When I was a kid, my grandmother took the opportunity on occasions like Martin Luther King Jr Day, to remind us of the struggles and achievements associated with America’s civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr is one of our most notable civil rights leaders, and that was the reason we had a holiday in January. When I went to college, and up until this year, the culture around me has treated MLK Day as nothing more than a convenience; a long weekend to make January more bearable during our Christmas hangovers.
This year, I decided to participate in lobbying at our state capitol, in support of WolfPAC’s goal of free and fair elections. While most industries employ professional lobbyists who get paid to find and talk to legislators, we common folk have to use our day off. So we made our way to the state capitol, and visited our local elected officials.
We met one of our state house reps, and chatted for advice about pursuing our elections resolution. We also met with a legislative assistant, Jared, who gave us insight into how change is really accomplished at the capitol. The rules of governing are so complex, that very important decisions tend to be made purely based on which political party is in charge. Regular people have no idea how any of this stuff works. We rely on the politicians and their staff to know what they are doing.
So why don’t we elect people we can trust at the national level? We just take whoever the major parties shove in the ring, simply because they have the money to do it. This is a problem in both of the major parties,and pretty much explains why congress has huge reelection rates despite horrible satisfaction ratings. The obvious answer is to give people more or better options, but we don’t. We should replace the currently bought politicians with better ones, but we can’t. Voter participation is generally terrible throughout the country, because so many potential voters have abandoned hope for an actual “good” option on the ballot.
So in the spirit of doing something, we did. MLK did not think we were finished with his work by the time he was assassinated. He wouldn’t want us to do nothing in his honor. MLK was a real socialist; the kind who believe in improving lives through change. And he knew that change requires action.