Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The next right thing

So I was burned out. Perhaps I still am. I am less inclined today to post something clever and sarcastic and snarky about what the Republithugs are doing/planning/saying/fucking up and more inclined to see what difference I can make in my own world.

When I am jammed up and feeling blocked and paralyzed by fear/anger/frustration/etc., my recovery community tells me that the thing to do is the next right thing. I do not need to win the war today. I just need to do the next right thing in the long list of things that need to get done.

So this is it for me for today. I seem to be out of coherent words with which to rail against the powers that be, so tonight after work, I report myself to the local Democratic party office to volunteer. I'll do what needs doing, be it stuffing envelopes, assembling yard signs, data entry, whatever. They need bodies willing to help, and as far as I can see, that is the next right thing to do.

Volunteering tonight also brings me into better alignment with my own oft-repeated ideas about "put up or shut up." Often I complain that this campaign or that effort is not being run to my satisfaction. I don't help those campaigns, of course, which makes it easy to sit back and criticize. I don't like the person who is in charge of that group, so I don't join, no matter that 99 percent of what happens is of benefit to me or in support of things I support. No, I prefer to fancy myself superior and sit back and judge and be an ass. This year, in this election, there is no room for my ego or my judgment. The people running these things might not be doing it as I would, but so what? They're out there, working their asses off, doing the best they can. I'd say it was a safe bet to think that they do not lie awake nights thinking of new ways to piss me off. They've got far bigger and better things to do. So I suck up my ego and my attitude and offer to help. Even if that means cleaning the office coffeepot. Whatever needs doing. The next right thing.

Blogging is good, talking and making points and speaking the truth are good. But truly, up to this point, what have I done besides run my mouth? Not much. I made a donation once. It wasn't really very big. And I wasn't terribly gracious about it. I have been working lately with a woman who cannot vote (she is a French national, not a US citizen) but who has volunteered more at the local Democratic party office during this one election cycle than I have in years. My lack of effort is not something I am particularly proud of. She seems to care more about the politics of my country than I do. That puts me somewhere in the company of those losers who don't even vote. Ouch. That is not comfortable for me.

So now it is put up or shut up time in my world. It is time for me to do the next right thing, to show up and volunteer, and to put my body where my mouth has been these long months. Time to do the next right thing. Join me?


MRMacrum said...

I don't agree that what you have done or not done up to this point puts you even close to those losers who do not vote. There is a canyon wide divide between those who vote and those who don't. Just by voting, you are heads above the apathetic flounders who only whine.

Your activism is not in question by any who know you or have some idea of what makes you tick. Go out and volunteer. But don't feel guilty if you don't. You have obviously paid more dues than most of us.

toklas23 said...

loved. this. post.

Candace said...

Wow - what an inspirational post (and person) - awesomeness to infinity! :) I second what MrM said - don't feel guilty!!

1138 said...

A French woman in that part of Maine.
That's a brave woman, even before the "freedom fries" garbage this country has gotten into.
Please pass along my warm affections on to her. My father was an Islander from up your way that married a French American who caught hell from his relatives, I was of course not burdened by it but it gave me some of my earliest lessons in discrimination and bigotry.

Working for what you believe in is always the next right/logical step.
If no one else ever pats you on the back for it, you know that you did what was right and that's all that counts.