Courthouse, Photo Courtesy

I originally put this on Facebook, but it belongs here. Especially since I’m adding a new link:

As a citizen, I think one of our most important jobs is to very simply question our government. This is not a partisan thing; question at every level, question whomever is in office, and question whether they share your party affiliation or not. Question the reasons for their decisions, the morality of their policies, the pragmatics of their solutions.

And in questioning, understand that the next job of the citizen is to push back where it is right. Not to the extent that you step on the guy next to you, not to the extent that you harm others, but by every legal method available, with determination and will, to correct imbalances. All of that in the context of remembering that no citizen is always right, no citizen has the right to always get his way, and no citizen should forget to do his best to treat his fellows with respect and kindness.

Occasionally, I lose sight of my own rules; then I see a story like those linked below and I suddenly remember. Job number one is to question.

Story 1: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

The government also argued that it could keep Megaupload in legal limbo indefinitely. ‘None of the cases impose a time limit on service,’ the government’s attorney told the judge. Therefore, the government believes it can leave the indictment hanging over the company’s head, and keep its assets frozen, indefinitely. Not only that, but the government believes it can continue to freeze Megaupload’s assets and paralyze its operations even if the judge grants the motion to dismiss. 

Story 2: Why, No, We Don’t Feel Responsibility for What We’ve Done

“Your driver was shot in your truck,” said the caller, a business colleague. “Your truck was loaded with marijuana. He was shot eight times while sitting in the cab. Do you know anything about your driver hauling marijuana?”

“What did you say?” Patty recalled asking. “Could you please repeat that?”

The truck, it turned out, had been everywhere but in the repair shop.

Commandeered by one of his drivers, who was secretly working with federal agents, the truck had been hauling marijuana from the border as part of an undercover operation. And without Patty’s knowledge, the Drug Enforcement Administration was paying his driver, Lawrence Chapa, to use the truck to bust traffickers.

These stories speak of an arrogant, irresponsible government with no sense of accountability to the folks that they should be serving. These folks should feel shame for their part in twisting laws and ruining lives, but, of course, what they actually feel is self-righteous indignation at the thought that someone like me might question their actions. Don’t I know that they are just acting in my best interests?

Now, for pushing back…