Inspired Activism in the Face of Partisan Dysfunction

Tom Ufert
Published on: 9th January 2014

Since the age of 17, I have been a motivated, active citizen in the political affairs of my country. I was extremely fortunate at that time to meet the Democratic U.S. House of Representatives member for my Fourth Congressional District in the state of Louisiana, Charles "Buddy" Roemer. On this particular occasion, he was presenting me the "Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Good Citizen Award" at my high school, Loyola College Prep, in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was 1983. I distinctly remember our brief but humorous conversation at the podium in front of an applauding student body. I casually remarked to him, "Isn't it funny what a nice haircut and a coat and tie can do for you nowadays." He humorously replied "How do you think I got elected to Congress?" We both chuckled at our sarcastic reflections on the moment, but in that single instant I learned an invaluable lifelong lesson about politics-perceptions are reality.

Over the next decade I actively pursued, through academic studies and social endeavors, my career aspirations to become a successful political figure. In that short time I acquired my double BA in Political Science and History, volunteered on over ten political campaigns, served as an LBJ congressional intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, was nominated to be a White House Fellow, attended my first national political party presidential convention, was the youngest member of the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee, was a co-founder and state co-chairman of the Louisiana Young Republicans as well as the chapter president on my college campus, editor-in-chief of my college newspaper, and then was honored to be awarded a Rotary International Graduate Fellowship where I studied East Asian Political Affairs at Australian National University in Canberra, ACT. To say the least, I moved in some pretty remarkable social and political circles meeting numerous movers and shakers such as one U.S. President, the Australian Prime Minister and Governor General, as well as a host of the political Creme de la Creme. It was my great fortune to actually have meaningful conversations with many of these acquaintances and in some cases work closely with them in political processes. Over the years I have worked tirelessly on both sides of the political aisle always believing in supporting not merely the "Party's candidate" but the best candidate for the job. My point is simply this: my political experience, while certainly not ranked as a "professional expert," has definitely provided me with an extraordinary glimpse and firsthand perspective into the somewhat camouflaged political world-certainly more so than the average citizen.
 buddy roemer,good citizen award
From this unique life experienced personal perspective, I have sought to utilize my new found literary skill coupled with my life-long love of politics, to write a citizen's perspective on the present dysfunction of the American government. Entitled Political C.R.A.P.S. (an acronym for Compromise, Rancor, Affluence, Policy, and Stupidity), this book intends to challenge my fellow citizens to quit whining and start acting. CRAPS also intentionally refers to the fact that we as citizens and our elected public servants are playing a seriously dangerous game of "craps", betting the very fortunes of all humanity on uneducated, ill-informed, and apathetic electoral decisions at the ballot box. Everyone seems to complain that our government is inefficient, chronically fiscally irresponsible, and ideologically gridlocked to the point of dysfunctional lunacy. Yet everyone's response is to blame someone else for our woes. This book will be an in-your-face challenge for everyday citizens and public servants alike to stop playing the "blame game," quit shirking their responsibilities, and shed the sweat and tears it's going to take for America to remain an economic powerhouse of global leadership.

Throughout the entire 113th Congressional session, I've become increasingly disgusted with the rancor and partisan gridlock like most Americans. However, having been a dedicated political activist for most of my life, I realize that this caustic situation in Washington is a direct result of vocal minority factions and a recalcitrant majority of Americans more concerned with their personal and economic well-being than anything else. Unfortunately, those that shout the loudest get the media coverage that pervades the airwaves whether or not they are right in their clamor. It is somewhat mind boggling that the majority of Americans suffering since the economic crisis of 2008 are the least likely to vote and become involved in the political process. This is most probably a cause and effect of their declining perception as an economically influential block that can effect change. I argue that this is a self-defeating fallacy. Those that would best benefit economically from concrete political reforms in the tax code, wage disparity, immigration, education and infrastructure revitalization are the very people sitting quietly on the sidelines. Instead of sheepishly accepting the deplorable status quo as an inevitable sign of the times, it is time to become adamantly vocal. Shout out loud in a national voice "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH" and do it at the ballot box. In this vein I decided to write Political CRAPS. All of this stems from an inspired life to give back to my community, do my part and put my God-given talents to good use despite surviving twenty-one years with three life-altering disabilities. Having already achieved notoriety as an Amazon Best Selling author after writing two books and donating a portion of every book I sell to numerous charities that help victims of natural disaster, people afflicted with AIDS, the illiterate, or disabled children, my efforts only demonstrate that Adversity Builds Character (the title of my first book). No matter what trials and tribulations life may throw at you, putting your personally specialized talents to work for a cause greater than yourself is all the inspiration one needs to live a meaningful life of purpose. Furthermore, that endeavor of helping your fellow man can be an unstoppable contagious brush fire that simultaneously eases your own afflictions while changing the world one person, one day at time. One never knows, but in every one of us lies the potential to move mountains, change lives, and inspire monumental change that can affect all mankind.
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