#OTR50 Day 119: Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

My parents instilled in me from my youth the importance of being part of the political process. That in order to be part of a democracy, one must participate. Voting is just a very small part of the process. It’s important. It separates the spectators from the participants.

For most of my twenties I was a full-time political activist. I lived and breathed social and political thought. I argued. I fought. I spent my work time and my free time on the issues that drove my soul.

The needle moved a bit. Very slowly, but it moved.

And then I got to a point where I just wanted something different than the constant struggling to both make change happen in a system built to slow change down . . . and doing so while barely scraping by – living paycheck to paycheck while racking up immense debt.

It was a wonderful time in so many ways, but it also wrecked politics for me for about a decade.

Eventually, the political spirit began to stir again and I did some volunteer activism in the early 2000s when the kids were really little.

Then again on a few issues over the past two decades.

This election season, I’m feeling simply overwhelmed. I would like to see a massive change in US leadership far more than I can express here. But I can’t see my way to clear to a single candidate that I’m ready to rally behind.

I’d really love for this country in which I live to break free from the two party system into something more rational than voting based on wanting to ensure someone else loses.

Because that’s how I feel in my gut. I’d like to feel more.

I do really like some of the Trump Opposition.

However, I’d also like the entire process not to feel like it has more in-fighting than inspiration.

I want to feel inspired like I did in my youth.

I want to feel inspired like I did when Obama was running.

I want Democracy to be more than a Spectator Sport. I want to be inspired to go beyond just a fan who cheers. I want to be inspired to canvass, to drive for Get Out the Vote campaigns.

But instead, I sit at home and listen to the news in frustration. I know the pendulum swings. I’d like it to swing a bit faster and harder. . . and then slow down again for a while.

246 Days to go.

© Randi Sumner

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