Lori Falce: Pay attention to government
On Wednesday morning, it seemed like every television camera in the world was pointed at the House of Representatives for the first Trump impeachment hearings.
As almost anyone could have predicted, the Democrats advanced questions in one direction while the Republicans pulled the other way.
I watched the testimony with one overwhelming thought about who was at fault.
It is us.
Regardless of party or political inclination, despite any natural distrust of one person or group of power brokers, there is one thing that has brought us to this point for just the fourth time in 230 years.
It’s that we don’t pay attention.
Government isn’t far away. It’s the police officer who patrols your streets and the firefighter who protects your house. It’s the soldier who defends your life with his own. It’s the secretary for the sewage authority who helps you straighten out your bill and the driver who plows your street and the woman at the courthouse who helps you get your marriage license.
Government is us and our neighbors and it happens all around us every day.
But somehow, we lose sight of that. We think government is men with the right blue suit and the focus-group-approved red tie and short answers to complex problems and long, complicated answers to the easy ones.
We have accepted this because we don’t pay attention, looking at government as something that happens in Harrisburg or Washington, something that is removed from us. We have let it become that.
Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, whether we support President Trump or one of his challengers, we have to accept our role in the state of our political landscape. And that role is neglect.
It’s easy to think of our leaders as the grown-ups in the room who understand more and make the decisions that we sent them to the halls of power to make.
Instead, we should think of them like a 14-year-old babysitter. We can let them be responsible for some things, but we have to keep close tabs on them and make sure we are staying in touch.
Leave that babysitter alone too long without checking in and you come home to broken windows, a missing kid and a totally trashed kitchen. And when that happens, we have only ourselves to blame.
We’ve let things go. It’s time to own that and realize that paying attention to our government is our responsibility, and maybe doing that can help us refocus on the issues — like infrastructure and economy — instead of the shell game.
Lori Falce is a Tribune-Review community engagement editor. You can contact Lori at [email protected].