Now that that’s over….
First the good news:
The disaster-palooza that President Romney and Vice President Ryan would have certainly been was averted. (Seriously, say that in your head a few times…“President Romney.”) Romney/Ryan was a law making machine waiting to happen. And with three Supreme Court justices in their 70’s, they would have had the power in just one term to solidify any anti-woman, anti-humanitarian, bigoted, big money profiting laws they signed for the next several generations.
Now, I certainly have plenty of important issues where I disagree with President Obama. However, those disagreements are entirely on policy positions, which makes them easily changeable, modified, repealed, etc. Even the NDAA – which I wrote scathingly about on this page – automatically expires every two years.
Don’t misunderstand. Foreign policy, drones, starting the Keystone XL pipeline, veiled references to fracking in the debates – these are all gigantic obstacles to human rights and climate change. But they aren’t enshrined in law. And while I don’t think a second term will magically make POTUS more progressive, his “evolution” on marriage equality gives us a glimpse of what can be achieved when the electorate speaks out and demands what we want.
That brings us to the bad news:
You Don’t Get To Go Back To Sleep Now And Stop Paying Attention!
For some, this isn’t bad news – it’s spectacular news! We love to-do lists and accomplishing goals and pestering people for good causes and screaming from the rooftops about inequality and injustice! There’s a march? Where?! When?! I’m in! Sign a petition? You got it!
And some of us simply like screaming and drawing attention to ourselves. For everyone in that column: Congrats. There is a shit ton to do and we only have three years to do it before we have to spend time averting disaster again.
For others, that was a slap in the face more than a call to action. “What? I voted. What else is there?” Everything else. Citizenry awaits you! In the immortal words of Howard Zinn, “voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”
So you have to ask yourself: Are you a concerned citizen? Is there something that’s important to you? Are there things you value, things you want, things you think everyone should have?
Allow me to get you started with a brief list:
▪Affordable higher education
▪Reproductive rights and access to care
▪Private for-profit prisons
▪Saving our species
▪Trade policy/domestic jobs
▪Public sector worker support
▪Abolishing the death penalty
▪Marriage equality nationwide
▪Money in politics
▪The drug war
▪Hundreds of world-wide military bases
And I know I missed things. (Feel free to post them in comments!)
If you’re overwhelmed by the list, Howard Zinn – predictably – has something to keep you motivated: “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
You don’t have to be active in every cause you care about; it’s simply impossible if you have a working empathy gene. Just start signing up and showing up. You’ll find that your talents and time lead you to a cause or two (or four!) that you are especially designed to engage in. There is something about you that is unique and valuable and needed. Your neighbors, your friends, your fellow human beings need your small acts.
Now, let’s get to work.
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Categories: Finding My Voice