What you Need To Know

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

What's Next?

Now that the Election is almost over (sigh!) it is time to start thinking about what is next. I know, I know, everyone is exhausted. But we really don't have time to rest on our haunches because now the real heavy lifting begins in earnest.

For all of us who voted for Obama - whether he was our first choice or the lesser of two evils - we need to hold his feet to the fire, push him in a more progressive direction, and demand transparency in his administration. He has said that he needs us to help, and promised to be open and accountable - so let's make it happen.

For everyone who voted for McCain/Palin...sorry this was not your year. But we welcome you to join with us to help. We have so much work to do to get this country back on the right track and we need you too.

What we can do: Take a couple of days off to relax and do some thinking. Then pick one or possibly two progressive issues that you feel very strongly about. Find a group that is already working on that issue and join up. Get involved - as involved as you have been in the campaign. Donate, write letters, make phone calls, not just to your congresscritters but to your friends and neighbors too. Urge them to write and call as well. Most of the agenda will not be accomplished in the White House, but in the halls of Congress so this is the focus for the most part.

All politics is local. Don't forget that this agenda needs to be pushed at the state and local level as well. If the group you support is working at the national level, find out if there are state affiliates as well and join them too. Find out if your city or county government policies resonate with you and if not, get involved at the local level. Attend city councils or county board meetings that pertain to your issue. Research what is going on nationally, and push those issues for your community.

Finally, everything is also personal. Whatever the issue, there is always personal responsibility too. If your issue is war and peace, remember that the best way for peace to break out all over is for each one of us to become truly peaceful persons. No matter what the issue, there is room for improvement in our own lives.

Financial stuff is going to be difficult in the months and possibly for a few years ahead. Learn to live with less. Find joy in simple living, thoughtful purchasing, back to self-sufficiency where ever we can. Paying off our debts and learn to live within our means will help reduce stress for everyone. Buy locally, learn to live with the seasons, get to know your neighbors, join a barter co-op, find new ways to share and cooperate with others.

Back when I lived in California and was going to college (again!) my biology teacher had us all do a paper to see if a large natural disaster happened and the highways were blocked, the electrical grid was down, and emergency services were unavailble, how would we live - and for how long could we sustain ourselves? It was a really good exercise and I suggest that we all look around our homes and see just what resources we already have available. Then take stock and see what you would need to round out the existing supplies and make a plan to add those necessary items to allow survival for more than a day or two.

We can get back to a place where we all look out for one another - another thing that made this country a great place to live, and something we have forgotten over the course of the past few years.

Here's to real communities of people who care!

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