Sunday, August 12, 2018

We don't need Doug, we need you!


Keep up the good work, Doug. We need people like you!

As a young broadcast journalist, my radio editorials used to bring in a lot of comments like that. But that’s about as far is it went.

In the City of Holland, for example, back in the days before Michigan’s Open Meetings Act, I badgered the city council mercilessly for holding regular secret meetings. The people loved it, but nobody ever did anything about it.

Fast forward to today.

I’m not writing radio editorials anymore, but the pieces that I post on this blog site are just as direct. But I’m going to tell you something. If mass incarceration is going to get serious attention, if sinfully lengthy sentences are going to get reduced, if prison overcrowding is going to be dealt with, if the number of wrongful convictions is going to be reduced, if prison conditions are going to be improved, if spiritual communities are going to change their attitudes about those behind bars, it’s not going to happen because of something I wrote. It’s because somebody who reads what I write decides that enough is enough!

No, we don’t need another Doug Tjapkes. Society is stuck with him for now.

We need you!

We need people who will go to the polls and vote out of office those politicians who want to be tough on crime by imposing long sentences and building more prisons.

We need people who don’t just nod their heads when they read our blogs, but who, instead, email or call their state legislators regarding prison reform, prison conditions and mass incarceration.

We need people, regardless of age, who will get off their butts and work in soup kitchens, carry picket signs for refugees, crusade for better senior citizen care, and assist with prisoner re-entry.

We need people who will insist to their church fathers that the only mission fields aren’t overseas, that teaching Bible lessons isn’t the only way to help prisoners, and that if ex-offenders aren’t appreciated in their pews, the EVERYONE WELCOME sign should be taken down.

I conclude with this quote from a church newsletter: 

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference….
The opposite of life is not death, it’s complacency.