Thursday, January 08, 2009

On Joining New Clubs

Last night I went to a local political club meeting that I joined back when I first started volunteering for the Obama campaign. I only know a couple people because most of the people who I volunteered with weren't really members but were mainly hanging around because we all had a common goal. Now that the election is over, everyone's back to regular routine and I don't imagine I'll see any of those volunteers until next election. (I've already made a commitment to help out with the next Governor race so I hope I can get a few of them on the trail with me) I didn't go to our last meeting which was actually a Christmas Party because at the time I wasn't feeling well. So I imagine the couple people I did actually know didn't expect to see me back. I figured this out when everyone commented on my youth. I'm not a freshly hatched chickadee, I turned 32 last July but these people acted like I was some kind of toddler. I suppose they were shocked because I am the only routine member under 60 minus a handful of 40 and 50somethings. Their delight at a younger face makes me a little sad because it tells me that my peers didn't really get the message. We are on the eve of a huge celebration this January 20th. But when the confetti is swept away, were we all just expecting some kind of magic wand? Poof, the economy is fixed. Zap, everything's wonderful again. Obviously I'm not delusional or expecting any miracles but what happened to the euphoria and the yes we did and let's change this country, we were all feeling on November 5? Everyone said, oh I feel changed, I'm going to do more! Where the hell were they last night? I don't even want to hear busy, most of these people were independently wealthy enough to avoid the financial crisis going on and like me, have the freedom of time. I see their pictures in our local newspaper in the society sections. I guess this isn't glamorous enough..... Last year when I went to get a new driver liscence and reregister to vote, the man standing behind called me a Lexus Liberal. Well, his exact words were, "Yer, one-a-them Lexus Librulls, aintchuh?" I was dumbfounded and said,"I don't know what that is, I've never owned a Lexus." (I can't afford an effing Lexus!) He laughed at me. He was a jerk anyway but I never understood what he meant. I do now.

I think I was feeling down because the speakers who came to talk to us were from local homeless shelters, food banks and emergency residence aid workers. Listening to them speak, I thought about how the people who utilise these places are not nameless faceless people. One of my neighbors told me that recently, she lost her job as a nurse(A NURSE-I thought there was nationwide shortage of nurses?) and that if not for the local food bank, she and her husband, who works at a GROCERY STORE of all places, wouldn't have known what to do or where to go. And the thought of my own sister, who is recently divorced thousands of miles from any family, with three young children, now works 2 jobs and is having a difficult time making ends meet brings it even closer to home. Out of sight, out of mind no more.

I mentioned how disappointed I was at not seeing anyone from our campaign volunteer group to the only former canvassing partner of mine who showed. She said something to me that I'd heard before but this time it didn't sound like an "Oprah-ism." She said not to dwell on who's not here or what other people aren't doing. I should focus on what I would do, what we could do together. Even if it were the smallest of things, we can't save the world, that's impossible but we can find one thing we care about and do what we can. For some reason the one thing that struck me the most was the speaker from the food bank telling us that if we'd like to donate children's clothing not forget to buy underwear because they are really short on underwear. I said to myself, I gotta do something about that. We both made plans to get together and try to get a list of people we could call who wanted to chip in with us to buy some damn underwear at least twice a year. I didn't grow up anywhere near privilege, my dad was in the military. But my gosh we had underwear. I mean, I'm joking about it now but that really really bothered me.

On a lighter(spiritual) note I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the church I recently started attending after years of refusing to step foot in any church(minus once for my nephew's baptism), was deeply involved in the food bank and free clinic I was thinking about volunteering for. They are both only a couple miles away. I've been sort of contemplating whether or not I wanted to become permanent member because I have a lot of unpleasant personal feelings towards church and organised religion that I don't like talking about. (I grew up in a RELIGIOUS home and have always been spiritual but not religious anymore.) That sort of sealed it for me though. If I was slightly leaning towards this church before last night, I'm definitely leaning heavily now. We'll see....

10 comments:

justme said...

i think that your observations are SO right on. people seem to have lost the fervor that they had during the election and the passion about change. it's almost like new year's resolutions...they're only important for the time near January or something. THAT is why things never change.

marymurtz said...

Great post!!! You hit it on the nailhead.

justme said...

pea, go to this link. good news on the animals let go!!!

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_11407756?source=rss

LittlePea said...

Oh good article!

hele said...

I love the bit of doing what we can instead of worrying about what we can't change.

It inspires me to make the small steps I need to.

Maurey said...

Good for you for getting and remaining so involved. It's up to people like us to make sure the change train chugs along.

(I still get the toddler stuff, too.)

Mariposa said...

Bless you for having a kind heart! And true, the underwear thingy may sound funny but, gosh, if we think about it, oh my!

I am also busying myself with helping children...and glad to know we are on the same page with that! :)

I wish you good health and all the success, and may God continue to bless you and use you to help others.

(((HUGS)))

Laurie said...

I prefer disorganized religion.

LittlePea said...

Haha! I think most people do. I miss the singing though. Plus I found a place I really love-that's never happened before.

Cold Spaghetti said...

Good for you for going for the underwear... what people need... and not just the random donations that sort of say more about what you don't need. (Sort of a pet peeve of mine!)

I often wonder if more folks would volunteer more for these types of things if they were more family friendly... if volunteering was something families could do together, if folks would chip in and be a community of people of all ages working together... maybe it would be more than college kids and retirees setting up campaigns.