So, another election comes and goes, and what have we learned?
People long for the days gone by? People are impatient? People are afraid? Rather than evolve with the times, people want to hold onto who they are, fingernails pulling out, teeth snarled? Rather than share, people are desperately trying to just keep what little they have? All of America’s problems can be blamed on…that guy, or…that culture, or…that skin color, sexual preference, belief system…etc?
Maybe all of the above, maybe none of the above.
Not for me to say, really.
But after all the dust settles, what’s changed between yesterday and today? Not much. We still get up and go to work, or not. We still have neighbors we like, and don’t. We still think Republicans are greedy, ignorant pawns of the wealthy. We still think Democrats are socialist threats to this great nation. We still think Tea Partier’s are a bunch of buffoons who want to roll back the clock.
People are still suffering, and will continue to do so.
People are still dying because they can’t afford health care, and will continue to do so.
Climate change continues to get worse.
Some people believe that they are obliged to be a part of their community and help their fellow citizen, some people believe everyone has a responsibility to take care of themselves, and some people simply don’t care one way or the other.
There’s still room for everyone here.
But in the spirit of real politics, allow me to say the politicians that were elected, re-elected or just stayed in office last night are of some consequence, sure…but ultimately, when you need a hand, need a moment, a break…they might be kind of hard to reach, whereas the people in your immediate surroundings, in your neighborhood, town, city…those people, they will be the ones you can lean on, if you so choose. They are the ones who share an understanding with your immediate successes and failures. They are the ones who are more likely to be concerned with your immediate health and welfare. They are the ones who will be most likely to listen, to lend a hand, to do what they can…and you can return the favor.
Things are bad in this country and I have a sneaking suspicion that all those jackwagon’s elected last night, though they may have started out with good intentions at some point, will soon be forced to embrace (if they haven’t already) the machine.
So join your community, get involved in your community because we will all be needing each other more and more. Take an interest in your local schools, your local leaders, your neighbors, your local artists, bar owners, the pizza delivery guy, the lady who owns the hardware store down the street, the garbageman, the mailman, even the cop. Join your community and build your community. Maybe even focus on what binds you all together, rather than obsess on what drives us all apart. Unite around common hopes, needs and wants, not condemnations, perceived excuses and points of exclusion.
If we can all get together around a football team, we gotta be able to find something else, and if not immediately apparent, shit, then start with the football team and expand from there.
Be tactful and honest, not strategic and manipulative.
Rather than blame others, first take a look at yourself, then talk about it.
There are a whole lot of politicians and people out there who want to tell you who you are, what you want, what you need and who to blame for everything you’re losing and don’t have.
Define your community and define yourself. When everything falls apart, a lot of those same people are going to turn their backs on you and stop answering the phones. Just ask many of the people in New Orleans. Ask many of the people in cities across this country what happened in their time of need…
And then, when they all come back around in a couple of years, or when they’re getting ready to take ___________ from you now, or take that…schools, neighborhoods, hospitals, what have you…
Call together the community and make demands.
When you find out whatever corporation has poisoned you this time, fucked up your livelihood, water supply, health, call together the community and make demands, and when they say “nope, sorry.”
Tell them all you weren’t asking.
Naive of me to say?
Yeah, sure…but it don’t have to be.
A lot of this is happening already, but we need a whole lot more. I’ve lived in too many places and too many buildings myself where I didn’t know the name of a single neighbor, where the only exchange between us occurred during awkward silences in elevators when we couldn’t avoid each other. In too many architectural plans, the porches are now in the back of the house. I’m guilty too…but I don’t have to be, social phobia or not. Explore your community, find out who is getting together and why. Talk about your pasts, your futures and just get to know some people. Who knows what could happen? There are plenty of organizations out there, and if none of them fit, start your own and then connect yours to the organizations of adjacent neighborhoods…just get talking and get to growing.
I choose, you choose, we choose.
But if we don’t, the jackals will choose for you.
Have a nice day.