Thursday, November 6, 2014

Missed Opportunities

"Appreciate the democratic process!," I screamed out of frustration to my used-to-be-a-tween-but-now-a-teen son.  "Isn't this amazing?"

He rolled his eyes at my enthusiasm.  I mean I sort of understood that parts of the process weren't that amazing.  At that particular moment we were standing in the cold rain going door to door in a neighborhood full of strangers and reminding people to vote. 

But honestly, despite the puddles and the constant, cold drizzle, I was still amazed.  I can't help it, I think the process is fascinating.

After every election, no matter the results, I am filled with enthusiasm for the process coupled with frustration for people that don't get it.  I want to scream "appreciate the democratic process!" at all the people that don't volunteer and/or don't vote.  People that passively sit back and watch elections, and life, happen.  I can't wrap my head around it.  How? Why? 

This past Wednesday, I asked my kids if their teachers talked about the election results and both my elementary school age kids said no. No?!  It was a gubernatorial election in our state, it was a big deal and they didn't even mention it?  I am dumbfounded.  

Missed opportunities--that is the fallout of elections and this year's midterms.  Missed opportunities to get in involved, to teach, to learn, to build community, to connect, to make a difference.

I love getting involved and rolling up my sleeves and doing something.  There is an energy to being a part of a group, a community working together for a common goal.  There is a respect among fellow volunteers--there's a fist bump of solidarity at the campaign office, a nod and a knowing glance when you meet a fellow canvasser.  There is so much to learn from all of it--how the polling works, why canvassing and going door to door is important; and so much to learn about people and our neighbors and even ourselves.

As I walked through the rain with my kids during the 11th hour on election day this week, I was confronted with my own prejudices.  We were in a neighborhood that had abandoned homes and homes with families living in them but no glass in the windows.  We were in a neighborhood in a town right next to ours.  At first, I was afraid and uncomfortable.  I wanted to just leave a flyer on a couple doorsteps and get out of there.  But I didn't want to expose my thoughts to my kids, so we did what the volunteer coordinator told us to do.  We knocked on doors.  And we met some very nice people.  People greeted us with smiles and talked to us about the weather and the election.  JT walked up and knocked on the doors and rang the doorbells and wasn't afraid...he hadn't prejudged like I had.  

Watching the results later that night, I was sad that a few of my candidates lost.  But I felt like I had won so much--time with my kids, insight and inspiration from them, solidarity with new friends, admiration of people who devote their lives to service and put themselves out there to run for office, and a desire to help all those nice people I met have better, safer neighborhoods.

So, I will keep screaming to appreciate the democratic process.  I will keep screaming to get involved in elections, and in life.  You don't have to be angry and debate or even go door to door if that makes you extremely just have to do something, start now.  

My rowdy crew of volunteers having a little fun in the rain.


  1. Reminds me of Matthew West's song," Do Something."

  2. You know I think you're amazing :)

    1. Thank you! I appreciate it so much because I feel so unamazing most of the time.

  3. You are such a freaking inspiration. I didn't talk to my kids about the election at all. I'm terrible at explaining things. But I did go out and vote, and even though I'm terribly disappointed in the way Texas voted this election, I know that I need to continue to do my part.

    1. I am totally into politics and always have been. If I didn't have a blog maybe I could've run for office....but you know, everything is out there now. Lol. Voting is huge! You are doing your part. You are doing something. And yeah, Texas, what? I wasn't happy either. But we just keep on keepin on.