"Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. " Betty Friedan

Friday, May 30, 2014

Civic Engagement and Cynicism

Last night as I was tossing and turning and trying to fall asleep (like that's new), I realized that there's no way I could just write about aging, that I wanted, and needed, to blog to get things out. And, as I wrote in my first post, to use this blog as a journal.

As always, if you don't want to catch my brand of crazy, and prefer to just keep your own, step away from the blog. Otherwise, here's my rant for today. Ah, reminds me of Dennis Miller when he was actually funny: "I don't want to get off on a rant here." But lest I digress too much.

So, what's the crazy making du jour? The June 3rd election of course. Those who know me, know that for the past 20 years, I have been an active member of my community, i.e. known to some as the Queen of Volunteering. However, in the past few years I have cut down on my volunteer activities, and the present election is making me consider actually stopping any city related activities.

Sadly, my election cynicism is not new, but in spite of it, there's still a big part of me that's hopeful, and yes, naive, that people who get involved in community service do so for the same reason that I do. Because they are as passionate about things as I am, and that they say what they mean because they feel as deeply as I do about things and only want to do the right thing.

There are bigger issues in this election, statewide offices, a couple of propositions, but my concern, my sadness, comes from my local election. I don't want to turn this into a political blog, or another local, whack-job's biased and misinformed blog. That means I won't "name names," attack, or rant about specific individuals and what I think they have done. I am just writing about this because it's bothering me and I share what I feel (again, not a big shock to anybody that knows me).

It's funny, I find that as I age I hear or understand songs in an entirely different way.  All I keep hearing is the line from Simon and Garfunkel's brilliant Mrs. Robinson:
"Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon. Going to the candidate's debate. Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose. Every way you look at it you lose."
It breaks my heart that just 8 years ago, that the candidates that so many of us supported and worked together to get elected to get rid of a divisive, unethical and polarizing office holder, are now just as divided. And, that at least one has resorted to using those same half-truths via negative mailers, phone calls, and simple intimidation.

The most heartbreaking thing for me is the level of fear I see around me. I never thought I would see the same level of fear amongst my friends and neighbors to simply speak up about who they are supporting and why. The fact that many feel this way speaks volumes, if you are afraid of retribution or retaliation or for being the next person on the hit list, ask yourself this, "is this somebody that should be an elected official?" Is this the way that we want people to get elected.

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