Sunday, August 5, 2018
CHANGING OF THE GUARD – A NECESSARY NEXT STEP
…because you don’t want your future in my hands…
The view from the mid-point of my seventh decade looks pretty bleak some days. From where I stand, it appears we have a less-than-competent President backed by an ineffectual Congress all paid for by interests whose love of money outstrips any love of country. (Please note: Some friends may see things differently than I do and that’s entirely okay because that’s how it works in America.)
The other day I counted up the number of letters I’ve sent to the President, members of his administration and leaders in Congress. 211. (Every single one, by the way, has been copied to my social media page.) I’m fairly certain none of these missives get to the Donald, but there may be a folder somewhere in DC with my name on it.
Still, there’s more I can do, and I’ve decided to do it.
Our little town has a fledgling Democratic Club which I have joined. It is a small group that hopes to have a positive impact on local issues such as homelessness, water security, zoning/business development, parks and many other things. Additionally, the group vets candidates for local elective positions – the starting point for folks who may be crazy enough to one day occupy a seat in the state legislature or even Congress. Conversations we’ve had over the past several months have been engaging and enlightening as well as frustrating and, at times, a bit depressing. Still, participation makes me feel as if I’m more than simply the person who rants from the sideline (which I still do).
One common concern in our meetings is the apparent lack of engagement of younger folks. The group acknowledges that the non-retired among us have more limitations on their time and, likely, more immediate family responsibilities. But, it seems to us that a dozen or so old farts sitting around a room talking about the pros and cons of those individuals wishing to hold local office must be tempered by the reality that the future rests no longer with us, but with a generation of still-working moms and dads. Indeed, the future belongs to them.
The late House Speaker Tip O’Neill sagely noted that “all politics is local.”
With that in mind, if your community has a Democratic (or Republican) Club, or an “Indivisible” group, or a Central Committee (all California counties have one for each major political party), consider joining. You’ll find yourself interacting with other engaged citizens, many of like mind and many who may offer you a broadening, food-for-thought different perspective. Back in the day, as a fifty-five-hour-per-week school administrator, I found time to serve on my county’s Central Committee. It was refreshing to have a seat at the table with good people who didn’t happen to be educators.
Participation may involve as little as two hours a month but that two hours can be invaluable as you help shape your community’s future by plying your unique knowledge and experience in a venue different from that of your employ.
Some folks will say that the two major political parties are lost-cause mirrors of one another. THIS is how you ensure that they are not. Be advised, however: If you’re not careful, that two hours could grow to something more. Note that former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano (later Secretary of Homeland Security) began her political career as president of her homeowner’s association, which on, NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! she referred to as “the worst job I ever had in politics.”
We can all be part of a more positive tomorrow – not just us old farts.
So: Teacher-buddy, realtor, barista, letter carrier, truck driver, administrative assistant, and/or friend from any walk-of-life: Think about where you might invest just a couple of hours in your community’s – and your country’s – future. And please give this some final thought some final thought:
You can’t possibly want your future in MY hands.
You want it in your own.
Church of the Open Road Press