but our methods are similar, our ambition is limitless and our reach, global.

Now if you don't feel comfortable with that ... and I am sickened by it myself... you haven't read up much on world opinion. Moreover, if you don't like being thought of as a usurper, part of a huge greedy scheme, an "enforcer" of western brand democracy (meaning we hold a lot of the strings), you should try to do something about it. Object to it for instance. If we all stay silent then, effectively, we are approving of government as usual and we are turning over the reins to interests that both have very huge plans and which are not likely to be thinking of your personal welfare. 

This is my opinion, and bloggians — blogs ARE opinion ... they don't have to be neutral. I want to say to this idea the respondent had ... "Yes ... you and I are responsible for this country (for the state). We co-produce it. We pay taxes that are used to make it happen. We must pay close attention to the trends. We need to think ... to think hard ... and to think for ourselves. 

So what do you think? Responsible ... ? And how do we best act in responsible fashion if so? 

I will add that I think the bar is raising for respectful conversation and I greatly appreciate it. 

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Greg May 18, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Herb Kohl has been there forever and has done less than nothing. Give Johnson a chance, he will be good for Wisconsin.
Greg May 18, 2012 at 01:56 AM
It was censored due to the Patriot Act.
Brian Carlson May 18, 2012 at 02:12 AM
This thread kind of lost the point of the opening questions.... are we responsible for what our government does or not? I would appreciate it if people endeavored to stay on topic and not veer off to comments about candidates and what not..unless that is germaine to the post.
Greg May 18, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I am civic minded and I take responsibility for me and mine. I also try to make my government be responsible, but I really do not take responsibility. The more the government control is local, the more I can make them be responsible. I think that the government's position of controlling us, rather than serving us, has reached it's limits. Taking more of our money and giving it to others is a good example, that's my job. I don't know that I want to take responsibility for a government that would rather apologize than do the right thing.
Brian Carlson May 18, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Greg, yeah I kind of go both ways on this question. On the one hand, I am a believer that if people don't speak up when they see things going on they disagree with...then they give it tacit support by doing nothing. On the other hand, its clear as well that government goes ahead with its own agendas...many of them unclear to normal folks...we just dont know what is going on until it has happened....sometimes years later. But in a "free society," given the fact that our leaders aren't dictators and we arent threatened with imprisonment or death (by and large) for criticizing them.... it does seem that the onus is On us... regarding making our opinions known to these folks.


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