Recent news paints a picture of some troubled times facing us locally and nationally.
We hear about local budget shortfalls. At the federal level, that word is replaced with words like deficits and debts running into the trillions of dollars.
We hear about "anarchists" vandalizing our downtown. There's a growing oil spill out in the Gulf of Mexico. And everyday we read about the growing wars in and near the other Gulf in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Many of us feel like throwing our hands up and saying it is all just too big to fight. But remember, at all levels, we are a government of, by and for the people. We are more than the governed, we form the government.
BP oil spill: We can go after corporations that disregard our laws. Don't buy their oil! Fight for stronger regulations and alternative renewable energy that safeguard our environment!
Budget shortfalls locally and statewide: Tell elected officials representing us at the federal level to vote to end our involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan. My hat's off to Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), who is co-sponsoring with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) a bill that would require President Obama to present a timetable by January 2011 on how we are withdrawing from Afghanistan and give updates on that plan every 30 days (S.B. 3197 and H.B. 5015). Work with local groups here in Asheville to pass a resolution that states money should be spent in constructive ways here, not destructive ways there.
Vandalism downtown: While I abhor such antics anywhere and certainly can't defend the actions taken on May Day here in Asheville, I do want to remind folks that the violence of elders does beget violence among our youth. If our young people see nothing but bombs, torturing, corporate greed, environmental degradation, should it surprise us that this happens on our streets? I suggest that we watch the movie Bowling for Columbine, which examines possible reasons youths become desensitized to violence in our society.
So let's start fulfilling our roles as model citizens today!
— Rachael Bliss