One of the features of our political system is that it encourages inaction, or convinces us to exhaust our efforts in the wrong outlets. If our politician wins, we’re done. We sit back, unengaged, and let them work. If our party doesn’t triumph, we spend the next years decrying the political dangers of Evil Party X. For those that offer their allegiance to None of the Above, they often see evidence everywhere that their non-alignment with any party was the superior choice. And they tell us. Repeatedly.
And nothing gets done.
As we near Trump’s one year mark in office, what have I done at a community level? What vision have I offered? What tangible efforts have I proposed? Even getting the “right politicians” elected becomes a panacea, a way to shift from a persistent critique mindset—to the inevitable complacency of having Our Representatives in power. The cycle continues; a wheel that came loose and is bouncing down the highway. We’re all trying to reach the top again, not recognizing that we’re no longer even attached to the Vehicle of Progress.
There is an imperative to confront the policies of Trump or to level critiques at the Political Other, a need for accountability and sharpening. Efforts to propel one’s party to power are an integral part of the political process. The voices that discuss the problematic nature of a two party system must be acknowledged and considered. But what if the system is designed to waste our efforts in futile handwringing and unproductive quibbling? To propagate the status quo, regardless of which party holds the reins of power?
We can’t Take Back Washington but we can take back our homes and our streets. We can’t always stop the ascendence of autocrats but we can limit their reach and influence by the strengthening the fabric of our communities.
The righteous surge that washes over me when I decry a Corporate Behemoth or Political Apparatus—is invigorating. It’s convenient and comfortable to present a strident deconstruction of Forces Out There. The introspection however that demands change at a personal level? The recognition that the world is changed not by wailing and thrashing at the darkness–but by our light? Right here? In a myriad of uncomfortable ways that include the risk of failure? In ways that actually demand something personal?
Well, President Trump sure has destroyed us, hasn’t he?