Does this election cycle leave you feeling disillusioned? Unhappy? Angry? Helpless?
I’m here to give you hope.
Non-partisan, straight-from-my-heart hope.
Please take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders. This isn’t one of those stressful articles about the current state of politics that is trying to change your mind about the candidates.
In fact, here’s a selfie with Thomas Jefferson. A favorite quote of his? “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
Let’s start by telling you why I’m involved in politics: I want to make a difference. Please don’t think the politicians you see in the media represent all of us. In addition, please know the media doesn’t represent politicians as the actual people that they are, for better or for worse. 🙂
I’m here to remind you that politicians are real people, and the majority of us are your neighbors. We live around the block from you, or go to your church, or our kids swing next to yours at the park. I kind of want to make a shirt that says, “Politicians are people, too.” For some reason, people feel empowered to say terrible things to and about their elected officials. I beg of you, please stop that.
If you wouldn’t say it about me, don’t say it about our presidential candidates. They’re people, too. 🙂 Death threats are uncalled for. Insults are unnecessary. Yes, we’re all frustrated, but we’re also working together as a society. Humanity, people.
Most of the people reading my blog know who I am- we’ve met. I sat next to you in band, or we were in Girl Scouts together, or I shot your wedding, or you met me through Mr. Mustache. Regardless of how we initially met, or how long it’s been, I’m still the curly, bubbly Heidi that you all know and love. Yes, I was elected to represent my community- probably since I care so passionately and I want to help- but I’m still the same girl who tap danced at the school talent show and competed with the math team. Maybe I’ve been hardened a little bit, but mostly I’m getting used to handing criticism, deserved and undeserved. I’m undergoing personal growth. 🙂 Adulthood is a wonderful thing!
It would be easy to stay at home next Tuesday. It is easy to turn off the television, to unfriend Facebook friends who drive you crazy with their political statements. It is easy to put the election in the far back corner of your mind, and focus on everything else…
…except, in the words of Truman, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”
I want to make decisions. I don’t want to pretend that I don’t have an opinion, or worse, I don’t want to stay home because I’m frustrated, and let others make my decisions for me.
I have two suggestions:
- Please vote. Vote in every election that you can! It’s such an honor for me to be involved in the political process, and I cherish living in a country where my input is valued. All of our input is valued. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that your individual vote doesn’t count. The ocean wouldn’t exist without each water droplet, and our current country wouldn’t exist without each of us. Please don’t confuse my optimism with naïveté- I truly believe that each person is an important member of society with a role to play and a job to do.
- Get involved with local politics. In my job as an alderwoman (councilwoman), I have the privilege of helping make decisions that really affect my community. I make sure that kids have safe routes to walk to school. I help ensure that police officers have the vehicles they need. I learn about Emerald Ash Borer from our city forester and approve the spending to help prevent major damage to a huge asset: our city trees. I make sure that we take care of the elderly in our community. I help find funding to fix our bumpy roads and mow the lawns in our parks. I learn about our city budget and try to help find creative ways to keep all our services running while still taking care of our city employees. I help reunite lost cats and sweet old ladies (yes, this happened!). I’m literally able to make a real difference in my neighborhood!
You can do this, too. It’s not difficult, it’s not a huge time commitment- our local cities are clamoring for your input! Many municipalities have committees with citizens that fill their spots. You could call your local alder and find out if they need help with anything. You can even just write an email and share what you love about your community and what concerns you.
I’ve heard people say that there are more important things than politics, like their family or their job. I urge you to see the connections between all of the above. Since political influence extends over all of our lives, I want to make sure it has a positive impact. I want to make the best neighborhood possible for my future children. I want to have a safe, happy, healthy home.
Please don’t write off politics as a whole because you feel disenfranchised with the happenings on the national stage. There are lots of local politicians who are here to listen, and want to help.
Our big election will be over in less than a week, and regardless of what happens, our cities and villages will keep on chugging along. We’ll still be here, working hard to serve you!
Please know that you can make a difference. Your input is valued. I care!
P.S. There are a few houses for sale in my neighborhood, in case you want to move somewhere I can represent you. 🙂