Why Don’t People Act?

Why don’t more people take action? Or, why don’t people who grow up in the U. S., in a democracy, where the stability and continuance of the government ultimately rests in the hands of the people, act? Even more, why don’t people who are informed of what’s going on, who read reliable news sources and have a conscience, act? People might not act because they are so frightened by the news they turn it off—or the news they do read or listen to is the propaganda arm of some group more interested in manipulation and control than education. Or what they’ve heard has been carefully crafted to increase their anger and distrust so they can’t discern who their allies are?


Why don’t more Americans vote? About 60% of eligible voters supposedly voted in the last election. And an even smaller percentage of those who vote actively participate between elections. Why don’t more people call, write, or demonstrate by the offices of their Congresspeople? Is it that they haven’t practiced being democratic at home or in their schools or workplace so it doesn’t feel natural to do so?


I hear people say, “Wait until 2018 or 2020 and we can vote them out of office.” But I don’t think and certainly don’t feel we can wait that long. What about today, for example, when House Republicans are trying to vote on a tax measure that would give corporations a huge tax break, give the rich an individual tax break, while many in the middle class would see their taxes increase, if not now then in 2026, and their economic security decrease due to increased costs for health care, and decreases in Medicare and Social Security. And those who rely on Medicaid, like the poor, children (48% of those on Medicaid are children), parents, the disabled, Seniors—that, too, will be cut. The Senate version will result in at least 13 million people losing their health care. And this is all being done right in our faces. They lie about it, as if we can’t hear the lie. They flaunt their disdain of the democratic process, excluding democrats from the discussion. So why isn’t everyone calling Congress? Demonstrating?


I’m sure there are many reasons. A phone call to a Congressperson takes about a minute. All you have to say is “Please tell the Senator to oppose this tax cut.” Give two or three reasons, and say “Have a nice day.” Some people say they are too busy. But how much busier would they be if this bill passes and their disposable income was reduced and they needed to work even more hours to pay their bills? Some feel their voice will not make a difference. If you do nothing, you certainly can’t make a difference.


I know I could make phone calls to register voters or get people to vote and I haven’t done so. I just write blogs and emails, make calls, hit the streets when I can. I think many of us are too shocked. We can’t believe this is happening. Too much is happening too quickly. But a big majority of Americans oppose this administration now. A big majority opposes this tax cut-denial of health care bill. The more each of us does, the more we will understand what can be done. The more powerful we will feel, and the more influence we will wield. The threat we face is a real one. Please make a few calls.


Suggestions of People to Call:


Charlie Dent

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Darrell Issa –opposes the elimination of the State and Local tax deduction

Barbara Comstock- opposes the elimination of the State and Local tax deduction

Claudia Tenney-(NY) 202 225-3665

Any of the New York, New Jersey, California representatives might oppose the tax plan (except for Reed and Katko, I think, although I’ve called both)



Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523 – opposes the elimination of the deduction for teachers who spend $250+ on school supplies, etc.

John McCain – (202) 224-2235- who called for a fair and inclusive process, which hasn’t happened

Ron Johnson – (202) 224-5323

Capito – (202) 224-6472
Flake – (202) 224-4521
Gardner – (202) 224-5941
Portman – (202) 224-3353

Bob Corker – (202) 224-3344

Is Congress Doing Its Job?

The National Education Association (NEA) online newsletter, Education Votes, includes a letter from history, civics, and social studies teachers telling the Senate to do its job and act on the President’s appointment to the Supreme Court. They make the point that if the Republican Senators who refuse to let a vote happen were in a class on civics, and said on a test that the Constitution says the President loses the power to appoint Supreme Court judges in their last year in office, they would fail the test. You might enjoy reading the article.


How many politicians would fail their science classes, due to their statements on global warming, or fail their sex education classes, due to statements on birth control? Or if there were ethics classes, their statements that were, well, lies?


How well is Congress doing its job? Here’s one example. You would think politicians, whose job it is to protect the health, education, and welfare of Americans would be in favor of assuring that children were guaranteed enough food to eat when attending (or not attending) school. But, the US House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee is proposing cutting funding that feeds poor children through the Hunger-Free Kids Act. If you’d like to take action to stop the Republican attack on student lunches, go to the Campaign for America’s Future site.


We have in our country a wide diversity in education funding, and I don’t mean diversity in a good or probably even legal way. In many parts of the country, poorer school districts with a mostly non-white population get less funding then areas with more affluent and white voters. The children who need it most are often the last to get it. To make the situation worse, school voucher programs are enabling public education money to be funneled to private schools that directly teach a curriculum advocating one specific formal religious viewpoint.


Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope everyone appreciated their teachers, and voted for an increase in teacher pay.


And some possibly good news: Fair Test, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, reports that “a national poll concludes that a majority of parents are critical of standardized exam overkill.” “[M]ore state and local education leaders are beginning to heed the message: ‘Enough is enough!’”