Monday, February 24, 2014

Heavy Lifts

The most consistent question I receive from friends is "How's the campaign going?"  My answer is always "great".  It really is.  We don't do polling, so I can't say how much of an effect we're having on vote totals come June and November, but I know that I am enjoying myself and that I am confident our message is getting out.  The best thing a canvasser can hear when spending an afternoon knocking on doors is "I've heard about you."  I'm getting that a lot now.

You also realize how shallow our experience of this County gets.  Counting all the people we know, interact with, or know about, that is actually a very small percentage of the people who live here.  Many live lives completely removed and disinterested from County lines, local politics, and community issues.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it is certainly true.  I've had this conversation dozens of times - "Why don't people care?" and the answer is normally "They don't have to."  I have cared about so many issues that have had absolutely no impact on my life.  In fact, I would be hard pressed to name an issue I've followed that has created a definitive change in my day to day.  But I still care.  In a way, we all care for those who don't have the time.

But when I go to someone's door, I ask them "What issue[s] is your community facing that you would like to see the state take on?"  The most common reaction is surprise.  If I didn't want to get shooed off the porch as a hippie, I would ask "What issues would you like to work with me on fixing?" (people remain steadfastly cynical around strangers).

As I drive home, I normally contrast those small one-on-one interactions with the size of our problems.  Poverty.  Climate Change.  Injustice.  Those are heavy lifts.  Occasionally, I'll ask someone about their concerns, and they'll name a "heavy lift" with a matter-of-fact tone that indicates "Well, what are we going to do about it?  It's so darn big."  We may satirize our problems, but that doesn't mean we don't acknowledge they exist.

For those who care for others who don't have the time, thank you.  Although tempting, we can't add disengagement to our list of societal ills.  We'll prove the worth of engagement in doing.

Special Note: Meatless Mondays in Howard County is holding its official kick-off today at the Little French Market.  You can find a number of amazing meatless options there all day today.

Have a great Monday doing what you love!