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?