So - after a long day at work and taking care of my family, I was changing the sheets on our bed, and WHACK - slammed my knuckles into the headboard, hard. One knuckle did not fair so well, and ended up bleeding through 2 bandages before stopping.
Since then, I have probably hit & re-injured that SAME knuckle about 10 times, each time cursing at myself for not thinking. It really makes you think about how sometimes it takes getting injured to realize how often you do things (like hit your knuckles) each day.
This brings me to Civic Action. How? Where is the parallel?
Each day, our world, our state, our town, even our smaller communities and homes are faced with struggles, trials, situations - ranging the gambit of difficulty & seriousness in nature. But MOST times, we let them slide - and the farther removed from them we are on a daily basis we are, the easier it is to let them slide, and sometimes even pretend they are happening, ignore them, and become ignorant to the fact that they are even happening.
Then something happens. Like hitting your knuckles on the bed, and re-opening them over and over - it takes the hit to remind you of things that are happening everyday that you don't think about.
Like Newtown. It takes the large scale tragedy to REMIND us of things that happen everyday. Not of the same magnitude of the the large scale tragedy those poor students & teachers and their families suffered, but there nonetheless.
Everyday there are murders - with or without guns involved in our urban areas. Everyday there are people with varying stages of mental health illnesses walking the streets & attending schools without any form of assistance, or the right assistance for them. Everyday there are student graduating from OUR without the proper level of education to allow them to be a functioning adult in a job, technical program, or college. Everyday these same students can not find a job, go on welfare, or sponge of their parents, and drain the system. Everyday we continue to use products, resources, etc that cause the environment to suffer, and global warming to continue to worsen. This list could go on and on... with varying degrees of seriousness. I am not trying to answer all the worlds questions in this post.
The point I AM trying to make is, what are YOU doing about it? Turning a blind eye? Thinking, someone else will fix it. It's not my problem, I have no control over it. That's what we have elected officials for, and/or "I didn't vote for them" - did you even vote?
There has been such a DRAMATIC and DRASTIC shift in social responsibility & consciousness from where it was years ago. Years ago, people formed groups and met to discuss issues that were effecting all of us. They worked together, and sometimes arguments and disagreements arouse - but the common denominator was there - they CARED about the outcome.
Today - there are SO many that simply do not care, that have become ignorant drones thinking it isn't there problem, and then there are others who simply don't know what do do about it or where to go.
Until recently I can tell you that I was, in a way, one of those people. Not that I didn't CARE, but that I didn't know what civic groups (still) existed. Then, I stumbled upon - not because I thought they sounded interesting, or really even knew what they did, the League of Women Voters.
My best friend had become involved with the LWV in college, and attended a meeting here of there. She invited me to go. I thought in my mind - oh, this is going to be a group of older women coming together and chatting, that register people to vote or sit at the polls when people DO vote. Boy - was I wrong.
Since I have joined the League, my eyes have been opened, and I can't thank them enough. So WHAT then is the league if not a group of older women coming together to chat as they have done for years? Officially - We are an organization of WOMEN & MEN of all ages & demographics. We work to increase understanding of major public policy issues & influence policy through education and advocacy. We do not support or oppose political candidates.
But we are oh so much more than the technical terms & political jargon.
We are about Civic action & responsibility. We hold events, such as our recent Breakfast with the Legislators. I truly wish everyone reading this could have attended. Even if you did or didn't vote for our elected officials (Senators & State Reps) whom attended the event, it allowed you the opportunity to REALLY know and learn what exactly is happening in 2013, what the hot topics are, and what the legislators are planning to do about the issues. It allowed you the opportunity to ask questions, become better informed, and not be that ignorant or even cynical person with no basis to claims. It was a wonderful event.
We also hold conferences in the fall & spring to discuss and educate people on hot topics. This fall the conference was on "Food Day" - and talked about sustainable food resources, organic, homegrown food, obesity crises, and various other hot buttons in the food spectrum today. The spring conference will mirror that concept, but will be focused on water.
We do register voters as well, but that is only ONE of the things we do, and after all the other topics are addressed - it is one of the most important, because AFTER you awaken and educate yourself, then you should want to (and feel comfortable to) go out and VOTE!
We also do various other community based initiatives throughout the year - but most importantly we get together, we talk & discuss issues, we work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, influence policy through education and advocacy, and encourage informed & active participation in government.
The LWV of Connecticut consists of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut Education Fund, which sponsors activities to help Connecticut voters become better informed on current issues and active participants in government, and the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, which takes action by advocating for public policies supported by our members.
We work for good government at local, state and national levels.
SO - in conclusion (and I know this was long) - Open your eyes, take responsibility for who we are as people, we are all interconnected, and are all responsible for what happens to society. Let's take that responsibility before we fall, or bruise our knuckles!
If you are interesting in learning more, or joining the LWV - please let me know - or visit us at www.facebook.com/LWVHamdenNorthHaven. We would love to have you - but at most just open your eyes, mind and heart to society!