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When I hear people say they "don't follow politics" a chill goes down my spine. Everything seems scary. Equally as distressing is the notion that the government is "telling us what to do." People seem to have this dread of taking orders, or listening to authority. It might not be mass hysteria, but it sure seems like in many corners of society.


But I'm old enough to remember a time when people did (almost) anything the government said. People used to be proud to follow orders. They would wear the button, sport the t-shirt, and display the bumper sticker of the campaign. The campaign of the year, month, day, it didn't matter. It gave sinew to the notion of one's civic duty. Eliminate gangs. Say no to drugs. If you see something, say something. I remember when people judged authority by it's sincerity, relevance and familiarity. It it's real, they'll feel it.


In an effort to raise awareness about, and ultimately lower crime, the United States government did many things. The DOJ (Department Of Justice) approached the Ad Council and NCPC (National Crime Prevention Council) to come up with something, anything, to make the public take addressing crime seriously. Sound the alarm. Get it done. The reason was simple: without public support, crime is not being prevented.


The result? A cultural icon and household name. A name as familiar as 'Michael Jackson', and arguably as beloved: McGruff. Brilliant.


So brilliant was McGruff that the NCPC (National Crime Prevention Council) website boasts that 79% of children age 9 to 11 know McGruff. In my personal life McGruff was ever present. Posters, flyers, handouts, he was everywhere. Programs like D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. did much to solidify the elevation of public safety, and show crime as the scourge it is. And it continues to work. But here's the thing, and think about this carefully: it was all political. And that was great.


You must leave a light on at home when out late! Always check your surroundings when out late alone. Are your windows locked? Remember to let your neighbors know when you leave on vacation. Have you considered joining Neighborhood Watch?


Command after command, after command. That's all McGruff did. He told you what to do, how to do it, and how to show others what to do. He told you to call your parents. He told you what way to walk home. He even told you about how to deal with bullies. And that's just what America needed. In my opinion, its what America needs now. But what happened to us, as a people? What happened to you and to me, and to our streets and neighborhoods? What happened to our communities? How did we go from being happy with public safety to rejecting it? What happened?


That's perhaps a question that can't be answered on a Sunday evening, and that's fine. But it is worth noting that, maybe, America needs a real hero. Like, a HERO HERO. Somebody so real, so authentic, so trustworthy, that people stop second-guessing and they start doing. There was a time when that's all you'd hear, that YOU were the person. YOU were the change. YOU had the power, and YOU can make a difference.


Believing in yourself and serving your community, 100% government backed, political command. It touched innumerable lives.


Great advice, from Man's Best Friend.



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