by Ronald Sitton
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Life got me thinking today, reassessing if you will. I’m finding I’ve shifted over time. For one thing, I find I love reading banned books. Click on the button and find out more if you wish.
Another example – I grew up in a strict Missionary Baptist background. We didn’t take communion with outsiders and we didn’t dance. As I grew older, I didn’t understand why that mattered if the object is getting to heaven and believing in Jesus Christ. For a while, I considered myself to be a Baptist, but now I prefer to be known as a Christian. I try to do unto others as I would have done to me. I’m not perfect, so I try not to judge because I hope I can be forgiven for my imperfections.
In politics, I’ve traveled the gamut. In second grade, I helped elect Jimmy Carter behind the slogan “Ford is a bucket of bolts” in our mock election. After my mom remarried, I believed in the Great Communicator who helped bring back the hostages, the man who made it OK to believe in America again. It wasn’t until later that I found out about America’s true terror policy, i.e. people Reagan called “Freedom Fighters” were called terrorists by the inhabitants suffering under their reign. Even so, I voted for George H.W. Bush in my first presidential election because I believed he was the best man for the job.
I also grew up under Bill Clinton, who served as state attorney general, governor and president during my formative years understanding government. In Arkansas, Clinton put more money into education than into law enforcement. I appreciate the benefits more in hindsight than at the time. I voted for Clinton in both presidential elections, but maybe more because he came from Arkansas than because he was a Democrat. If the residents of Tennessee had voted for their home-grown candidate, the nation would never have witnessed Indecision 2000.
So be it. I planned to stand behind “W” after he was elected, until he started attacking values I hold dear. I’m of an independent mind. I vote for the individual based on the issues. It’s not easy finding information on the issues due to media insistence on primarily covering those with money. But if you look hard enough, there’s information out there.
I try to look for a golden mean in most areas, though I do hold absolutes, e.g. I believe in the First Amendment absolutely. Yet while I strongly support the Second Amendment, I don’t believe the Founding Fathers could envision automatic weapons that require no skill, just a spraying of an area. If you can drop a deer with a muzzle-loader, you’ve got my respect.
I believe in conservation in a true sense, i.e. conserving energy resources and the pristine beauty of our national lands. I want my descendents, directly and indirectly, to witness an America I’ve seen from coast to coast. I want them to meet the varied individuals residing in both accessible and nearly un-accessible areas, to understand that some people suck, but most people have a good heart.
Yet sometimes I wonder what future generations will think of the 20th century “Make Money at All Costs” mentality that’s turning America into one big strip mall, complete with Wal-Mart and corporate hamburger row lining the entrances. In the name of progress, humanity defecates on the planet that sustains it. I find that regressive.
The Internet revolutionized the way I think about politics.
Through the Internet I found a majority of Arkansas hunters and anglers say they are witnessing signs of global warming and want immediate action from their elected leaders to halt the trend. A majority of hunters and anglers polled say they have witnessed changes in climate, including hotter summers, unusual drought, and warmer and shorter winters. Most agree global warming is a threat to the state economy because it depends upon income from natural resources, such as the timber industry and hunting and fishing.
I found I can make a difference in fighting global warming even if some knuckleheads in Washington refuse to do so. Rather than be struck with a feeling of helplessness, the Web provides power to those wanting to make a difference, e.g. bloggers unhappy with the president affected Google’s search list for the phrases “failure” and “miserable failure.” Google explained the results as google-bombing, in essence telling the world if you’re unhappy enough, you can make people aware of your pain.
I can feed the hungry, fight illiteracy, breast-cancer and the deforestation of rain forest, all at the click of a link. I get e-mail alerts from groups interested in preserving rivers, national parks, wildlife, wilderness and the environment, fighting global warming and politicians bent on destroying the land I love so dear, stopping corporate control of media, protecting voter registration and stopping other threats to democracy. I can sign petitions to my heart’s desire, and Congress even gets my vote on the issues of the day.
My political representatives can attest to hearing from me more because of the Internet. I don’t believe they actually read all of the responses, because I often receive form letters in the mail. That’s OK. I’m sending them tons of form-letters in e-mail letting them know what I think about issues of the day. At least Vic Snyder figured out it’s easier to reply with an e-mail instead of dropping another tree for paper. As far as the rest (including letters from the White House), I recycle their letters for grocery lists, scrap paper and printing things off the Web. Occasionally my students receive papers with a letter from one of my representatives on the back. They tend to like the paper with old recipes on the back better.
I guess I just wanted you to know that you can be as active as you want to be. Doing something, anything is better than waiting for the sky to fall.