Shame On You Miami

I don’t live in Miami, but I grew up in that city, and something very interesting happened there yesterday. Did you hear about it? Miami Dade County elected a new Mayor. Carlos Gimenez won the run-off election with 51% of the vote over Julio Robaina. This was after the voters ousted Carlos Alvarez in the largest recall of a local politician in US history. This would be pretty exciting times for Miami – except for one thing.

Only 16% of the county residents showed up to the polls.

Yup, 16%. That is how many people made the decision for the entire county as to who will lead it in the future. Pretty sad, don’t you think? Miami has been racked with corruption and fiscal nightmares over the last few years. We heard so many complaints about the previous Mayor, from raising property taxes. to giving out raises to his friends in the city while cutting back salaries for the rest of the employees. Carlos Alvarez was seen as the evil one, the one to blame for all of the ills of Dade County.

I beg to differ. The ones to blame for the ills of Miami are its residents, because of their complacency and resistance to taking action. The polls confirm it for me. We are seeing this not just in Miami. but across the US. Our economy is slumping. Unemployment is skyrocketing. Our families are being destroyed by serious moral and social issues. Yet when it comes time to change, when it comes time to get up off our feet and do something about it – we are silent. We would rather someone else do it, while we go about our routines. We are too busy to worry ourselves about our city, our families, the poor.

Why am I being so harsh?

Because I truly believe that the cause of many of our problems in America today is complacency. We all eat three meals. 91% of us have jobs. Even if we don’t have jobs, we have government assistance. No one in this country is denied life saving health care. The majority of us live a lifestyle that people in other countries cry out to obtain. We are among a small group of countries in the world that has a serious problem of too many people wanting to come in, rather than people wanting to leave. Yet, we are slowly starting to see that change, and when given opportunities to change our community and make it better, only 16% of us even show up.

I heard one time – and I am paraphrasing – that hungry bellies make horrible revolutionaries. I believe that is true. Mind you, I am not advocating a violent overthrow of our government. Far from it. But, please, America, wake up! Our way of life is not a given. There is no law that guarantees prosperity. By prosperity I am not just talking about money. We have some serious issues in this country. How can we solve the difficult issues we face, if we can’t even get up off our chairs to punch a ballot? I mean really, with early voting, you don’t even have to go anywhere. How easy can they make it for us?

We expect a great deal from our leaders. We put them on pedestals they have no right to be on, yet we criticize them at every wrong turn and every mistake. What right do we have to do that when it is our indifference and complacency that is putting them in those positions? Where are our future leaders going to come from anyway? They are going to come from those same complacent, indifferent children we are raising, that are learning from our example. What are we going to teach them? That a 16% turn out for a local election is acceptable?

Mark my words America. One day, our children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren are going to be required to do much more to save their country than what we are being asked to do right now. They may be asked to go to war. I dare say that if things don’t change, they may one day be forced to defend this country in ways we only see on the news in third world countries, as revolutionaries or freedom fighters. I certainly hope not. But regardless of what they will be called to do to help our country, it is your actions today that will shape our future leaders tomorrow.  Be an example to them by showing them how important the right to vote really is.

Get up off your chair, or one day, you may wake from your slumber to find the rights you have taken for granted no longer exist.