get involved

Every single, damn day I wake up and I see some lunacy happening from and related to 45. Every day. Remember the good old days when days, even weeks, could go by and the news surrounding our president was rather uneventful? I certainly do. I am beginning to understand why there are people who freely choose to live off the grid in the depths of Alaska. Occasionally I want to join them, then I remember how intensely cold it is in the winter and come back to reality. “Ok,” realistically I remind myself, “California is my home and I am not going anywhere.” That means I need to participate and be active in my state and its issues and the best way for me to do that is involve myself in my own community. I have written before on my journey to become an active participant in my community, this is the 4th in that series. 

winner

Last night members in my community bestowed an honor upon me, they elected me to be vice president of our Democratic Club. I am pleased and motivated even more to be a force for positive change in the sphere that is my world. My fear of failure is pretty high so I intend to do what I can to measure up to their expectations. There will be occasions for me to learn from mistakes and errors in judgement and deed, from which I hope to learn as there will surely be opportunities for growth.

Lately I have been doing things I never imagined I would do, like stand in the pouring rain outside our local government building holding up a political banner! Who would have thought the shy young girl my mother kept telling, “Speak up for yourself.”, would be gathered outside with 50 other humans holding signs waiting for the arrival of their Congressional representative?  If a fortune teller in my 20’s had foretold this scenario I would have asked for my money back. But there I was AND my face ended up in a story complete with pictures in our local newspaper. Call a politician in Washington and tell him my thoughts on health care? Me? Twenty year old I would have said, “No way!” But I have been calling and quite regularly too. Now I am meeting neighbors in the grocery store who are saying, “I saw your letter to the editor in the newspaper..... great job!” The most amazing thing? It isn’t scary like I thought it would be. I am not being run out of town tarred and feathered, but mostly I feel empowered. I feel that I can have a positive impact, even if it is small. The other amazing thing? I am not ALONE. The further I stretch myself the more I find many others who are also concerned about a healthy world for their children and themselves and isn’t that what we all really want? A healthy, safe place to live for us and our family.

long line

Our Congressperson sends out an aide to his various districts on a regular basis who writes down constituent’s ideas, thoughts, complaints and concerns to relay back to DC. I was told that these meetings are usually small and sparsely attended. Last week we were lined up out the door! You may have even heard about a town hall with usually minimal attendance was overflowing with people and the majority had to wait outside.  That was us, my community, finally showing up. I heard an 86 year old veteran talk to the aide about his worries, he even cried because he is so concerned about the future for his family and friends. I listened to a middle aged woman say, through tears, that she had never in her life ever participated in any kind of politics before in her life but was so worried about 45 and his activities and his cabinet choices that she was compelled to come to the discussion. People are worried about the environment, about health care, about jobs, about education and they are coming out of their homes into the public to let their elected officials know their concerns. And no, they aren’t being paid to do so.

group 12

The group of 12 people that came together in November is growing and other similar groups are sprouting up throughout the county.  Adjacent counties are contacting each other, “What are you doing in your county? Need any help?” In last night’s meeting we had standing room only because the crowd was so large; we have not had that before. It’s exciting to witness but most importantly, it’s energizing. One person has an idea, another has a comment which sparks a suggestion from someone else....... we are not alone. We are individuals working together- finally. While I live in a smaller, rural community I think you can achieve the same sense of community spirit and comradery by looking around in your immediate area. Start with your child’s school board or PTA- attend their meetings. Show up to your city council meeting and just listen. You can start small. As in our county, one county is starting to connect with the neighboring county. It could be that your neighborhood connects with a neighboring group. Maybe it can start with your child’s play group and trying to improve the playground on your street. I think you will surprise yourself at what you are capable of and how one action emboldens you to do other actions. Start small. Imagine big.

start small

Deborah Baron

Deborah Baron

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