I know things look bleak now. We are three weeks into a government shutdown that threatens our health and safety and will have long-term repercussions for our economy. The forces of bigotry and fear seem more determined than ever to keep us divided and to abuse the downtrodden. Our elected officials are ever more brazen in their disregard for the well-being of their constituents. It looks bad. The good news, however, is that we can do something about it.
The first thing we could do is vote, but we have been hearing that advice forever. It is good advice, though. If less than half of us who are eligible show up, why should the politicos care what we have to say? Related to that, of course, is being an informed voter. Again, why would our elected employees do anything but what they want if they know that the people voting for them are doing so out of reflexive party loyalty or because theirs was the last flyer they saw? Finally, and possibly most important, is putting our money where our mouth is.
So many of us say we want change yet when those offering a chance to effect real change come asking for the funds to do so, we balk. We let the economic elite buy influence, but refuse when given the opportunity to give less a year than we spend on impulse buys each week. It is too much, you tell the young people at your doors and over your phones as they tell you how urgent the situation is. You want these people out there doing their work, but you do not want to deny them the resources to do so.
They do need those resources. So many of the organizations out there fighting to make your world safer and saner, the people struggling to win back your democracy, rely on the support they garner door to door in order to keep their hands clean for you. They need that money to train people, to organize events, to make the trips to your state capitals and our nation’s capitals to remind your representatives just who they work for. Even doing it on the cheap (and having done the couch surfing thing as part of the community, I know many do that) the funds are needed. Before you turn these folks away think of what that means.
Because the price of admission to our participatory democracy, whether its thirty dollars a year, sixty, one hundred, or a dollar a day, is way less than the cost of not ponying up and doing your part. Obviously this message is targeted at my fellow progressives and I don’t need to tell you how outgunned we are in the money department. On the plus side we have shown we can do a lot with very little. We do, however, need that very little if we are to do anything, otherwise the plutocrats are going to grind us into dust. So the next time some kid shows up at your door, calls your phone, or sends you an e-mail, rather than slamming the door in their face, hanging up, or deleting that e-mail take a moment to think. Think about how badly you want to see that change you keep going on about. Think about the forces we re going up against. I have said it before, and I will say it now: we will be David standing in front of Goliath for you, we just need you to put that stone in our sling.
- The DEA, an ‘Utter Failure’ by Obama’s Own Admission, Will Stay Open No Matter What (reason.com)
- Citizen Participatory Democracy (peoplesadvocacycouncil.wordpress.com)
- Communication in Movement: Social Movements as Agents of Participatory Democracy by Donatella della Porta (my1strodeo.wordpress.com)
- 10 Things to Know for Today (bigstory.ap.org)