Cyprus is an example of what can happen if citizens aren’t active

The events unfolding in Cyprus right now are an example of what can happen if the citizens of a country become too complacent with their government.

The people of Cyprus are no different than anyone else living in a country with democratically elected officials.  They try to live their lives just like everyone else.  They run businesses, work, raise families and send their kids to school.

The one thing they don’t do very well is the same thing than we don’t do very well here in the United States.  They are generally complacent when it comes to their government.  Very few people are involved in or even care about politics.  They just want to live their life.

Well that all changed when the government decided to shut down the banks in the country as part of a bailout deal.   The government then decided that the private property of its citizens was something they could just take whenever it wanted to.  The government of Cyprus decided to take 10 percent of all savings in all bank accounts in Cyprus.  You heard that right.  The freely elected government of Cyprus thought it was a good idea to take 10 percent of everyone’s money directly from their savings accounts.

If that sounds insane, it’s because it is.  A government in a democracy is supposed to serve its citizens, not the other way around.  When a government can do whatever it wants to with its citizens, it is no longer called a democracy.  It’s called tyranny.  Go take a look at the eighteenth century if you want to see how well that worked out.

It’s amazing that a country in Europe is having to fight against a tyrannical government in the modern day.  Revolutions against monarchies and dictatorships happened way back when.  Why are we facing similar issues today?  Is history repeating itself?

The answer is a complacent citizenry.  The ultimate check and balance against a tyrannical government is citizens that are actively involved in their government.  Democracies that don’t have active citizens will slowly move to a more and more powerful government.  Little by little people will sacrifice their freedoms in the name of safety.  Until one day they wake up and find out their government thinks that 10 percent of all bank deposits should become the property of the government.

Rand Paul filibuster shows what active citizenship can achieve

Rand Paul did something truly amazing on March 6, 2013.  He captured the attention of the entire country with his modern day version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

His filibuster represented the will of the vast majority of Americans.  It was one person standing up to the most powerful person in the world in a non-violent way to keep the government from doing something against the will of the people.

Citizens from across the political spectrum voiced their support for Rand Paul.  Reddit (which is mostly liberal in its views) showed massive support and enthusiasm for Senator Paul.  Students at colleges and universities took to Twitter and Facebook to voice their support of the filibuster.  A Gallup poll later revealed that 79% of people polled agreed that the government should not be allowed to use drone strikes on Americans in the United States.

So why is this such an important achievement?  Rand Paul’s filibuster represents the pinnacle of what active citizenship can achieve.  Ordinary citizens that have become disgusted with their government and its direction were able to vote a senator into office that they can depend on to represent them on issues that are important to them.

The President of the United States wanted to appoint someone that was fine with using drone strikes on American citizens.  Rand Paul knew that this was completely unacceptable to the vast majority of the country.  He took an incredible risk and was able to get the President to change course.

This is what a representative democracy is all about.  Not all of us can be Rand Paul, but we can all try to elect more leaders like him.

Study shows college women don’t want to run for political office

The good news is the Senate has more women in it than ever before.  The bad news is that number is pretty likely to go down in the future.

A new study shows that female college students are far less interested in pursuing a career in politics than college men are.  The study surveyed over 2000 college age students and found that double the number of men had considered running for political office than the number of women.  Two-thirds of women never considered a career in politics versus just under half for men. [Read more...]

States with the most and least politically active citizens

Ever wonder how politically active your fellow citizens are?  Well the answer is not as much as they should be!  All joking aside, here are the sobering numbers from the 2012 election.

Roughly 57.5 percent of people that are eligible to vote chose to cast a ballot.  This is down from the 62.3 percent that turned out to vote in 2008. [Read more...]