03 August 2012
It is easy to forget, in the comfort of our American lives (What The Atlantic calls The Land of Big Groceries, Big God, and Smooth Traffic) how incredibly important it is to be involved. I'm often asked why I am involved in politics, and I usually make some kind of a joke about it. In truth though, it is because I choose not to abdicate my voice to a stranger. If I speak up about an issue, even if the vote doesn't go my way, at least I know I tried, and I know there are 20 people out there who agree with me but don't know how to speak up for themselves, or genuinely don't have time. I speak up because I know there are good politicians out there, ethical and decent, who need my support to win so they can govern all of us well, regardless of party affiliation.
I don't consider myself to be hyper-partisan (despite going to the DNC). My time in an ultra-conservative graduate school where I earned a Masters in Public Policy not only taught me fortitude (!) but also that no matter what people's particular party affiliations are, at the end of the day, we all want what is best for our communities - we just disagree on how to get there. What is important is being able to have a conversation and try for genuine understanding of people with whom I disagree. That's another benefit to volunteering - you will be challenged on your beliefs. Whether a door slammed in your face or some guy implying a threat because he is giving you a thousand yard stare while holding a pitchfork.
And then, if the guy with the pitchfork wins at least he is not a stranger, right?