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Happy New Year, my friends and readers at Fab 40! Are you feeling or seeing anything new and different yet? After all, Congress went home for Christmas break having achieved passage of a health reform bill in both the House and Senate. A monumental feat, for sure! Only took three decades. Or was it? Seems the two bills are not at all similar, or even approaching the original framework we've heard rhetoricized for the past years. The Insurance Conglomerate rules. In actuality, we are no closer to really reforming a 'paralyzing-to-most' healthcare system than we were last year at this time. Even if somewhat of a replicate does manage to pass a full floor vote, another quarter million will perish before it's implemented. All is status quo in Washington. Nothing different there, I'm afraid. It takes thousands of pages and years to complete anything.

But you know me, the eternal optimist. *choke*. happy After all, every cloud does have a silver lining, and there's a rainbow on the tail of every storm. Then, on Christmas day over the skies of Detroit, a major storm was brewing. Black, anvil clouds formed and rumbled about in a tumultuous swirl. Most fortunately, the high-pressure cloud pulling the storm in was foiled by a couple of the passengers on the aircraft preparing to descend into Detroit Metro International Airport. Yes, I said passengers, not security officials, passengers. There definitely was a silver lining to that cloud! But what about the storm? Would there be a rainbow at the tail end of the storm?

What could it possibly be for an eternal optimist like me? Was I obsessed with my belief! Will we have our rainbow? In my naiveté, I truly thought so. I thought this near tragedy would serve to do one thing, again unite our government. I really believed that people elected to serve would finally put their politics aside and come together as Americans to solve, or at least avert, this global problem that again threatened the lives of Americans on a plane and folks in a major airport, and many other innocent people all over the world. It seems we may have to learn to live with this threat; it isn't going away and it's not being averted. But surely once the 'leaders' got used to working together for ALL the people on a crucial issue, it may broaden their perspectives on the benefits of cooperative debate. Why it may just become a habit! It may spread that lust for democracy we keep trying to force down the throat of the globe. That would be our rainbow. That would be another lesson learned from 9/11 and the perils of a rush to judgment. Wouldn't it?

As the dirt and slander from both sides proceded to fly, I guess not. What's even more infuriating . . .Oh-oh, you're saying, she's about to go off on a rant on the right . . . to me is that the elected leaders don't lead and solve problems, but we the people do! Why are we paying them billions of dollars when we are seemingly on our own? No, I'm not off on a rant about the right. I'm turning to you, the people. If our government can't come together, why can't we? We need to lessen focus on what Washington does for a while and all go local. Let them keep fumbling around. I pay a lot more taxes to my county and state than I do the feds! The government has already shown they are NOT going to work from the bottom up with the interests of the masses in mind. They are all in the 'trickle down' mode, the re-election mode. Keep the 'big boys' happy and rich and then it will start to trickle down to the populace. RIght? Problem with that theory is it never gets here! We the people need to abandon our political loyalties to political parties and stick together and rebuild the bottom. Not violently, just by doing something!

We want to know who the heroes are? Look around you at the survivors of the government's messes still pluggin’ along! Look to the local shelters and community centers that do the providing on donations from, you guessed it, we the people! Look at the families who've helped the families with heads of household overseas fighting our government's wars! Look at even the comedians that have garnered public support to get things done. Steven Colbert from the Comedy Channel rallied support to get our U.S. Olympic Speed Skating team access to the Canadian training facility! Liberal pundit, Keith Olberman, has garnered support and donations from the people to run healthcare clinics in major cities for those who have no insurance or have lost their jobs! Your local grocery stores have run food drives and toy drives for the local community over the holidays, while the Salvation Army bells jingled outside the door. Most of the ringers I spoke to said that people were generous even if they had to dig for a quarter in a worn change purse.
Volunteers have formed fire departments, security patrols and animal rescue operations in local communities. Formed reading groups at private facilities to fill the vacancies as libraries cut their hours. Disaster relief comes from the people! It's people who help people while the government fumbles through its ludicrous layers of bureaucracy and shipping ice from Atlanta to New Orleans via Oregon!

We hear a lot of references to the U. S. Constitution. Politicians toss its semantics this way and that; they twist it, spin it and quote snippets out of context that may serve their purpose. I'm a writer. I know the power achievable in rearranging words, altering and cutting here and subtly adding there. But our lives are NOT fiction novels, and not everyone is a wordsmith. Our Constitutional framework is not a draft or an outline. It's a proclamation for the foundation of a Republic. It guarantees certain inalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence, but the Constitution does not dismiss responsibility. No human being, in my opinion, has a 'right' to be irresponsible, apathetic, or cared for unless they are disabled in some way. We are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, but not happiness itself. Pursuit is an active, not passive, word. We are not guaranteed a job. We are guaranteed equal opportunity to obtain one. That doesn't release us from the requirements for that position. Most importantly, electing someone to an office to serve as our representative leader does not release us from accountability to follow through on making sure it's done. Delgation is only good if it is followed up and evaluated.

And, now I'm seeing the rainbow begin to form. I do believe we the people are beginning to see that if we want anything done, we are going to have to start taking an active role at the bottom. Many are already turning to this path. Parents are getting more involved in schools and after care. Professionals are starting to donate set hours of public service. Several veterinarians in my county are beginning to donate their time to spaying and neutering programs as local animal shelters have had serious funding cuts. Volunteers are organizing events to educate young people on responsible pet ownership in conjunction with adoptive programs.  

I see so many things being taken up by the people as funding cuts seem out of control. People are starting to ask, too, just where are all the tax increases going? People are beginning to demand transparency from the bottom up! More are writing to the Op-Ed columns in daily papers. Good discussion forums are starting on reputable and fair blogs. Oh yes, the clouds are beginning to lighten up.

This year in my column, I'm going to attempt to turn the focus to the positive energy. Energy in motion tends to stay in motion just like physical matter. Instead of choosing which abomination to rant about, or what thought seed to plant, I'd like to address an issue and then focus on what positive things I see 'we the people' attempting to do about it. I'd like input from everyone here. I'd like this column to become a real interactive blog visible to all members. Individual groups focusing on certain issues will still have their place, however. Yana Berlin, in a couple of years has illustrated and proven the potential 'voice' a group of women and gentlemen, too, from all over the country can build in a cyber community. Working with positive attitudes and friendship sans the rush to judgment and backbiting is contagious. I've seen no major bickering, slamming of another's ideas or ideals, or using others for personal gain. Even disagreements are expressed with respect and discussion. We are all given opportunities to share about our businesses, our dreams and our craft. Yet, there is no slanderous competition, more support. Several here have purchased my books just from reading my ramblings in a political column. Not because I hawk it!

I'm inviting everyone to take a role in addressing and solving problems, or at the least, discussing them with civility and sharing ideas and projects they see in their communities. Maybe it's time to teach the top the power potential brewing down here in the bottom tier who pays their salary! Let's show them how to encourage rainbows! We'll make our calls to judgment at the polls in the off year elections. We DO hold the power of which heads will roll. I propose the implementation of the reverse power of fear mongering. Instead of hiring political strategists and fund-raisers, they'll only have to do their job . . . or lose it just like us! We need a powerful new party, the party not FOR the people, but OF the people. Anyone ready to go in the business of building rainbows with me?

Susan Haley, Author/Editor/Columnist

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linni wrote Jan 8, 2010
    • i love this! most of your feelings are mine..
      i will post more later, but wanted you to know
      i enjoyed reading this!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jan 8, 2010
    • Susan great post as usual! I am feeling a lot of the same frustrations as you. So (sadly I admit)once it warms up a bit I will be offering my assistance to habitat for humanity and also to United Way.

      As for Detroit..... we are hard working people and just do what needs to be done to get the job done....not heroes just hard working!

            Report  Reply

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Feb 4, 2010
    • I am getting caught up on some reading of blogs this evening. I really enjoyed this! Every now and then I hear about top executives of corporations, and other people with big bucks, spreading the word about giving and how it causes success. I Love it!

      Great article!

            Report  Reply

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