As I get older, I’ve become more invested in the notion that I really can’t convince anyone, politically, of anything anymore. This is an important statement come up because it literally changes how I make decisions on how I spend my time. This affects my politics mainly in the fact that I will not engage in debate, because I don’t believe I personally am effective in debating. The way I change people’s minds is by my actions. The way I make fundamental change is make sure that people who believe the same as I do get active politically, and above all vote.
So, instead of (or In addition to) shouting at the TV and sending my money to candidates I support, I choose to get involved. To give, as one of my long time faith community leaders used to say, my time and talent, as well as my treasure. I choose to take tangible action that will increase the political power of those who already share my opinion. Examples of this are: driving people to polls in Hamilton County Ohio (2008), knocking on doors in Modesto (2018), and being a poll watcher in Wisconsin (2020).
Why do I do this? Two principal reasons. First, in his last letter to the world, John Lewis made a profound statement that “democracy is not a state, it is an act”. One thing we learned from the period between 2017 and 2021 is that Democracy is fragile and can be taken away from us. We live in a Republic, where government derives its power from the consent of the governed. We learned during this period, that there are those who do not hold this positions. Moreover, we learned we must tangibly act to maintain it. We The People govern, and it requires work.
Second, and more importantly, I engage because I believe in the definition of this country, which I have written about before. This country is a secular, omni-ethnic, representative, democratic republic. And it is changing. By 2042, this country will be majority minority. No one ethnic group will have a majority. My efforts in this regard are twofold: to ensure the definition of this country remains the same, and to bring the non-majority (read: Non-white) groups into full participation in this country. Equal protection before the law, AND equal rights, equal opportunity and equal outcomes for all, no matter who your ancestors were, how able you are, how you worship, or who you love. This is the work of centuries, but I choose to start working on it now.
Why do I do this? Simple. I love this country, and as my faith tells me, all life is sacred. To do otherwise is to disrespect those two ideas.