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September 23, 2012: Politics as Usual

Political work has never, ever been my forte, in part because it’s male dominated. At the same time, it’s always been hard to watch, women having to play by men’s rules if they wish to get anywhere.

There’s this. And there’s that. I find it hard to grasp the ins and outs of complicated issues, like the legalities of the coal permitting process. Sometimes, as I’m listening, I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. But I know that if I fail to speak up, that the quality of my life will suffer. For instance, if those in my neighborhood had sat back and done nothing, the coal mining operation would

now be in full swing. Instead, it’s still onhold.

Back and forth I go, sometimes involved, and sometimes not. I’m a political metronome. At this moment in time, I’m involved. I was recently motivated to again toss my activist hat in the ring by two things. The first was the ongoing work of my friend Sean. Ever since I’ve known him, and in fact long before, he has been a vociferous supporter of left wing environmental issues.

Sean never grovels or stays mum on his viewpoints. Rather, he gets right out there and tells people what’s on his mind. Most recently, he and a few friends did the near impossible; that is, they got the majority to vote against a fat cat Republican candidate. Ralph Seekins spent a great deal of money attempting to get re-elected, and my friends brought him down.

I was also inspired by the book The Women of Seneca Falls: The Birth of the Woman’s Rights Movement by Mariam Gurko. The book is about the lives of the woman who were instrumental in organizing and carrying out the Seneca Falls Convention – “a convention to discuss the social, civil and religious rights of women.” And it’s about after their collective and individual struggles in their attempt to continue this work. All the way along, for half a century, they met with considerable resistance.

Both Sean’s work and Gurko’s book made me realize that yes, I should do more political work. This is why I decided to give an assist with a local mayor’s race.

I went to an organizational meeting tonight. I was so very impressed with the breadth of knowledge of those attending. These people are the local political movers and shakers, and believe me, they know their stuff. And they don’t just talk – they get out there and get stuff done, consistently. Unlike me, they don’t fade back into the woodwork.

I just sat and listened – and I learned a great deal about campaign organizing ins and outs. I think that the trick to learning such things is to put one’s ego aside and embrace the egos of others.

So this week, I will make phone calls and go door-to-door. It’s not much, but it’s something.

Next: 288. 09/24/12: Update