I challenge you

It is my opinion that Americans complain too much and do too little about their own life in general and about politics specifically. It is understandable why we complain so much, less clear why we do so little. As a nation, we hardly even get out fat butts out of the chair one day every other year to vote. Yet we expect that by some miracle they do something right for a change and solve our problems. Insanity is too kind a word for our syndrome.

So here is my challenge: Take on a discernible, measurable project at some level of the world you live in and follow through on it until you get a result, even if imperfect, or die trying. I did that in the city I live in, a small city of around 36,000 so I have an advantage over those in larger metro areas, I concede. I also suggest that it is still possible for each and every person to make a difference in some corner of the world we live in.

My project is a change in political campaign finance laws in my city to make elections more open, transparent and easier for the average person to be a candidate. I have been speaking out at city council meetings, formed a mail list, write articles for the local online newspaper and formed a common cause with one council member on this issue. This past Monday the Council passed a measure setting up a citizen board to study and recommend changes to the city’s campaign laws.

The result of this study may not be to my liking, but that is less consequential than the fact that the city will now be discussing these issues openly. This is not a personal accomplishment on my part in that I merely gave voice to the growling, complaining and griping that had existed underground all along. But I gave voice not as a complaint but as a request for action. Not only did I provide a suggested solution but I was persistent.

I believe those are the two ingredients that are required for anyone to make a difference. Your results may vary, but I am urging you to formulate your own plan and then follow through, follow through, and follow through.

If not you, who? If you aren’t willing to take something on as a personal project, why do you get a pass and expect someone else to do something? If you can see the issue clearly enough to have a complaint then you are needed to help arrive at a solution. You may be one of those Americans who have been complaining over and over expecting a result other than the one you have gotten. Isn’t that either a form of insanity – or just plain laziness?

Of course you may have circumstances that are more daunting, less time, energy, or whatever. Fine, pick a smaller issue. Pick something that you have a passion for, something you care about enough to endure lots of time, people who just don’t get it, family or friends who do not support your efforts, the list goes on. So what? Are you committed to making a difference or to being comfortable, or popular, or whatever stands in the way?

So there is my challenge. I would love to hear your reports about your projects, how they are going and your suggestions for success.