Thursday, October 06, 2011

To the People in the Streets Today

I hope you're well. I hope you protest peacefully. I hope everything goes as planned, and you have a great day in fellowship with your friends and family and those who stand in solidarity with you.

I can see how the frustration with the system is driving people into the streets. I get it. I do.

But I want you to take the next step.

You can count me as one of the folks who wants you out of the streets. The streets are fun. The streets are easy. I want you to take the next step, and start taking advantage of the political agency you already have just by being a part of this great American system of government.

Instead of the streets, how about getting involved in the boring stuff like:

#OccupyYourLocalSchoolBoard
#OccupyYourLocalCityCouncil
#OccupyYourStateRepresentativeRace
#OccupyYourLocalJudicialElections
#OccupyYourLocalCriminalJusticeSystemDecisionMakingProcess

Not just for one meeting, but for all the meetings. Go, or have your friends and family go if you cannot make it. Then make it a point to get to the next meeting.

You know how difficult it is to get people to show up for these things? Hold a protest and thousands can bail out of what they're doing and take the time. Ask folks when their next school board meeting is, and you get a blank stare.

If you really want to change some of the crap sandwich we have in this country, you've got to roll up your sleeves and participate in some activities that are thankless and have no real place for witty posters. And you have to stick with it. You have to participate in your own governance because no one is going to do it for you, no one is going to be shamed into doing it for you.

Oh, and if you've got a problem with "the Democratic Party" or "the Democratic leadership" how about:

#OccupyYourLocalDemocraticPartyMeetings

They'll let you in. They'll let you speak. They'll generally be thrilled because so few people show the hell up with any consistency. So few people are willing to volunteer their time for something as boring as participating in government, that if you show up enough, for a long enough time, they'll probably invite you to join in the decision making process. They'll invite you to join in the planning process. They'll beg you to step up and run for office.

Because we can all get together and yell and chant and make posters about how "the system" is screwed up, but until you take advantage of all the agency you already have in "the system" but aren't using, no amount of spectacle is going to change one thing.

Not one.

(This post is a revised comment left on a First-Draft post.)

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