by: Betsy Merena
Obviously I'm interested in politics, all of us here at Purple Elephant Politics are. And I know that one necessary side effect of politics is debate. Arguments and disagreements, varying opinions and opposing ideas are all supposed to bring us to a compromise, a middle road, a happy medium.
HA. Yeah right. It seems like these days, debates just end up polarizing the political leaders, widening the casm between the parties and causing anger and hostility between voters on both sides of the isle. So much time, energy and effort are wasted. And this is the part of politics that is so disheartening to me.
Would you indulge me in a bit of idealism for a few paragraphs?
What if everybody just shut up for a year? Like, I mean I don't want to hear another politician or political organization, or party leader talk about, radio show about or give an interview about a social or humanitarian issue for one whole year.
Instead, what if all those hours of debates, all the money spent on commercials and public service announcements, all the engery organizations use to talk (read: scream and protest) about their issues went towards actually acting on the problems?
What would happen if we all stopped complaining, stopped talking about the issues, and just did what we could to change things? It can seem overwhelming, just being one person, trying to face a whole world full of problems, but pick one thing you care about and do something to change it.
Last year I traveled to India for a few weeks to join the fight against human trafficking and spent time working with children in the slums. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was so fulfilling to focus on helping someone else through their struggles rather than wallow in the little things bother me. I may not have changed thousands of lives... I didn't even change the whole slum. But I know I impacted a handful of kids and their families. And their worlds, and mine, were changed.
This year, since I can't afford to travel abroad, I am joining the TOMS One Day Without Shoes movement. I'm organizing an event and a shoe drive at the preschool where I work. The website has a tool kit for anyone who wants to get involved... it's as easy as downloading, printing and taking off your shoes.
Getting involved and effecting change isn't as hard as it sounds. Partner with something that's already happening, like the TOMS movemement or your local Relay for Life event. Volunteer for the non-profit you already give money to.
I know it sounds cheesy. I know it probably will never happen. But, hey, even conservatives can dream about world peace and ending global hunger, right? I would be so interested to know how much could actually be accomplished, how much we wouldn't need to debate about anymore, if everyone just shut up and got involved.