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Friday, January 27, 2017

Hey Mama Bean... Do You Mind...

The Washington Post had a great article on the the surge of people calling themselves part of the resistance.

They pointed out, quite politely, that being engaged in politics isn't a hobby, it's our civic duty.

We the people requires that the people be engaged.

All the time.

Not just every 4 years.

When I was at the gym this morning, the lot was pretty much empty and hardly anyone was there.  The Resolutioners as I like to call them had already bailed.

I hope the Revolutioners don't as well.

Not because I want to overthrow the government- let me be clear.

I actually LIKE my government and my party.  I'm not terribly thrilled with what is going on in Washington (that is the biggest understatement you will probably ever read that I've written), but here's the thing.

The POTUS won.

As much as it appears he is trying to get out of it (seriously- who on earth actually WINS and then says there was voter fraud??  I mean Pence is chomping at the bit to take over so if you don't want the gig, quit), the POTUS was elected.  Period.

I'm not a huge fan of the electoral college but I understand why it exists and how it works and I respect the results.

But it doesn't mean I need to sit back.

Because here's the thing- I never HAVE sat back.  I've always been engaged.

Always.

My birthday is Inauguration Day.  On my 7th birthday when Carter was taking the oath I said "Well, there goes the economy..."  and you know what?  I was right.

One of my earliest memories-- no joke-- is Nixon waving as he leaves the White House.  I also remember the people clinging to the helicopters as we pulled people out of Saigon. 

So yes, I've kinda sorta always been engaged.

My job now requires that I stay up on policies that impact the economy. 

My conscious requires that I stay up on everything else.

Because, as I've posted and written so many times, this is OUR government.  If it sucks, it's because we've allowed it to become that way.

Truly.

It's on us.

So throughout my life as people have said "Why do you worry about that stuff?"  "I hate politics."  "This is all so boring." 

And they usually get the face that I give when people say they don't like reading or hate cheese. 

Maybe it's because my ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War or maybe it's because others escaped facism in Europe. 

I take pride in my flawed, arrogant, beautiful country.  I've been to nearly every state and our natural resources- wow.  The national parks take my breath away.

And having lived and worked abroad I know how lucky we have it.  No one shot at me today.  No bombs exploded.  There was water ALL day in the tap and it was drinkable.  I was able to attend school even though I'm female.  If I get sick, I run down to CVS and pick something up.

That's not the case in so many parts of the world.  While we aren't perfect, we are doing pretty darn well.

But I know it can change on a dime.  In minutes.  Trust me.  Read history books.  You'll see.  If you think the Romans were any different than us, you are sorely mistaken.  Empires rise and fall.

This election stung.  The fact that my friends worked so hard to turn Nevada blue shows that having an engaged electorate makes a HUGE difference.  We are not a blue state, despite what the news kept reporting.  We are a maroon state.  Red but oddly independent which means supportive of individual civil liberties.  We are not a party-line voter state by any means.  We are western and we are wild.  It's one of the things I love about my state the most, in fact.  I love that everyone has to stay on their toes, be engaged or else they are out.

Love it.

I was very proud that our largely Democratic delegation attended the inauguration.  Because when I was asked MY opinion I said "John Lewis should not go and his close associates should not go.  I support that.  But we should go.  We should be there.  They represent ALL Nevada and nearly half our state supported the POTUS." 

But for me, it's been weird.  Suddenly, everyone has awakened and wants to be involved.

Apparently, I am the conduit for much of the activism.

Except, here's the thing-- I know activists.  I know what they do and how hard they worked.  I help.  They made it their lives. 

And when people are showing up NOW- which is better than never-- there is this part of me that wants to shout: "WHERE WERE YOU?!?!"

It's never too late, of course, but it took THIS to make people get engaged?

And I saw the selfies in the pink hats- and that march was an AMAZING show of solidarity, please don't misunderstand me-- but some of them were from people who were constantly too busy to actually DO anything last year.

Wearing a hat and marching is great- but it's the first step.

Will you be here for the municipal elections?  Do you know what's going on in your neighborhood?  Who are your commissioners?  Who represents you in your statehouse? 

Why aren't YOU running?

Go to the meetings.  Start meeting people. 

And please, stop asking ME.

I have been telling you to get involved.

"Mama Bean, we really need to this..."

"Mama Bean, tell me about that..."

Mama Bean is tired folks.  You're all grown ups.  I'm not going to beg you to be part of something.

I don't have a secret key.  I just show up.  And set up tables.  And bring donuts.  And offer advise.  And empty the trash cans. And every once in awhile I say something that hopefully makes a difference.

This past election felt like a giant group project where a few people got stuck doing most of the work and then when we got a D, the kids that never showed up starting bitching about it.

I felt for my teacher friends who picketed, went to board meetings, did everything they could and returned to schools and had to listen to other teachers bitch and moan.  They FINALLY got a pay raise and everyone was excited but I don't think anyone thanked those that showed up.  They felt the deserved it (they did) but I didn't see a lot of acknowledgement of the people who FOUGHT for it.

Because here's how the world works in the US-- if you are an adult, you have a civic duty to know what is going on in your government.  You are have a moral obligation to care for your community as well.

It's adulting.  It's not supposed to be fun 24/7.

Civic responsibility is on ALL of us.  Not just Mama Bean's Political Posse of Friends.  They are really, really tired.

And with that, it's your responsibility to be able to discern the truth from fiction.  And to learn big words. 

I had a friend share a conversation about all the people the Obama "pardoned" before he left office.

He didn't "pardon" drug lords.  He commuted the sentences of drug offenders who were serving much longer sentences than are being given out today.  They are still considered felons.  They served time.

It's all there, information released from the White House.  You can look up every single felon. 

But spreading falsehoods and denying facts when presented with them-- no.  You're a grown up.  Grow up.

We can argue philosophy and have opinions that differ but if given the facts- acknowledge them.

I'm not trying to convince people to be in either party-- but facts are facts.  Interpret them how you want- but the facts don't change.  The unemployment rate was 4.7%.  We can argue why that's good/why it's bad but it IS 4.7%.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes this.  With the data on discouraged workers, worker participation-- all that.  All available.  For free.

If you want the actual facts, you can get them.  Well, for now, at least.  But seriously, don't rely on outside sources.  Go where they get their data.

Because it's your JOB.

It's your job to be knowledgeable, engaged and involved.

Please.

I've been saying that the current POTUS may end up being my favorite for the sole purpose that he got people off their asses  and into the streets.

But then he tweets something ridiculous...

ANYHOW-

So welcome to the club.  Welcome to Adulthood Civics.

It's not too hard to be involved.

Because in order for our country to work, it needs to be BY the people-- not just the lazy kids pushing the work onto the Dudley Do-Rights.

ALL people.  All of us.

Otherwise, well... let me see what Twitter has going....

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