I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men – Plato." I thought it was a great quote so I came home to verify that Plato actually said that. I have on occasion found quotes that I thought were from famous people only to find that they came from someone else.
So, I went to ye olde computer and did the search thing and sure enough there it was with just a little variation. According to the sites I went to, the whole quote should read "The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Maybe that's a small deviation but then again, the entire quote speaks to the bigger picture of how we should be engaged in the events that impact all of us.
I know a lot of people that are definitely passionate about a lot of things in their lives but when it comes to politics and government they just really don't care. Think about that for a minute. There is nothing that impacts us more than what our government is doing for and to us.
I don't care whether it's the city council, school board, county commission, state legislature or our federal Congress – each of these bodies (in some way, shape or form) dictate how we live our lives. So, to say you don't care about politics and government affairs is to say that you don't care what rules someone makes up for you to live by. Does that help put things into perspective for you?
I know that I may be preaching to the choir because anyone reading this column is more than likely well informed about the impact government has on their lives. But, the bigger question is, "what are you doing about things you don't like?" Another quote that I like is, "the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." This has been attributed to Edmund Burke but it isn't clear if he actually said it or not.
No matter who said it, I think that all of us can agree that it's true. If we aren't willing to stand up and fight for what we believe in then basically we abdicate to someone else the right to make laws and decisions that will affect all of us.
Both of these quotes use the word evil in discussing our apathy. I don't want to imply that I think anyone who disagrees with my political thoughts is evil. Some of you may think that many political leaders in our country today are evil and I understand why you may think so. But, for me, I believe that, in this country, we have very fundamental differences in philosophy as to what government should do and shouldn't do.
Page 2 of 2 - And, just because someone doesn't agree with my thoughts doesn't make them evil any more than I should be considered evil in their minds because of my beliefs. Unfortunately, right now in our country, it doesn't seem like you can have a difference of opinion without being considered evil and mean-spirited by the other side of the argument.
I especially like many of the "enlightened elite" that cry out for diversity of thought right up until someone disagrees with their philosophy. Apparently they think that they are so correct that if anyone could even begin to disagree that they must be intolerant and rigid. Kinda seems hypocritical, don't you think?
The point I'm trying to make is that there are a multitude of decisions made each and every day by the governing bodies around this country that impact their constituents. If we aren't involved and aware of the decisions then they can pretty much do what they want with little thought of accountability. Or, if those with a different view than ours speak their minds and we don't then guess what happens – the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
I know that I have used this illustration before but it fits the column so you get to read it again. Right now in this country we are like the frog that gets put in the pot of water. Put him in boiling water and he will jump out and save himself. But, put him in lukewarm water and slowly turn up the heat and he will allow himself to be cooked.
That's what's happening in this nation. Too many of us are sitting idly by and letting events happen that we vehemently disagree with but just don't care enough to say something. And, just like the frog, we will keep tolerating the heat (changes) until eventually we are cooked. So, it's time to let your voices be heard and make sure that those making decisions know how you feel.
And, if you don't like the outcome, get involved in the political process and support people who you agree with. But, for goodness sake, let's be civil about it and let's work together to solve our problems. I will end with a quote from Benjamin Franklin who said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.