I’ve never been a political person. I figured it was all a foregone conclusion and it happened at a level I had no interaction with. My first experience was working on the last presidential campaign. What I learned from that was there were people from all over the country who got involved.
This year I’m working on the mid-terms and I now have a whole new view. What I’ve learned is that grassroots politics is just that. It’s “kids” from colleges, people of retirement age, working and stay-at-home moms, business men and women. People of means, people who are marginal. It’s all of us. People like me who are just learning and people who have seen it all and are seasoned, experienced workers.
It is also clear to me now how powerful we are. That was an important lesson at a time when many are feeling un-heard and forgotten and downright powerless. We are anything but powerless, unless we throw up our hands and tell ourselves we are.
Our vote matters more than we know. At times, one or two votes have carried the day. Those votes could be yours. Someone told me of a conversation they had with some 30ish people. They said they wouldn’t vote because they felt the candidates weren’t worthy of their vote. That took me aback. People willingly giving up power is something I don’t understand. If they vote the best that are up for election now and hold those people accountable for how they perform, their voices will be heard and their presence felt. Then they can dig in and find candidates they like better to work for in upcoming elections. That’s how they will get candidates they feel deserve their vote, not by sitting back and observing, but by participating.
This is an “all of us” thing. That’s what a democracy is. It’s “we the people,” whether those in office, at the moment, see it that way or not. We do have power. We can change things. Not by yelling louder than the next person, or bad-mouthing people we don’t agree with. But by persistently working for those we do see as having something to contribute. But standing by our truth and not by some rhetoric. By registering and voting. By taken the power given to us by the Constitution and The Bill of Rights. We are never powerless. People come and go. People in power now will not be there later. Same is true for all who sit in presidential and congressional seats. But WE put them there and we can take them out of there – as long as we exercise the rights given to us and hard-won by our ancestors. Democracy is not something to observe. It’s something that requires participation by everyone.
If we don’t like the way things are going we can change that by learning what candidates are really about. Not their campaign slogans, but their record and how they live their life. And, remember, NO ONE is perfect. No one! That’s not a human quality. But decency, honesty, responsibility, and accountability practiced by an imperfect human is good enough. The people WE vote in, speak for us in our government. And, they will be reminded every election if they don’t perform the way they should, they will be a thing of the past.
So, please take your power. Vote. Make your voice and your desires heard. You have more influence than you realize, but only if you use it.
You deserve a country that works for you, too. Step up and make sure it does.
My best to you,
Dianne Shaver, M.A. Accountability Coach