I'm back, ladies and gentlemen. So much has happened since the last time I posted here. The Commonwealth of Virginia elected Bob McDonnell its 71st Governor, Bill Bolling to a second term as Lieutenant Governor, and Ken Cuccinelli as Attorney General (congratulations to all three). Both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate have passed their own versions of health care and insurance reform bills, which now await reconciliation before a final vote on passage. The United States has seen an increase in troop levels in Afghanistan and a decrease in Iraq. Both major parties are facing realignment, even as a new, unofficial political party (the Tea Party) continues to grow in popularity. And as the New Year begins, the country prepares to enter a new national election season. 2010 certainly has a long road to hoe.
I'll be there. Congress will soon return from its holiday recess; the president will give his State of the Union Address; the perennial issues of health care, the economy, and war in the Middle East will remain on the country's mind no matter what Washington does; and the partisan warfare will only increase the closer we draw to next November. At times like these, the men and women we send to Washington need to know what their constituents think; they're certainly going to know what I think.
In my first post, I said that "[i]t is the duty of every American not only to elect leaders to represent our interests in the capital, but also to constantly watch over them and ensure that they do what we elected them to do." Interestingly, since that post, it seems like the whole country has taken that duty to heart. Congressmen and Senators are facing greater scrutiny from their constituents than in past years. Presidential appointments are being investigated by more than just the media (and in some cases, in spite of media). Citizen journalism is practically the watchword of the country, now. I like it; and I like the idea of elected officials knowing that they'll be held to their campaign promises.
There certainly will be plenty of campaign promises made in the next ten months. Every seat in the House and a third of the seats in the Senate will be up for grabs, as well as a number of gubernatorial and other local races. Fortunately, Virginia will only have House races on its plate this year; but some of those will be competitive, and there's still the subject of our incoming Governor and his agenda for the Commonwealth. That's a lot to handle.
The reason most people, including myself, don't normally involve themselves with politics, legislating, or governance is because whether you hold office or merely offer commentary, it's a full-time occupation. Most people aren't marathon-runners; they're sprinters. Well, it's time to do some training, because this country and every state, city, town and person in it is counting on everyone else. Either become a candidate, find one to support, or take the more popular route and work the issues; but do something.
Remember, if you forget about your country, then your country will forget about you.
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