HARMON: Acting in our behalf?

March 5, 2014 

These are scary times politically, and I’m not sure if many of our elected officials are up to the task for one simple reason. They don’t know us anymore. Many of them don’t live around “we the people,” preferring to live in places safer and away from us and seldom do we see them passing on the street. And, because it takes millions of dollars to be elected to office, we no longer have candidates we can relate to economically.

So we have this disconnect, particularly with those in Washington, D.C., and we’re becoming more frustrated as our thoughts and desires are not being represented by our representatives. Instead, once elected, they seem to feel they know more than we and are capable of and they begin making decisions for us instead of simply representing us.

I’ve never been polled. I get calls for money now and then, but no one asks my opinion on political issues before they ask for the money. The fact is, I have to trust my representative to do the right thing by me and my family. Well, that’s OK. I need representation for several reasons. First, I don’t “run in those circles,” and therefore I’m not privy to information needed to make intelligent decisions.

It’s always interesting when candidates become the elected officials and they suddenly realize there was information out there not available to him/her as the candidates -- information necessary for sound decision making.

Second, I wasn’t the student of politics I should have been and therefore have no historical background from which to garner intelligent opinion. Third, I mostly get my news from television, or the Internet, likely as not, you do also. As citizens/voters, we are at the mercy of elected officials we cannot relate to when it comes to actions taken and results achieved politically.

We vote for them, pay them and have to trust them. And even as I watch the ticker crossing the screen on CNN, FOX and MSNBC, I cannot be sure of what is true and what isn’t, because I must rely on reporters from three different political camps for information. We do have an advantage, however, over wealthy politicians who are not willing or able to talk to people like us about how our government should proceed.

As we go about our daily lives, speaking to each others, sharing thoughts and ideas, we can sense mood. It becomes the mood of the area in which we live and it results in majorities. Those majorities elect politicians.

The last few days, while watching all three networks and waiting on a grandson who refuses to be born until he is ready, my thoughts have been on the current situation in Ukraine. You have people over there who want to be more European and folks from Russia saying, “Nope, you have to stay like us and be Russians.” It seems to me that would be like me wanting to be a Floridian and somebody saying, “Nope, you’ve got to be like us, Georgians.”

Oh, I know it must be more complicated than that, otherwise why all the fuss? But that takes me back to those elected officials. I sure hope they know what they’re doing because remember that thing about mood? I have a gut feeling that if we get involved in another, what they call, “major conflict,” and I suppose any major conflict to a soldier would be where he/she is getting shot at, we just might need that old bad boy called conscription.

And if I read the mood of the country correctly, that ain’t going to go over so well with the current crop of young Americans. I don’t see them lining up at the recruiting office to volunteer for duty in The Ukraine, when many didn’t know it existed a week ago. Yes, it’s scary out there, with angry and depressed voters wondering “why” on many current decisions.

In fact, until you can give me a darn good reason for going anywhere and fighting in the next 20 years I’d have to say, “Not with my grandson you don’t.” But oops, I forgot a very important point. We don’t need elected officials voting on going to war anymore; our presidents can do it any time they like. That scares the heck out of me.

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at www.sharmon09.blogspot.com.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service