Feeling hopeless? Then get involved

Sue Daugherty
Mar 23, 2010

As a result the local "Women's Rights Convention" the Carver Sisters coordinated for the community in July 2008, a coffee hour was held to attract people who wanted to discuss getting people involved in elected office. To our disappointment there were only four attendees who were 20-something years old. One of the four was the speaker (a political campaign manager). The other 12 people were middle age and senior citizens.

In that discussion we heard our future (the 20-year-old participants) say, "We aren't taken seriously, so why get involved. When we have an idea and share it with older people it's dismissed, until the older person offers the same idea."

In November I blogged something about being afraid of what we don't understand and how it causes the majority to resist unique (unfamiliar) ideas. A couple blogs ago I talked about how people enjoy the comfort of the familiar and they stay in their circumstances even when it's unpleasant or miserable. Why? I surmised it's because we like knowing what to expect more than they like having to deal with the unknown.

With our current economic conditions many are feeling the pain. Others are wondering, am I next?

If I just described you, then you need to know it's time for all of us to get involved. To be willing to do what you may not be familiar with and to embrace and support unique people and ideas. And it appears as though we have a presidential leader in 2009 who is working on a way to include you & me -- if we are willing to exert the effort to get involved. What's even more exciting is that our president-elect is working on a way to do this in a way that is unfamiliar to the American culture.

He and his staff are thinking on a mechanism that would allow neighborhoods -- people like you and me to have a lobbying force in Washington, D.C. The most exciting part -- if this really happens -- is that the high-level managing partners of this force will consist largely of 20-somethings.

"The full-time staff is likely to consist primarily of the presidential campaign workers, many in their 20s, who served as the local points of contact for the campaign's vast network of neighborhood volunteers. As part of the new organization, these workers probably would focus on similar campaign-style tasks, such as arranging phone banks, distributing signs, recruiting more helpers, buying coffee and doughnuts for house meetings and reporting voter contact data to senior officials. The only way to keep this thing going is to have boots on the ground," said a strategist familiar with the plan who spoke on condition of anonymity because campaign officials have not granted permission to talk about it.

My significant other has a truism that I really like. The author is unknown, "We do, only what we know to do until we know to do better."

This exercise in reviving our communities and our country means we have to get involved. Whether it means attending city meetings, county commissioner meetings, getting to know our state representative and state senators, our U.S. congressman/woman, U.S. senators (Contrary to popular belief, they really are people who are accessible if you only try.) or being part of the new organization that might come out of the Obama administration. If you're feeling hopeless this is the place to start.

Most of all, when you get involved, don't just complain and drop a problem in the lap of someone else to solve. Come prepared to do your part. Those we elect are there to provide the leadership. "We the people" must be willing to do the work and learn how to hold our leaders accountable.

So tell me, how many of you have free time?

Comments

Rick Studer

It certainly is a wonderful time to be Americans. The inauguration of the new President, new and exciting cabinet members like Hilary Clinton taking their positions. It seems like hope is replacing despair in Washington.

I could not help but think of the movie “The Wizard of Oz” on January 20. The thousands of well-wishers were like the Munchkins celebrating the death of darkness. Instead of the wicked witch, crushed, stripe socks curling under the house, the dark one himself, Richard Cheney was sitting in a wheelchair, waiting to be rolled out the door of the wind blown mess he helped create, sent packing to the plains and his pile of Halliburton cash.

Yes, it feels pretty good to be an American today. What feels even better is the tectonic shift in the structure of American politics. The conservative right wing crumbles as we speak.

There have always been a greater number of people with moderate to liberal views than there was on the conservative side. Thanks to President Barrack Obama, all those members of the silent majority, that were always there but didn’t vote, have now joined the process and are a force to reckon with.

Even as we speak, the Republicans are having an internal debate on whether to move to middle as a party and join the discussion or bunker in on the far right and be a permanent minority party of obstructionists.

Grand Puba Rush Limbaugh is even touting his wish that the new President fail in his policies on his national syndicated show. Of course, if he were to fail that would mean the country would be a mess for another four years. Therefore, in reality Mr. Limbaugh prefers the country to fail for four years in order to advance his dieing point of view of conservatism, which in reality has never worked including in the Ronald Reagan Presidency.

While we are certainly in for a long struggle, it now seems we are back on the right path. Suddenly hope is alive again. Once again, America is poised to be the envy of the world. Perhaps now conservatism can be relegated to the footnotes of history where it belongs, we can only hope people like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter soon join it there.

On an unrelated matter, I noticed the Blogstress gave a shout out to her significant other, which reminds me how important it is to acknowledge the people in our lives and that no matter what their shortcomings are, we need to show them we care. Therefore, I would like to say to my significant other, “Happy 25th CoCoa and congratulations on graduating from Massage Therapy classes!