Every year, I sit down and try to encapsulate my thoughts on society as I see it. With each word I type, I try not to preach or put myself in a position of hypocrisy. My goal is simple; identify a major issue before us and offer a solution. This solution must be actionable. It cannot be filled with lofty ideals or goals too far from reach. Most years this is easier written than done.
In 2016, apathy got the best of me. The American political process has become so disconcerting. Our elections are personality contests and have nothing to do with actual policy. Instead of adult conversations, we are treated to a four-course meal of undigestable rumors, lies, smears, and sound bytes. We aren't treated to the dialogue we deserve nor are we given enough information to make a proper decision. This is the astonishing part to me. Our presidential elections have become two-year affairs and many other down ballot races are falling suit, yet we still aren't getting the best information possible.
For those of us hoping to make an informed decision, this is exhausting. Often, or least in my case, it leads to cynicism and apathy. As I scroll through my social media feeds, I am left with the realization that I am not alone. This feeling got me thinking there has to be a better way. There has to be something that I/we can do right here and now to change our attitudes and demand better from those volunteering to serve our best interests.
As of this moment, I am led to the belief that we must get involved. If we find ourselves standing on the sideline, then I think it is easy for us to feel left out of the process. No matter what side of the aisle you find yourself, I think we must find an issue that is close to our heart and pour ourselves into it fully. A simple Google search will lead you to groups all over the country fighting for something you believe. From there, we can join the group or volunteer alongside them. One more step and we will find ourselves signing petitions, writing letters to the editor, protesting, and meeting with policymakers. From here, the directions we could head are boundless, but we must do something. I once read somewhere that we get the politicians and therefore the government we deserve. We deserve better. Our families, our relatives, our neighbors, our country, and our world deserves better, but we must demand it. Refusal to do so means we can continue to expect the status quo.
I, for one, will gladly take disappointment over apathy. With disappointment, I can live with the thought I did everything in my power to achieve the desired outcome. With apathy, it becomes brutally real that I didn't even care. Our democracy was never meant to be a spectator's sport. We were meant to be involved from the beginning. Our ability to do so is enshrined in the first amendment to the constitution. If we want apathy to end, we must remind ourselves of those words and the promise we make just by being a citizen. If we want to perfect society as we see it, now is the time to get to work.
Be good to each other,