Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can We Help?

I have never felt I've had to really listen when someone on the radio or in Government tells us something. But last night I heard on Cable FOX news that some school board, in North Carolina, is advocating a radical change to their 9th grade history books. They want to rid their books and teaching plans of Early American History, They want to focus on American History after 1877.

Apparently this means students will not have to study the history of our Founding Fathers, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights or why America stood up against the King of England,their onerous taxes placed on Americas without representation and a Parliament that would not listen to us. They will not learn what we as a people did in the early years that makes us unique from other societies of the time.

Today on Glenn Beck I heard that on barackobama.com, Organizing for America, a new Children's Outreach Program is being touted by the White House. Apparently the web site's audio instructs children to become involved so they can help parents understand what the government is doing. Hm mm. Shades of European History. Check it out.

You might think that all I do is follow politics now. But I don't. Sure I listen to conservative radio and television news because I have found, more often than not, they give a back story to the news. A back story which explains the why? and the what? of things that are happening today.

I am also concerned that 15,000,000 people are unemployed. I am worried that Trillions of dollars are scheduled to be spent by a government that seems to look at the dollar as monopoly money. I am worried that there are people in high places who don't like us or who may not have our best interests at heart.

I am worried that those who have been elected and those Department Heads confirmed to protect us are intentionally kept out of the terrorist arrest loops. I also worry about who we are becoming as a people. I worry about our government emphasizing distinct American populations. Rich vs poor, pitting one against the other.

I've spoken of my past life as a Community Developer. I specialized in Minority Communities. In my experience most Community Organizers work closely with focus groups. Community Organizers provide on site leadership to ensure that progress on an issue is maintained. They do not stand outside of the group and wait for information to be collected. They do not wait for focus group information to be channeled to them.

It appears the intent of government focus groups is to collected information intended to help those sponsoring them to identify areas for implementation of future legislation, policy or policy change.

We the People should know more about these groups, than we do. Their work affects us all, i.e. in all probability we will have to abide by the result of the decisions originating from the work of these groups. Therefore, our elected officials need to know who their group leaders are.

They need to know their education, background, ideology, their experience with group work, and what written Policies and Procedures govern their work. What oversight is provided and by whom.

Policies and procedures seem like a little thing but they are important because they formalize what the facilitator and the focus group can and cannot do. Such as how much hidden agenda can the facilitator use in leading the groups during their discussions.

What problem statements and objectives are identified and by whom prior to the time of the group meeting. I see a need for Congress to have access to these people, particularly at the management level. Those seen should include those who identify participants of the focus group. We should also know the background of the selected participants.

The work of the group should be in the open. Management and facilitators need to ensure that bias does not interfere with what should be a place of free expression and exploration rather than a place to endorse a particular agenda or to support one stream of thought alone.

It is also important to memorialize these meetings by written records so that an abridged source of expressed positions can be identified. Focus Groups can be a good thing if used properly but they should not be the only source of information. Data collection is important as is leadership.

It appears that White House's, forty or so advisers, have not been confirmed by our elected representatives in Congress. This in spite of the fact that they weigh heavily on the public purse, make decisions that affect the American People, and work on projects without congressional oversight.

Oversight that Cabinet Secretaries are required to meet. It seems an awful lot of people are in the picture when the president meets in the cabinet room. Who are these people? Why haven't they been required by the congress to appear before them. If they wanted to the congress has the power to ensure they appear.

Congress and the people need to know what standards these people work under? Who pays them? How are they paid? On what budgets do they appear? If money is transferred from one budget to another to fund them and their activities; whose budget loses money, and what had to be given up to support them?

I have listened to video and audio tapes made by several of these people. I have seen them and heard their words and I believe in several instances, they should be questioned by Congress before they are free to advise our President.

I have been asked to balance my statements. I do not see my positions as a negative but rather I see them as a positive. This has been a terrible year for the American people. Events are progressing rapidly and the American people need to join the conversation, not to throw roadblocks at the Government but to reach out any way we can to ensure that America remains America.

I truly believe that our Government needs help, many of our legislators have served way too long. There are those who appear angry and/or out of touch with us and need to reconnect with the People.

I also believe that like you, I pray for our Nation every night. I pray that our Nation will be safe and secure, prosperous and that we as a people be kind to each other. I pray that we continue to be a bright light, a beacon of Right and Justice for the rest of the world. I don't think that is too much to pray for. Do you?

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