Monday, April 30, 2012

I get it now

Some of you know of the controversial community issue that I've been working on. We've had some "wins" on some procedural issues, and it's tempting to start vote counting (it looks good).  This issue is heating up again, and I had an epiphany today about politicians.  I  totally get it now.

When I first started working on this controversial community issue, I was annoyed by the emphasis that some people placed on the role of policitians and elected or appointed officials.

I was further annoyed when my group (you can just call us the opposition) met with one of these politicians.  He was/is in favor of the project but didn't know anything beyond the very, very basic details.  Fortunately, he had no jurisdiction over the project and kept claiming that.  Of course, we found out later from some e-mails we obtained from a FOIA request that he was involved heavily in building community support for the project and even funded some of the mailings that the supporters did.

I was getting jaded and scoffed when one of my new activist friends talked about the importance of donating to political campaigns.

But my goodness, I get it now.  After today's hearing and witnessing one of my elected officials in action, I TOTALLY get IT now.

There is such a feeling of pride when you witness your elected official doing the right thing.  When you see him asking thoughtful, critical questions that clearly demonstrate a depth of understanding of the matter at hand.  When this normally mild-mannered man that you see with his kids in the grocery store or at school drop off stares back icily at one of the supporters making an objection and says "It doesn't matter how long it takes, this is the process and I'm going to ask all the questions I need to ask."

I feel proud of him, and proud that I voted for him.

Of course, I also feel sorry for some of my county neighbors who have a different elected official - either the one who was clearly watching a movie on his laptop or the one who was taking a snooze.  But I guess 2 completely unengaged people out of 9 isn't too bad.

I also GET that a small group of people (along with some mysterious, anonymous financial donors) really can make a difference.


2 comments:

Elaine said...

As you know, my life's work is to write articles informing public policy debates. What frustrates the hell out of me is the million times that people DON'T take the information in - and just vote with the dollars. I often tell myself that nobody actually cares how I vote, but they do care how I spend my money. I suggest if that development does make it through, you refuse to go there. That's the kind of activism I'm thinking is powerful these days. But - super kudos for getting this far and it looking good. BE VIGILANT! There are lots of dollars on the other side and they can come into play very late in the game. How about a letter to the editor of your community paper calling out the movie watcher and the sleeper? Maybe a public shaming is in order?

Rachel et Natalie said...

keep the good fight. I am glad you had such positie experience about the person you elected.

 
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