When we speak, we must know we are speaking for everyone

The blog seems a little lonely lately. Paradoxically, because it isn’t about the ins and outs of my life, it gets quiet when I get busy. Understandably, when one is focused inward, one doesn’t notice what’s going on out there in the world quite so much. In my case, that means little material about which to write. Got me thinking about how that translates on a macro level as I was walking home…

There’s a lot of post-election talk about the need for people to “stay involved” in the day-to-day goings on in government if “change” is really going to be promulgated. One man alone can’t fix all the problems we face and citizenship is about more than standing in line for an hour to cast a ballot, so they say. The concept of “staying involved” is amorphous. I would argue there has to be an impetus of some sort to get the average person to act on a problem/issue. One has to really see, in a fundamental way, the existence of said problem/issue and its impact to be so moved as to break out of the pattern of one’s daily life and get involved in addressing it. Further, it’s a very rare person who will be so motivated that one experience or realization will sustain a commitment to action in perpetuity. And, as we all know, action — going door-to-door, making phone calls, educating and organizing your community, lobbying your legislators — is what brings change.

This election was one such instance of average people with no particular interest in politics being moved to action. As has been discussed ad nauseum, the overwhelming feeling that our nation is heading in the wrong direction combined with Obama’s unique ability to move people around that premise created a perfect storm of inspiration and drive for that to happen. But the election itself was only a moment, already fading from memory, and the tedium and bureaucracy of governing will soon set in.

I haven’t had anything to write about because I haven’t really noticed anything as of late.  That is not to say I didn’t see the homeless person on the sidewalk outside my posh office building last week, or read about the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of the DC public school system, or hear that yet another construction project is grossly over budget. I saw all that stuff and many other things, but I didn’t notice them in a way that made me stop, think, ponder consequences, discuss with others, etc.

In short, I wasn’t engaged in what I was seeing and engagement is the foundation of action. We all have times when work seems like it is consuming us, family obligations arise, and what little free time we manage to carve out seems best spent relaxing. Such is life. But if I feel like that at this stage in my life, I can only imagine what it’s like with kids, multiple jobs, etc. I look to my mother as the model here, who raised me by herself while working two or three jobs at a time to provide a decent existence for us. The inclination there is not to “stay involved” in the goings on in DC, but rather to put food on the table and exist another day.

This brings me (finally, you say!) to my point: Notice. Care. Act. STAY INVOLVED. You, right there reading this blog. Every minute you can in every way that you can. 

Your scribe imagines her small but lovely readership to be not so different from herself: young, well-educated, making an okay living, not too tied down with the demands of family life. In short, people who have the luxury of time with which to get active. Volunteer in your community, inform yourself and educate others, and make things happen. For every one of you there are thousands living an existence in which there is no room for anything but survival. Although the “change revolution” will undoubtedly be televised (and Twitter-ized, for that matter) it isn’t about Obama, it’s about you, so keep moving forward for everyone.


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