Hate elections? Consider the easy life in a dictatorship
A recent survey revealed that only 36 percent of adults in the United States could correctly identify the three branches of our government as outlined in the Constitution.
What the study didn’t reveal, however, was that even fewer of those folks understand how each role serves citizens.
It’s a sad statement considering the republican democracy we live in. Awareness, participation, and involvement by the citizenry is what that system depends on yet most of us don’t even have the ability to label the parts much less operate the machinery.
Who makes Minnesota’s outdoor’s laws? It’s not the DNR. It’s the legislative branch, which, at the state level of government, is the Minnesota Legislature. What does the DNR do then? As part of the executive branch, headed at the state level by a governor, the DNR is responsible for carrying out and enforcing those laws.
Often times, the Legislature creates laws that are incomplete, difficult to enforce, or extremely vague. That’s often the result of compromise, another essential civic skill that people seem to undervalue. When the legislative branch makes incomplete laws, it’s up to the executive branch to fill in the gaps. When people take issue with those laws and those enforcement gaps, they have a right to appeal them to the judicial branch, which can weigh in on the constitutionality of the laws. The judicial branch, otherwise known as the court system, interprets the laws as its role in government.
Where role does the average citizen play? Literally, there are hundreds of opportunities to participate. Reading Outdoor News is a good way to get the awareness piece and often articles written by Rob, Tim, or Joe include ways to get involved.
Check the subscription numbers, however, and most Minnesotans who purchase a hunting or fishing license are not subscribers. Even Outdoor News readers, who are arguably probably the most informed citizens on outdoors issues, seldom take the next step past awareness. Participation and involvement takes time, but it’s what a government of the people, by the people, and for the people requires.
The hard part for me is trying to figure out why exactly this is the situation. Why are we OK to live in a system we choose to ignore? One could say that we have the freedom to make just such a choice, but I’d say that’s a marketing scheme being peddled by those looking to flip the system on us sometime down the road.
Any idiot has the ability to complain, but get past the layers of most complainers and you quickly realize they have no knowledge of the depth of the issue. It’s like the protester a few years back holding the, “Take your government hands off my Medicare” sign.
Do you know your legislators who make state laws? Do you know the regional DNR folks who carry out and enforce those laws? When’s the last time you civically engaged with them? These folks work for you and put your money to use.
A dictatorship or oligarchy government run by a small group of powerful people is much easier to live in. The people have more free time, less civic responsibility, and just as much freedom as long as they aren’t questioning the people in power. Is that what we want?
Our actions are speaking louder than our words, so maybe it’s time to talk more and do more. The direction we are headed is not the fault of anybody else but our own misinformed, uninvolved, non-participatory selves. You can start by researching candidates, their stance on all issues, and voting on Nov. 4.