Skip to main content

Good citizenship is really calling for action

We all know the feeling. Something isn’t right. We don’t like what we’re hearing. We’re getting angry. We’re about to utter those familiar words of resentment: “There outta be a law!”

Then it hits us: Our government has the power to address our concerns. Why, government is likely the cause for our concerns. We need to take action. But we don’t.

Familiar? I have always been surprised at how often we know we should take action on a legislative or regulatory issue and fail to do so. Finally, I may understand why — thanks to a book by former two-term Florida Governor Bob Graham titled, “America, the Owner’s Manual: Making Government Work for You” (CQ Press, 2009).

Graham asks a simple question: Why don’t more people participate in grassroots political action? His answer is just as simple: We’ve actually been taught to watch the game of democracy.

However, democracy was never intended to be a spectator sport. Citizenship means engaging with government at all levels, according to Graham. But since we were hardly taught any civics in school, we don’t feel comfortable getting involved.

Graham, who also served 18 years in the U.S. Senate, wrote the book with co-author Chris Hand primarily as a text for advanced high school and undergraduate college students. They also hoped the book would help people catch up on developing their skills as active citizens. But, students notwithstanding, the book is reportedly being used by a wide range of organizations — for example, the Service Employees International Union and the American Society of Landscape Architects. Both want their members to be more active and effective in engaging government.

The book uses a variety of case studies. It doesn’t center on actions of government officials or agencies, as most civics books do. Rather, it focuses sharply on plans, tips and citizen actions that impact government policies.

Why am I blogging about this? First, it would be a good book to have your managers and employees read for a true understanding of how they can effectively impact regulatory policies at all levels of government, from the local schoolhouse to the White House.

Second, we in the marine industry have got to get better at influencing government policy. Our national and state associations do a good job of representing the industry before government. But our real power rests in the grassroots. When the call for action goes out from our legislative teams at the NMMA and MRAA, we must know how to respond. As Graham claims in his book, we can fight “city hall!”

And make no mistake — there are big issues staring at us right now. For example, the greatest threat to fishing in history; the determined campaign to expand ethanol above E10; reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund that channels millions of dollars back to boating; protecting our working waterfronts; among many other issues from taxes to emissions. And that doesn’t even begin to touch on important issues in virtually every state government that will impact our businesses. It’s time we all developed better citizenship skills.

Related

AdobeStock_131758074

Rays of Light

A key indicator of U.S. consumer confidence rose for the first time in four months in August as the economy added 315,000 jobs.

1_YANMAR

Yanmar Announces Sales, Marketing Hires

The company has hired Bas Eerden as global sales manager and Michele Durkin as global marketing manager.

AdobeStock_99701994

So, You Want To Be a Yacht Broker

Tips to help build a network through an online presence which is essential to success

1_HURRICANE.IAN

Ian Explodes Into Category 4 Hurricane

The historic hurricane is expected to make landfall this afternoon between Naples and Venice, Fla.

1_PREMIER.MARINE

Premier Marine Announces New Minnesota Facility

The pontoon builder recently completed a 150,000-square-foot building with new corporate offices and expanded manufacturing facilities.

1_SCOUT.BOATS

Scout Boats Recognizes Top Dealers

Seven Seas Yacht Sales of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was recognized as the boatbuilder’s top dealer worldwide.

1_TOWBOAT.PINK

TowBoatUS Vessels Go Pink

Five of TowBoatUS’s response fleet are going pink for the month of October to help increase breast cancer awareness on the water.

1_BTN.CHART

Fork in the Channel

Boat registration totals for July mostly revealed considerable weakness compared with a year earlier, and tumbled back into a steeper downtrend than the prior month’s comparisons.

1_PULSE1

Inflation Stymies Boat Sales

Inventories of new and used boats are improving at the retail level but are still considered comparatively lean, according to the results of the monthly Pulse Report survey.