Apathy. Despair. Anger. Confusion.
Maybe we should throw our hands up in the air and walk away from it all. Politicians in our state capitols and in D.C. simply do not listen nor do they empathize with the everyday working American.
I was speaking with a neighbor recently who voiced his complete displeasure at Washington. His emotions and his disgust forced his hand. He is ready to call it day and give up.
It might be easier for us all to not pay attention or dig deep for the truth in the face of all of the public relations spin. The sheer amount of energy needed for political change is taxing on the mind and body. All of the beltway talk mixes together to form a fog of information – sifting through the half-truths and lies of omission is beyond frustrating.
We could rehash the 2008 Obama campaign promise of change and its subsequent failure. But we all know the severity of our own disappointment and doing so is only good in academic settings. In life we have to live and learn. Thus, if we can takeaway one lesson from the entire event; it must be the campaign’s slogan, “Yes We Can.” It was not “Yes I Can.” It was the we in the slogan that mattered and still does today. We really are the change we have been waiting for… yes another slogan quotation. A single person like Barack Obama cannot and will never be the vehicle for massive change. Only the people can do it.
With so much riding on the election we put all our eggs into one basket. Yet, when that basket fell to earth the eggs broke and we were surprised and more than upset. We have to diversify our movements because no one person is enough – human beings are flawed through personalities, temptations or sheer blindness to another ideal.
The Civil Rights movement was not won by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. alone. There was Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, Ralph Abernathy, Malcolm X and many others including bus loads of protesters coming together.
Collective action… collective voices… collective ideas… a collective movement. The we is the focal point and the only way to do that is to overcome the apathy, despair, anger and confusion.
See through the fog, take a deep breath, find a little happiness inside and stop sitting on the sidelines.
Everything that happens in your state capitol and in D.C. impacts you. There is no escaping it. For my neighbor and I am sure others, it is tough realization. Politicians make laws and pass legislation affecting the ability for us to get a loan, workers’ safety, subsidies for massive oil companies, overtime pay, medical care and tons more. If you believe tax dollars taken out of your check is your money… these politicians decide how that money is being spent. Wouldn’t you rather have it going towards your child’s education rather than it being funneled back to Wall Street?
Have you ever been to a conference and noticed how groups tend to seek out a leader or a person to represent them? It is because we are inherently political creatures. We seek out leadership and voices to listen to. The political implications of it cannot be lost.
In that same group the representative is not always the one who has the best idea or spoke the most. The same is true in larger settings. Americans, like yourself, have better ideas than those elected to lead. It is why all of us must realize the political fights can have our voices in it as well. While both sides duke it out in D.C. – our dog may not be in the fight itself. We need to make it happen ourselves.
The personal stake involved is greater than most of us realize. It is about access and opportunity to pursue our dreams, our goals and our passions.
If we do not take political matters personally than all is for naught. Our jobs will have been done in vain and our lives will not be remotely close to living out the American Dream nor the pursuit of happiness promised to us when this great country declared independence.
Take it personally. Feel the anger, despair, confusion and yes even the occasional bout of apathy but do not allow it to hinder your ability to make the very same decision makers feel the same emotions and pain as you do. Take it personally. Take time out of your day to at the very least follow the news, learn the issues, volunteer in your community, talk to the people in your legislators’ offices, talk to friends, family and neighbors.
Do not just get involved or get active. Become an activist at heart. It matters greatly because the political is personal.
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.