My dad used to talk about the Silent Majority back in the '60s. Millions of people in the U.S. belonged to this group. They were the people who didn't join the demonstrations against Vietnam; they didn't join the counterculture. They just didn't participate in politics and debate preferring to keep their opinions to themselves.
I remember thinking these people were just too busy. They were spending their time working their jobs, cleaning their homes, paying their bills and saving for retirement. They didn't have time to spend the day at a demonstration or even getting to the polls to vote.
I've been a member of this group for year-- because I'm just too busy. Even with the Internet at my fingertips, I have a hard time keeping up on current events. Even when I feel strongly about an issue, I have a nagging suspicion that I don't know all the facts. Even though I think we're insane to involve ourselves in Syria, I can't really say that publicly, because I missed all the details. I just don't want us to be asking ourselves in three years "When are we getting out of Syria?"
Still, with just a little over half of U.S. citizens actually voting, who is running the country? I'd guess its special interest groups and students, retired folks and those not working. Why? Well, they have the time to show up
Well, I'm an adult now. I need to face my responsibilities. And, maybe I can start with the things that few disagree with and build from there. If the silent majority could start with supporting the basics, maybe we'd get somewhere.
1. Vote for who and what you want. When people ask me what party I belong to, I say I'm a moderate. I say that because right now, I don't agree with either party. But, that doesn't release me from responsibility. I'm going to vote for whom I like, and vote for what I want passed -- regardless of party. But maybe that's the way it should be.
2. Support the military. Honor those people who give their lives to supporting and defending our nation. I'm surprised at how many people think the military has it made because they get their medical paid and their housing provided. Someone tells them what to do 24 hours a day and people can shoot at them. I would never do it -- and I'm eternally grateful they do.
3. Balance the budget. Do I really need to explain this one? Not everyone can have everything, whether it's your checkbook or the nation's. I went and read the President's budget and honestly, everything sounded really great. But, that's the problem. Even good things can't be paid for by a government that has to borrow the money to do it. Reducing gun violence, tax cuts for working families, preventing hunger... all really wonderful things. But we can't afford them, because we have overspent and we're in debt. Something (even something good) has to give.
4. Protect citizenship. My grandparents came through Ellis Island. My parents were born in New York tenements. Those people worked very hard for the privileges I enjoy today. Illegal immigrants are not bad people -- of course not. However, I believe we need to build a path for these people so they can become citizens, pay taxes and build for their families. We shouldn't close our eyes.
5. We need to vote! And, by voting, I mean doing the prep work, researching things you don't understand and spending a few hours a year going to the polls. Things happen every day that we don't get a vote on. Decisions are made by our elected officials so we have to make sure we put the right people in office.
I admit it, something strange has happened to me. I've become surprisingly patriotic. I love this nation. And, I do believe that it's the best place on earth. And, I believe if folks like me -- the silent majority, find the time to step up and be heard -- we may find a way to change the face of the nation.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. Are you part of the Silent Majority? And, please visit me at www.FirstClassWoman.com and let me know. We all are responsible for this nation.