Here’s my problem. I can’t think about anything else to write about except what is happening to our country. How scary it is to live not knowing if you are at the beginning of a “new and improved” era of fear and repression. I had a meeting the other night at my house of a group of people looking for effective ways to make their voices heard and make a difference in the political climate of confrontation and name calling we seem to be inhabiting. The people in power right now believe that they can bully us into silence and by the sheer weight of their tweets paralyze us from acting. They disparage everything I was taught as pivotal to the great American experiment of democracy.
I think the game plan is to set up a series of scapegoats whom we can blame and undermine our faith and trust in the very institutions that make this country work. With all their pious posturing at prayer breakfasts with heads bowed, they are chipping away at what is the secular sacred system set into place by our founders. I know I am venting and you really don’t need this from me; it is on the news all day long.
I actually think we all need something different.
At the meeting, I made a confession. I made it in the singular but I am betting it could easily be communal and plural. I have lots of political positions and plenty of partisan opinions but it has been years since I have carried a sign and physically joined a rally. I’ve made donations to political causes; I’ve voted in every election; I’ve signed petitions (I can feel myself getting defensive). But rarely did I call my representative in Washington; I have never gone to a town hall meeting of my senator or congressman. And I am not alone; I know it. Lots of us are caught in the daily rounds of our living and it is hard to get us to move off our own personal dime. Newton taught us: “An object at rest tends to stay at rest”. It needs a push.
This political climate has been my push. I have called congress; I have a sticky note on the bottom of my computer with their telephone numbers. I have emailed; I have gone to one rally so far. It’s not hard; it just takes doing. And if you don’t know where to start, try this article from the New York Times: “A Low Tech Guide To Becoming More Politically Active”. Here’s one of their suggestions: http://phonecongress.com/ Click on it – it will guide you through finding your representatives and what to say about specific issues.
It is time. It is up to you and me. No more waiting, watching. To paraphrase Rabbi Tarfon: You don’t have to do it all, but if now now – when? And if not me, who?