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Why I DO Politics

August 23, 2010

Voting Fact:  In 1990, only 25 votes elected Terry Martin to District 13, State House.

Coming from Fairview,I understand political cynicism.  It is born from a certain kind of weariness with the long public decision-making process inherent in practicing democracy. I, too, am guilty of my own outlandish conspiracy theories while debating current events in various parking lots around town.  However, I’ve always insisted that public policies work only if we citizens work them. I maintain that a solution exists to any current problem.

We need to vote consistently.  Attend community council meetings, when appropriate.  Write letters and protest bad decisions.

Still, it appears that forces are acting against community do-gooders when the Courts support bad public policy on legal technicalities.  Or, when the political process does not fully fund the social safety net.

Voting Fact:  In 1992,  only 12 votes separated William Williams from his opponent, making him the winner of District 1, State House.

On a cloud-covered, very gray morning, political cynicismpassed me as a well-dressed gentleman walking to work.  I was standing on the street corner facingtraffic with a hand-made card board sign which read: END CHILD HUNGER: FEEDCHILDREN BY 2015 AMERICA.

Looking over his shoulder he said, “You have a lot of trustin human nature to stand there with a sign.

Huh?  Such a comment doesn’t make sense in my brain.  As achild, I was raised on a steady mental diet of “this is what an American looks like.”  This included some of the most courageous citizens our public policy has produced, like the iconic Fannie Lou Hamer.  All acted from the sincere belief that we are all connected as humans and feel that on a very basic level.

The generation which birthed me changed America.  My immediate and extended family bathed my mind in the magical idea “that the vote” levels the playing field.  On Election Day, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, healthy or sick, angry at the President or happy with him; everyone gets one vote to cast as his consciousness sees fit.

Voting Fact: In 1998, only 6 votes separated Carl Morgan from his opponent, making him the winner in District 36, State House. This was AFTER a recount.

Since everyone around me talked politics, I do not know what it is to NOT talk politics. Seriously. And they were into doing something about the problems of the neighborhood. I remember being reprimanded by neighbors, told what was and was not acceptable behavior inside Fairview.  I even remember acts of domestic violence being broken up.

My parents and elders educated themselves on the issues through near constant reading of the news, listening to broadcasts, watching documentaries and talking about issues. I heard more practical solutions to social problems inside a barber shop waiting to have my hair cut than I ever heard during a Presidential debate.  I learned early that the only thing stopping America from being greater is action from its citizens to make it better.

Voting Fact:  In 1978, the Father of the Dividend, Jay Hammond was given the Republican (state-wide) nomination for Governor with 98 votes.

My passion for civil engagement is rooted in the core belief that humans will act in their best self-interest. Yes, I know this is a very liberal view, however, my faith in humanity’s essential goodness leads me to assume this position.

So, yes, you will see me on a street corner holding a sign because I believe that I have a individual’s right to educate the public in the market place of ideas as any corporation or political party.

And, yes, you will hear me advocating citizens to vote during the mid-term elections.  Afterall, I am acommunity activist. This is what we do. We moving throughout the community reminding you that if America works, it works because we make it work.

I need America to work. Don’t you?

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