I am a middle aged white guy, living in middle America working in a middle level job in a middle sized company, I guess that makes me middle class.
I consider myself a pretty far left democrat. Not because I am an idealist, but because I find the governmental safety nets, tax policies, environmental policies, etc, more to my liking. Oh, that and the republicans have shown pretty much since Reagan that they should not be governing.
Every day I read about the catastrophe of the day. Many of them seem remote to me, tornado two states away, hurricane 4 states away, train wreck in another country, pipeline spills, oil spills, countries in turmoil, plane crashes. Every day, I get out of bed, eat breakfast, take the train to work put in my 8 hours, take the train home, eat dinner with my wife and two kids, watch some TV, read a book, go to bed and do it all over the next day.
I try to do what I can. I replaced my light bulbs with compact fluorescents, and now starting on LED lights. I ride my bike when I can, drive an efficient (mid sized) car, and take the train to work. I grow a garden and have even reduced the amount of meat I eat.
I have two kids who are as opposite as they can be. While both are girls, one is a bookworm, the other an athlete. One loves fresh vegies and fruits, the other only canned. One likes green, the other purple, one is Asian, the other isn’t. I worry about those kids every day. Did they get to school, gymnastics, music lessons, other after school activities and home? How am I going to pay for college, ensure my mortgage gets paid, what happens if the gymnast breaks an ankle? Oh, and don’t forget the aging parents - all 4 of the kids grandparents are still alive, and aging according to plan.
I try, I really do. I have a hard time buying organic foods when conventional are so much less expensive, and the nearby grocery store doesn’t stock much any way. I send money to environmental organizations, and they keep sending me renewal notices, and requests for more money.
But most of the time, the things I should be worrying about, there isn’t much I can do about - government spying, coups in foreign countries, the impending climate catastrophe, honey bee colony collapse, the next hurricane, tornado, oil spill, the next anti-abortion-union-busting-anti-voting-revoking-healthcare-regulation-eliminating-man/womon-marriage-only-tax-reducing-for-the-one-perctent-gun-toting-republican-scum bill.
I admire everyone who can worry about those things. I admire even more the people who do something about those things. I have family members who are environmental activists, gay marriage activists, medical professionals and government employees. You would think I would have skin in the game.
Yes, I know what many of you are going to say – you can do it – do something, anything. Write letters, donate money, plant a tree (I have, several in fact). Ok did you read those first couple paragraphs? I am trying to get through the day to day stuff. I go to demonstrations, when they don’t conflict with other things, like the music lessons, and gymnastics meets. And while my boss is pretty cool, it would not go over well to take off work to attend a protest.
I am the reason why the US government is slow to change. There are too many of people like me. And people who are really struggling to get through the day to day survival. Too many people content to continue the day to day stuff, or running the survival treadmill, to worry about the things we know we should change.
But I have proxies. People who are out there taking on challenges, making it to protests, singing in the capital, occupying wall street, and other places, lighting up the overpasses, lobbying their congress critters, setting up web sites that people can congregate to, setting up meetups and conventions, doing political art, making a difference – much more than I can. They run the organizations I subscribe to, they get arrested at protests, they make the difference I wish I could.
To those who are on the front lines, I salute you.
Update: 12 hours later - Recced? How did that happen? Cool, thanks.