I am a guilty American.

I am a guilty American.

At my tender age, I have never experienced such a politically vicious election. I haven't found a single source of statistical information I feel I can trust enough to base my voting decisions on.

Among many things, the bailouts of the Bush administration have left our nation in one of the worst positions in history. Having said that, it wouldn't matter which political group was in power next, the mess will take many years of good leadership to get us back where President Bill Clinton left us, if that's even possible.

The more I witness the crimes against the lower and middle classes our government has perpetrated, the more I wonder about the definition of the word treason. One source I can quote without hesitation is Dictionary.com. (as far as I can tell, this source hasn't been manipulated by politicians.)

Treason: the offense of acting to overthrow one's government or to harm or kill its sovereign; a violation of allegiance to one's sovereign or to one's state; the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; treachery.

I argue that the prearranged bailout by the national banks falls under all of the above definitions. Why then are we, as a nation, still acting as if we have no power to correct the status quo? Why haven't the charges of treason been brought against those who have undermined our sovereignty? And, I might add, why aren't the perpetrators of deliberately manipulated information being placed under the same definition? Now, there's a platform for the Occupy Movement.

I am a guilty American. Guilty, because I didn't vote until I was well past 18. At the time, I felt I didn't know enough about politics to make a well-informed decision. I thought it better for all if I didn't cancel out a good vote; no matter which party. Once I felt confident about my own knowledge, I started voting.

Today I feel as though I have been sent decades back in time. Women's rights have been put on the chopping block, yet again. Why we must keep fighting issues that are personal and shouldn't be up for male politicians' discussions and debates, is well beyond my wisdom. Yet here we are again. The misinformation being shot into the general masses has only clouded our decisions and made the mistrust of our government even more abundant.

I am heartsick and angry with the education I received as a child because I now know, as well does the rest of the country, that we were fed a crock. We were led to believe our votes actually meant we had control of our own democracy.

Never in any economics class or civics class were we taught the true history of how our government actually ran. It wasn't long until the ideal world that was presented to us exploded in our faces.

We are shell-shocked and have spent many years in a stupor trying to understand where we went wrong. After all, weren't we taught that it is our vote that counts? And, doesn't that translate to, we are responsible?

For many the shock has worn off, and for others, it will soon. It is time for those in charge to hear the voices of those they have sworn to lead.

We, the American citizens, need our leaders to stand by their oaths of office. We, the American citizens, need our leaders to stop manipulating our laws to line their pockets.

We, the American citizens, need our leaders to be truthful and honorable. We, the American citizens, need our leaders to stop the self-awarded right of privilege.

We, the American citizens, need our leaders to demand employment for the citizens of the United States first and foremost. We, the American citizens, do not include corporations as an entity.

You, our leaders, are the employees of the American citizens; it is time to remember that!

Speaking up is our best line of defense.

I'm no longer a guilty American!

Marla Morse lives in Ashland.