Politics seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. Yes, I know the elections were last month, but we’re still facing an uphill climb when it comes to getting this country moving again. Everyone seems to have a different idea on how to get things done. For average people like you and me, it can be frustrating to watch the endless bickering and blaming and berating. Like roosters at a cockfight, these politicos huff up their feathers, eye each other warily, and dig their spurs in every chance they get.
Notice I’m using male imagery here. That doesn’t mean that women can’t be equally unyielding. However, females in general are known for their diplomatic skills, their ability to mediate disputes, and to suggest compromises. Thankfully, the number of seats held by women increased in Congress, but we still have a long way to go.
What can we do? For starters, we can get active on a local level. If you feel compelled to support a cause or movement, jump in and volunteer your time and your resources. It’s easy to stand in the wings and complain about how things are going, but taking action is much more rewarding.
Here’s a challenge for 2013. Choose at least one cause or movement and support it with your time and energy. Maybe it’s transportation, education reform, the environment, poverty, or human trafficking—choose one and get involved.
I realize that many of you are probably thinking, “But what can I do? I’m just one little person, and these issues are so big.” You’re right. They are big. No one said it would be easy, but every one of us has the ability to take some action that will have a ripple effect, spreading goodwill and positive energy to those who need it.
We also need to remember that there’s strength in numbers. Find like-minded people and learn what they are doing to help make the world a better place. Or start something on your own. All it takes is you.
Recently my friend Laura Habr, who owns Croc’s 19th Street Bistro with her husband, Kal, asked if I would help at the polls on Election Day, encouraging voters to vote for the Light Rail referendum. Peter and I both signed up and did our best to help. OK, it’s not much and I don’t need a gold star.There are many people in our community who do much more than I do. But this is an example of how our efforts, large and small, are needed.
Another way to help is to encourage smart women you know to think about serving the public as a candidate for city council, the school board, or a state representative. You can also get involved by helping candidates run for election. Or maybe you should consider a political path. All you need is vision, leadership qualities, and good communication skills. Of course, it takes money to get elected these days, but if you have the drive and ambition to make an impact at the local or state level, people will support you. It’s just a matter of taking the first step.
The League of Women Voters is an excellent organization to help anyone who’s interested in pursuing an active role in today’s political scene. Think about what you can offer to the world. Then just do it.