I attended a lecture today by former Florida Governor and US Senator Bob Graham about civics and how people can and should participate in politics. He emphasized learning how government works, applying critical thinking skills, finding what motivates you, and getting to know your elected officials. He got me thinking about how much I contribute (or not) in the political arena.
I think he had some important things to say about getting involved. As you know, I'm all about the power of community, and he talked about that. He debunked the idea that people get to be successful solely on their own power or their own abilities. It's true, individual effort makes a difference, but so do the factors we don't control: being born into a certain country, a certain family, a certain skin color, a certain gender. Individuals can decide how to impact their world, but there also needs to be some sense of what is best for the group, not just what is best for ME. Communities need to come together, to decide together what is important, what is an investment, and influence their legislators.
He also talked about the power of forming a relationship over time, in communicating with your lawmaker. Protests are all well and good, but it is also the ongoing conversation about issues that has an impact. It is tenacity and contact and communication. It is an ongoing awakening to what is happening in our daily lives, in our communities, and then talking about what can improve and how we can get there.
What have you done for your community lately?