HERD ABOUT IT?
by Ana Grarian
Election time is very difficult for an activist. Likely the candidate who comes out strongly for what you believe in will belong to a minority party with no chance of election. At that point you risk handing the election to the least compatible candidate. Mainstream candidates usually hesitate to make a stand on an issue because it narrows their base. Bland statements such as “I’m for better schools” (really? wow, what an unusual side to be on) or “I support the working class” (but I’m not going to say how) are passed via flyers and infomercials.
Often there is no candidate who cares about your cause. Though they might politely listen to you in their office, they are actually for whatever brings the most money into their coffers, or at least onto their district, or at least promises to bring money, jobs, trade into their district. In very few places can they run on the promise to make their district a better place for future generations though the immediate result will be hardship.
If you are a parent you know how hard it is to sell that line. Don’t buy that cheap toy you don’t need and will soon break. Save your money and eventually you’ll have enough to buy a bike. Delayed gratification is such a hard habit to learn.
In the meantime, little by little, the word gets out to more people, and you start to get asked questions.” I went to a meeting about what happened in PA. Do you think that could happen here?” “I heard they don’t want to do that here so are we safe?” Being informed puts you in place to answer some of those questions and to point out other questions they may not have thought of. Eventually a group of people are showing up at Town Board meetings asking questions. Hopefully it will do some good.
I read that a 20 year old today has witnessed the burning of 50% of the world’s oil. In my lifetime the US will have used 75% of it’s oil. The first oil well was drilled in 1859. Talk about imprudent use of a resource. And yet today our politicians are firmly in the pocket of the folks who say we can’t cut back, we must drill, frack, whatever to get more to GROW, because growth is the magic word, the symbol of progress. At the same time we’re having a hard time recognizing and getting our governments to recognize that we are wasting our water just as rapidly.
Take a breather. After the election results are in we have a lot of work to do.