These days, a lot of people complain about politics and the excesses of government and business reaching into their daily lives. I am no exception.
When friends talk to me with complaints about politics or policy, and the conversation ends up with an exasperated hands-thrown-in-the-air statement about how bad things are and how they will never change, I remind them that their voice is loudest at the local and state levels. I remind them that those places control most of the decisions affecting their lives, and where their involvement and activism will bring about the most change. I also tell them that, despite their political investments in certain parties or ideologies, their involvement at a local level will open their eyes to the warts that afflict all levels of our politics, even those of their own side.
That last is always the most difficult for most of them to hear.
One prime example is how citizen involvement is actively changing New Orleans, a place with traditional and deeply entrenched interests who are often resistant to change. Here are just a few examples of how individuals and the new media have affected local policy. These stories get picked up by local, state and in some cases, nationa, media. They have been able to keep the heat on local politicians, and have affected decisions as high up as the US Department of Justice. (HT: Karen Gadbois)
You don't have to wait on a President or a Party to deliver Hope and Change to you when you can go out and make it for yourself.