May 26 • 05:47 AM

Complain! It's your right!

May 05, 2010
Experts say that as of the year 2010, Americans are more dissatisfied with their government than they have been since the Great Depression. Today, no matter where you go, you will frequently hear the disgruntled murmurs of discontent with government policy. Americans have an epic privilege, however. We have the freedoms granted us by the Bill of Rights [see "Constitution of the United States of America" for more information]. Yet, unfortunately, many throw these freedoms aside as "unnecessary" [which makes the Constitution very sad…].

This series of columns will be the beginning of a helpful guide to becoming a Super Citizen of the U.S. of A. You'll learn how to question government, how to have a voice among the crowds, and how to throw amazing 4th of July barbecues. Fun for all ages, becoming a Super Citizen is a great way to become a bonafide American citizen.

Lesson #1- Complain, Complain, Complain.

Have you ever seen those bumper stickers on the backs of semis that say "How's my driving? Call ***-***-****!" Well imagine for a moment that there is a HUGE bumper sticker on the Capitol Building in Washington D.C, and every other facility run by good ol' Uncle Sam. Every day local, state, and federal governments are busy making decisions and problem-solving in an effort to make this country a better place to live [theoretically]. What happens when they go astray? Well, when they attempt to jump over insane boundaries and plan a massive global takeover, they're usually shut down pretty fast by the public, but if they take their time, and tip-toe over that "Do Not Cross" line, the general populace is less likely to be riled up. When our government doesn't get any feedback regarding laws and regulations they pass, they take our silence as a "yes" and proceed with their own agenda.

Recently, the Michigan Film Offices denied a Michigan-based television series—called Arial and Zoey—the rights to the film incentives that have been offered by the state. They say the reason for the denial is that "the program would've been filmed in Michigan regardless of the incentive." After the brief shock of outrage, I fired up my laptop and read the MFO's incentive program on their official Web site. I then sent them a friendly "hey, you're doing it wrong" e-mail. I realized that chances are I wouldn't get a reply, so why would I take the time to send that? Because I knew, at that very moment, someone other than me was sitting at his computer vigorously beating the pulp out of his keyboard in a passion. Our mission? To take a stand for what we believe in.

So why complain to someone who isn't even listening? Is there any point?

Yes. Public relations offices in government and commerce are there for a reason. They want to be your friend. If enough people are unhappy, they notice. It's all about quantity.

Next time you see something that you don't like, speak up. The world doesn't change when you debate politics with your friends and siblings [granted, it can be fun] but if you take the argument to the source, you might be on your way to making a change for the better. It doesn't matter if you're liberal, conservative, independent or totalitarian; you are an American citizen with the right to complain. Use it.

Eric Fredendall is an intern with Tri-City Times. He lives in Imlay City with his family.

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