Project Kinect

In the last presidential election, record numbers of first time voters in my generation were out, in the voting booths, partaking in their democratic responsibility.  It was amazing to see this many young adults getting involved in what is happening in our country and what direction that we want to see it go in.  Well, what do we do with the very large group of intelligent, motivated and productive group, of all ages I might add, that don’t vote and may never vote for extremely specific reasons that are justifiable and relevant.  While I was in Vegas helping Tara move back out there for school, I met one twenty eight year old that held those exact feelings.

Remember Christina and Joel from Mansfield, CT I stayed with in April?  Well they have now returned to Las Vegas and when I met them for lunch, they introduced me to Joel’s cousin, Lindsey.  We were getting into stories about her volunteering at an orphanage in Bolivia and then we got onto the topic of voting.  She has never voted and really has no plan to vote.  She isn’t lazy, un-educated or naïve, she just doesn’t feel that she has all the knowledge to make the correct decision she wants to on the candidate she feels would do the best job.  We can’t ostracize her for this opinion because it is true, how do we get all of the correct information to make the decision for the candidate that we want voted in? 

Today we get media fed everything.  What we want to eat? Who we want to wear? And, of course, who will do the best for our local, state, and federal government?  With all of that feeding, how do we use our instincts, intelligence and downright gut feeling on the things we actually want?  It is interesting to wonder about what we want as this presidential election becomes more visible in our horizon. I also ask, how do we motivate people to look for the reasons why they vote one way or another.  I am not saying one way is right or wrong, as long as we are voting people in for the reasons we want.  That is what it is, isn’t it? Our voice.

On my flight from Milwaukee to Los Angeles for this extremely quick weekend, I met Sonia.  Knowing that I would be running from the minute I got off of the plane, I figured I was going to just rest and have a moment of shut eye on my flight.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to not have the opportunity.  Sonia is from Southern California and while she loves living in Southern California, she has become ill over what the California state government has done for the state.  Like many, she is becoming fed up due to the lack of integrity and responsibility that the government has had with their constituents and just basic knowledge between what is right and what is wrong.

            This irritation has inspired Sonia to diligently research our true American history and see if that information can help her while she makes future decisions in her life, carries on conversations with others and I’m guessing maybe in her voting routine.  Sonia really inspired me because she is taking her part in our democracy into her own hands.  She isn’t letting one strain of media influence her and she isn’t taking the first thing she hears as fact.  Sonia is a great example of how we all need to be a part of the decisions that are being made because we voted our representatives in, are affected by the changes made and even more simply, are residents in this country.  

            This conversation led us to discussing today’s youth and whether they contain the common sense as well as the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. The way that Sonia feels she contributes to this group of young adults is through her job.  She works as a District Manager for a large department store chain and gets to take recently graduated college students and help them in the skills that will make them successful at their jobs.  Fortunately these skills such as interpersonal, leadership and communication skills are essential in a successfully running society.  If they happened to miss that part of their education in college, Sonia is certain to pass on those tools to them once working for her.  That, Sonia told me, is her favorite part of her job.

            I love flying and this is the reason why.  I was seated next to someone that I may have never talked to, with some opinions that maybe aren’t similar to me, and we found the common ground and the enjoyment of life.  I not only got to learn about her political views and her career, but I was able to learn about her daughter who she is so blessed to have, and her husband who she met after life moments of high pressure that helped her to be ready when they met. 

            Sonia, thank you for an amazing plane ride.  It was such a pleasure meeting you and I look forward to hearing from you again in the future.  And thank you for educating me on the true ride of Paul Revere.  Do you all know that Wentworth Cheswell was the African American that was just as influential in the mid-night ride as Paul Revere? Cheswell rode north as Paul Revere rode west, where the British eventually went, causing Cheswell to be unknown for his accomplishments in the midnight ride.

When I got into the creation of Project Kinect, I purposely stated that all political and religious views would stay out of this purely so that it can be as objective as possible.  I am taking time to observe and listen so that we can all get to know each other. However, on a day like today, after two months of protesting and requesting that the politicians we all voted in do hear what their constituents have to say, where our government is about to shut down because they cannot pull it together, I feel my opinion needs to come out a little bit. 

Yesterday reporter Lisa Ling tweeted “Congress, get your shit together”. Now, it is almost nine thirty on the east coast and no deal has been made.  When the government shuts down, what happens you ask?  Well, certain things keep going like air traffic, armed forces of course(without a paycheck), and we still need to print money so the Department of Treasury does not get turned off. 

Unfortunately, the people we have elected have some morals so while they continue to get paid while the government gets shut down; everyone who works for them does not and gets an unpaid vacation.  In addition to them, no visas or passports can be approved, all national parks would be closed, the Center for Disease Control(CDC) would be closed as well as the center for toxic waste.  These are just a few of the many ways that the public, the very people that voted in these ego-saturated politicians, would suffer once the government shuts down this evening.

When I was back running restaurants, if something shut down, that meant I would have to call someone in and get it fixed.  Who can we call right now to fix our shut down government?  We don’t have anyone. We only have ourselves so we have to climb up the ladder, grab the manual, and figure out what we need to do to get our broken government up and running again.  Once it is up and running, we need to find a way to hold our government responsible for what they did.  They’re lack of responsibility and integrity cost us time and money as a country and we need to remember that they work for us.  If I call a repair man in to fix equipment and it breaks down again the next day, I call him, request he comes back and fix the problem correctly this time. As a result, I do not pay him extra labor fees because he didn’t complete his job the first time.  He is being held responsible for his mistake. Our government needs to be held responsible because I repeat, they work for us!  We, the voters, are the majority in this country.  Not the rich, not the politicians, but us, the very people voting them in, buying their goods. 

As we approach midnight, and our government gets shut down for whatever amount of time it may be, remember that we have to hold them responsible.  We have to hold them responsible for this incident, for what they promised us to get them the vote, and to ensure that this never gets to code orange again let alone code red because that is what this is, code red.  We have a government that isn’t fully working and we need to get it working again.

I included some links to that talk about government shut down as well as a link to what the 2010 budget looks like.  I also added, just for your viewing pleasure, a link to government salaries.  It helps to know how much our voted officials are getting paid.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t have all the ways they are getting paid, but that is for a different conversation.  Happy Shut Down All!


What Happens If the Government Shuts Down?

U.S. Congress Salaries

U.S. 2010 Spending Budget