An Open Letter to the Citizens (And that means Me, too) of the United States of America


Those Who Forget the Past are Condemned to Repeat It…

People who do things over and over and expect different results are insane.


In a previous post, these two familiar quotes were directed to our esteemed government officials.  What say you that we apply these to those of us who are ordinary schmucks, good citizens of these here United States of America?  A few suggestions follow here as to what we should quit doing if we want to see things change… and even a few suggestions of what to do instead….


No more crabbing about our elected officials.  We put them there…. And returned a stunning portion of them back into office.  If you’re unhappy about it, write to them, call them, email them…. Your blathering about them to your spouse, at work, or down at the local watering hole bears little fruit.  And hey, if you LIKE what they’re doing, the same thing goes.  Let them know how you feel, no matter HOW you feel.  Discuss all you want and what you want, with your goal being to vent (a little), to share your feelings and to learn about the feelings of others.


No more idol-worship – or idol-bashing for that matter..  I don’t care if you adore the latest tea party voice or the latest feminist liberal gay person; they are still fallible humans, just like you and me.  And you know what else?  It’s perfectly okay to disagree with these same folks, but please, they are not necessarily idiots or aliens or sex-starved geeks or money-grubbing ethnicity-of-your-choice apes.   Unless you have the combined comedic skills of Will Rogers, Mark Twain and the entire writing staff from Saturday Night Live, chances are your self-designed ‘clever sayings’ and digs aren’t all that clever.  (Note to self: this is one of my shortcomings – so hey self, pay attention….)


No more copying something online that makes the point you want to make.  UNLESS – you include a comment about what exactly it is that motivates you to do so.  There’s a sub theorem here, too – check out WHERE you get something from – it may not be what you think it is.  Too many have fallen to a story out of a site that boldly announces that it is a satirical site, a ‘false news’ site.  We don’t need any more pictures of this or that political being photoshopped into some awkward shot – we don’t need any more falsely cited quotes from a famous politician who said thus and so  Example: how JimmyCarter said something about caring about the poor and Jesus and all that.  (Another note to self: I overdo my little sermon on making sure people know that Snopes has declared stuff true or false…. Hey self, temper it a little, wouldja?)  and speaking of which….


NO more echoing yourself over and over and over and over and over and over… This goes especially when responding to a question.  If you find yourself connecting every single post you read with one certain subject, then maybe you’re a bit out of focus on the rest of the world.  (Not everything connects with Obamacare, gay rights, being green, or even the superiority of Chevy over Ford….) I call this process ‘over preaching;.  Make your  point and shut up.


NO more getting all your information from one angle.  Dare yourself to check out some ‘other’ source that may be different – FOX, HUFFINGTON POST, MSNBC, wherever.  You may find yourself even more convicted of your opinions, or you may find yourself (if you go into it with an open mind) that maybe, just maybe, you’re not as right as you think you are…. Or at least maybe those ‘others’ aren’t as wrong as you think they are… which brings up….


No more being so dang sure that you’re so very right all of the time.  If you castigate another for being so very wrong, and you are no more or less human than they are, then you need to allow that you, too, maybe be capable of errors and boo-boos.  It is such arrogance as this that has infected our politicians, but maybe they got that very disease from us.


No more being a one-issue thinker.  Not everything is the cause of or is repaired by your priority matter.  Guns, abortion, education, global warming, immigration, drugs – they are all crucial but no one thing matters more than the other – and there are as many ways of looking at all of these issues as there are people in every community.  Life offers us a wide-angle lens for the big picture and a microscope for the details.  Use them both prudently. (Another note to self:  that’s me with the wide-angle, maybe too often….)


Oh yes, and Finland has better this and that than us, and the Germans did this better than us, and those Asians sure know how to handle stuff more efficiently than us…. All true in some ways, but what if instead of wishing we were ‘like them’ and slam our country as being so ding-dong goofy and ill-handled, let us choose to emulate what works and cast away that which isn’t.


If we want to see our country flub its merry way down the path of recent history, then by all means continue what we’ve been doing…. to our leaders and to our neighbors.  If we want positive change – and I think most of us do…. We need to implement some changes.  We reap what we sow, they say.


Dare to make a change so the results are different.