If You Want To Be Involved, Then Show Up

I’ve been writing this blog since 2008, at times being more politically involved in the community, and so far nothing I’ve witnessed has ever riled up the public more than garbage rates and garbage service. 

Way back when, there didn’t use to be a time limit on public comments at the city council meetings, so it was hours and hours of angry people with pitchforks and torches in hand singeing the eyebrows off of the council members. I miss those days! 

Today, council meetings are much less entertaining.  People complain mainly through social media, where it makes no difference.  “I’ll write this sarcastic, nasty thought on Facebook and rule the world!”  Posting something online can make you feel like you just changed the world, when you might as well had run into the middle of a forest with your soapbox, and gave your speech to the trees.  

As far as the garbage rates go, yes, it stinks to pay more. It’s hard to pay more for something like that.  I mean, it’s garbage.  It’s like having to spend money on a broken sewer line when you really want a new pool.  Who dreams of laying out in the sun next to their sewer?  I’d rather spend my money on things that make me happy, but…

I totally get why people are fed up, not wanting to pay higher bills.  They have all increased, ridiculously so.  At this point, I just laugh, as if laughing madly at an inevitable and untimely death when paying my bills.

A few weeks ago, I felt like leaving the groceries I was ringing up at a self-checkout after seeing the total.  It irked me to pay $70 for $35 worth of food!  I voiced my complaints to the screen, and felt better about it.  

As much as I’ve poked fun at Baby Boomers, I do have to admit that they are much better about organizing and causing real political and social change.  My generation is pitiful, and those younger than me are even more so. A lot of that has to do with being so distracted and self-absorbed with technology.  

We feel connected, but we really aren’t.  We feel like we’re participating in meaningful dialogue, but we aren’t.  Change still requires putting your feet to the pavement and meeting those who make the decisions face-to-face.  

If you’re looking for a way to get involved in the community and have any kind of influence at all, there are several organizations to look into.  There are many social organizations and volunteer opportunities that will get you in touch with the people who are making decisions for the community.  That’s where people like that are.  They’re not at home writing comments on social media, and they’re not writing a blog. 🙂

All the community leaders are involved in tangible ways.  They’re going to meetings and sacrificing their time.  They’re learning how things work in the community firsthand.  I’ve been around long enough to know that you can have an impact if you show up, and speak intelligently.  

The recent garbage rate discussions reminded me of all of this.  If you don’t like how things are going, or you feel that you have something worthwhile to give, then show up.  Anybody can make a difference, if they make the effort.