22 Jan 2017

Political work is like brushing teeth

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You can brush your teeth thoroughly on Sunday, flossing and using a periodontal stimulater and mouthwash. Your teeth will be sparkling clean after that work. To have healthy teeth, you will have to do that every day. Doing it completely and wonderfully on Sunday doesn’t give you an exemption from doing the work on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and all the other days of the week. Brushing your teeth has to be a daily practice to be effective.

In the 70s, the doors swung open for human rights in the US: the right to choice for women, the acceptance of the full spectrum of gender identity, the launching of federal programs that supported education and health for all, the support for the rights of the employed and those who purchased and rented, for the rights of those with special health care needs and the aging,  and a sense of freedom and purpose that lead to relative comfort for many. For those who still lacked those fundamental rights, work was being done to make them truly inclusive.

At the same time, the agents of decay, germs and those with a meaner, narrower view of government were multiplying. Germs are opportunists, and grow in all the dark corners and crevices of a country or a mouth, fueled by darkness, greed, and money.

I grew up in that atmosphere, taking for granted that everybody valued the rights of others to live in comfort, freedom, and self-determination; all I did was to vote as a way to expand those rights to everyone, as I assumed that most people were reasonable. That was not enough. I grew complacent, and was horrified to believe that there are those who don’t thinking working full time merits a living wage. because what is important is that the bosses and shareholders make obscene profits. There are those that believe that the next generation is a source of riches to be plundered, instead of being an investment in the future. There are those that believe the Earth is a mine of limitless wealth that can mined with no thought of any consequence. I never imagined that good laws would be ignored or overturned. Now the germs have taken over.

These past 4 decades, I have not brushed my teeth enough, politically speaking. The USA has a mouth full of cavities, needs root canals and bridges. During that time, the germs have multiplied to the level of sepsis, total body infection. It will take the work of millions to brush and floss; it will take the work of millions to become politically active and go to meetings and make contact with their legislators and become informed enough to  keep infection at bay. This will have to be a daily practice.

After yesterday’s powerful March in Washington, DC, I am energized to do that work. My legislator’s numbers are in my cell phone, and I’ve been calling nearly every day, to leave a message or talk with a staffer. I’m donating money monthly to organizations with proven track records that work to defend and support women’s rights, the environment, and honest journalism. I am speaking truth to everyone. I am reaching out to have conversation with those who believe differently, and finding fertile ground. This means joining an activist group meeting at a local Friends’ Meeting, as well as opening to doing things that I have not done before.

I am all fired up and ready to go!!!!


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