So what happened to those dreams?
Well, they never went away. The politics part is easy. I pay attention to the news, so politics are always present. I always have opinion, analysis, and, like any good pundit (I accidentally typed “pundiot”…maybe I could trademark that word and write a book of commentary critical of the punditocracy) , an opinion on what should be done and why my opinion is superior to others. The real question is what I did about them.
Well, there’s been an ebb and flow of political involvement for me. Those first post-college years were something of a low-water mark for me in this area, largely because of my move to Seattle. I had to take some time to adjust to, not only a new city and state with its own climate, culture and geography, but also to life as an adult. It was in Seattle, that I actually had to support myself for the first time. Add to that the fact that I was trying to make friends and develop a new community, and my political involvement shrunk to individual conversations and voting. Of course there were a lot of individual conversations, many of them in the “how do you reconcile your liberalism with your Christianity” vein. (My answer is that I’m a liberal because I’m a Christian.)
Eventually, I settled into Northwestern life, got married and started dipping my toes in the political waters. I joined Democratic clubs, attended caucuses, and even led a summer seminar at church in which I was so cautious about being absolutely neutral that I think I may have cured some bouts of insomnia. Between moving into and out of various districts and such, I never had time to get as involved as I wanted to be. By the time the kids arrived, I decided that I’d rather hold off on formal involvement until I really had time to make it work.
Then this happened. The funny thing is that I was really drifting away from politics at the time. If you look at my blog posts from early October 2010, you’ll find a series of poems walking through the 5 phases of grief over the end of summer from a variety of perspectives. (Oddly enough, no one ever actually got that.)
The funny thing is that I had anticipated something like this drawing me back into politics. (The exact scenario I had envisioned was running for school board against someone who was trying for force Creationism into school science curricula. Six of one….). I was in my element. I was attending council meetings, engaging with the politicians and administrators, writing blog posts aimed at getting people organized and keeping the pressure on, the whole bit.
Now, did it work? We saved the preschool, but how? Was it the blog? Was it showing up and engaging the council members? Honestly, I doubt it. The results probably had little, if anything to do with my efforts. Alissa got some media coverage, and lots of other parents put together a poster of the kids’ art work and presented it to the City Council. Cute. Effective. Game. Set. Match.
And that brings us to 2011. What have I done politically? Well, if you have been reading all year, you’ve seen the answer. I’ve been following and commenting on events. I haven’t gone to an Occupy event yet, but I want to.
Of course something else happened in that time frame. Harry started school in Mukilteo, not Lynnwood. I live in neither city, but with Harry in Mukilteo and Annie in a private preschool (Kids Klub doesn’t offer classes for 3 year-olds this year.) our attention has strayed from Lynnwood city politics. Still, I had made a contact in Councilman dos Remedios (he was down 90 votes as of Friday) and when he asked if I could help his campaign, I was able to offer a full-throated endorsement.
I guess my point here is that the political part of my life has not vanished. In fact, it is happening naturally, organically. It’s happening in places where politics intersect with my family and me. It won’t lead me to the White House, but it’s good. This is how it should be.
Tomorrow … writing.