GENE ROBERTSON: Our job as voters doesn't end after election

Monday, December 10, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:51 a.m. CST, Monday, December 10, 2012

When elections are over, the work of the voters is not any more over than for the persons elected to office. If we thought the issues and other reasons were worth voting for, we ought to ensure that they are addressed.

Many of us were voting for the country, state or community, not just for ourselves. We voted for the future of our citizenry and for the interest of people worldwide who might be an affected by our vote. Hopefully, our government’s participation in all world events will reflect our values and interest. We have a responsibility to hold those who neglect to do this accountable. We want a government that will facilitate our addressing our needs and aspirations, as we facilitate the needs and aspirations of our government.

We have made the world aware that those who are referred to as the 47 percent in the powerless category are not powerless after all. The sleeping giant of our potential had to be awakened. Our power is our potential, which can be switched on by our will. There is enough work for us all. Presidents, governors, mayors, legislators, businesses, as well as churches, civic organizations, educational institution and we, the people.

We must be determining our condition through formal and informal research continuously. We must set goals based upon what we say we want, need and know for now and in the future. We must feel a responsibility not just to ourselves but to others as well. We can help the president and other elected officials by developing our own list of suggestions based upon our needs , interests and aspirations. We should share them with others.

We can enlist others to share and discuss our mutual and different ideas and suggestions formally and informally. We can develop our own local plans of action. We can join with others who share some interest in our goals. We must not let racial, social, religious and economic differences prevent us from coalescing. We are all in this world together. If we expect our legislators to do this, we must model the behavior we expect from them. We can formalize our goals using the array of political, media, social and other resources available to us. This is what makes the U.S. great and worth fighting for. We have the freedom to express what we want or don’t want.

We need to advocate passionately for what we want or don’t want. Presidents throughout history have told movements and interest groups to do this. Serving our interest is not a one-person job. We have a responsibility to put pressure on our leaders and representatives to make them serve our interest with us.

Our president has indicated an obligation to serve the middle class. He rarely mentions the poor. He mentions the right to protect oneself from rockets but rarely from drones. His prosecution rate for white-collar crimes is minuscule as his pardon rate for ordinary persons. We must hold him accountable for his negligence. We must take responsibility for not pushing him, as we should. If it's a new day, let's all get to work on education, health, housing, hunger, our judicial system, jobs, the economy, energy and conservation of the planet, particularly the places where we have a strong influence.

Our president asked us to elect him. It’s our responsibility to join in helping him to do all of the work that must be done.

William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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