Friday, October 10, 2008

Why I'm Doing What I'm Doing Tomorrow

We get a rinky-dink free mini-newspaper every week. These items made up the front page this week:
  • Housing Crisis Pains Hippieville
  • Dental Van to Offer Free Clinic
  • Number of Homeless Youth Grows [on pace to be double last year's number]
And this sign has been on our church door for a couple weeks:

These vouchers, which several local churches give out, are for emergency help with gas, utilities, food, medical expenses. It has never been able to help everyone. Now there's nothing left to help anyone, until the next month. Too many people needing help. Too many problems.

This is a tough place to live in a lot of ways, for a lot of people. Fishing and logging are no longer major industries; the work that's left is very seasonal and service-oriented, which means it goes away in winter and when the economy suffers. My wise friend who knows the community and the medical/insurance world well observed, "This is the worst I've ever seen it," in terms of families struggling to find work, get insurance or medical care, to just make ends meet. And that was a couple months ago. All signs point to things getting worse before they get better.

Meanwhile I watch the news and read the blogs and follow the campaigns. I fret about our budget and the church's budget and whether this investment we made in our home still holds any equity and how we'll ever obtain health care if our situation changes and the kids taking home food the church has collected after youth group because their cupboards are bare. I feel alternately disgusted and inspired and alarmed by the things I hear and see and read. I'm sad, I'm upset, I'm hopeful, I'm determined.

And I'm not going to let that be the end of it.

I am going to do something.

Tomorrow I am going canvassing to register voters and talk to people about Barack Obama and other candidates. I've never done anything like this before. Never been involved in politics at any level beyond voting and a couple of local school or community issues meetings. But like I told the guy when I stopped by the Democratic office today, if I say this is so important, I have to do something. I need to harness and channel my angst and my obsession and my desperate hope into something productive. I need to know that if I'm disappointed, it's not because I didn't do anything. If my kids ask me someday what happened in 2008, I want to say: I did my part for what I thought was best.

I can't explain in this one blog post why this election feels so important to me--other than to point you back to the problems above and your own nightly news--or why I've chosen the candidates I have. And I'm not going to try, because right now I'm not asking you to think like me. I'm asking you to act on what you think.

I honestly want everyone I know to vote, no matter how they'll vote.
Most people have an opinion on how things should be, but far too many Americans don't follow through on this fundamental way of expressing our views.

So let me practice my spiel on you:
That's really all there is to it, this voting thing. But this democracy thing? That requires a bit more of us to work at its best. I'm looking forward to seeing it from another angle--to see what we'll observe in neighborhoods, what stories people may tell, what people are concerned about, who I'll get to know. I'm sure it'll be interesting, if nothing else.

Report to follow, film at 11.

Disclaimer: These thoughts are the sole property of the person who just happens to be the sole owner of this blog. They are not intended to be partisan (see section 6b, "vote for whoever you want") but if you feel they distract you from your sole goal of seeing how cute my baby is, feel free to pretend this post never happened. Those of you who would like to discuss this topic or others, feel free to leave a comment!


paige said...

The hometown crowd and I just finished a day of canvassing for our mutual friend. It was a little too warm today and a little scary to knock on those doors (especially while OSU was playing) but I'm so glad we did it.

**oh, and you've won the drawing for adding EOR to your blogroll. I'll blog about it, but send me your address in the meantime, and thanks~!

Anonymous said...

you go girl! - I hadn't canvassed since Bobby Kennedy, until I did in the primaries - I have been so disgusted by politicians - but something has got to change, we can't continue down this road or there will be nothing left for our sweet baby girl to inherit but debt and despair.

The Six of Us said...

I have been passionate about getting out the vote since highschool. It is just something that should be done. There is no reason not to in this country.

This year I'm taking a little more humorous approach by dressing my two up like Obama and McCain for our community's Halloween events downtown. They will be riding in their "Get out the Vote" buggy.

You go girl!