Hallelujah Highway

Celebrating the Journey

Be About It ~ Rae*

on November 5, 2012

*Yes, it’s technically Dana’s turn. But she is 38 1/2 weeks pregnant and she just moved into a new house. She has a few things on her plate. She asks for your patience and your prayers as her family prepares to bring Baby Girl into this world. She’ll be back!

I am so over the elections. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE America, I LOVE Democracy, and I ALWAYS vote. I believe strongly in our political process and am grateful beyond belief to be alive during this time and in this country. And of course, I am anxious to see who our president will be.

On the other hand, I am over all the ranting and raving, especially from people I know on Facebook. You know me—the PAQ—and I am not one to argue, but I have been sorely tempted over the last few weeks to “hide” some Facebook friends’ feeds from my view, so I didn’t have to see any more of their political posts. Of course (being a PAQ), this is an ideal solution since no one would know if I hid them or not. It doesn’t even matter if the posts are from my Republican friends or my Democrat friends; much of what gets posted is usually mean spirited and angry: “Obama is a liar” or “Romney is an idiot”. I can’t stand the quarrelsomeness of it. Then after the election I could then unhide them and we could all return to harmless, meaningless Facebooking—as God intended it.

Honestly, if you did post something to that effect did you really think others were going to read it and say “By Golly! You are right. I am now changing everything I previously thought and voted for in the past”? Has ONE of these rants ever changed another person’s point of view???? I guess I am just being pessimistic and think that most of us made up our minds a long time ago. Maybe some people enjoy the “Debate” aspect of it, which to a PAQ just feels like pointless arguing; or maybe others feel like Facebook gives them the ability to be heard on a topic they feel strongly about?

The beauty of America is you can believe whatever you want, and so can I.  And I will never begrudge you the fact that you believe differently than me, nor will I hate you or not associate with you (unless you are a neo-Nazi—then I am out) if you feel contrarily to me on any topic like abortion, death penalty, gay rights, taxes, immigration, education etc. You were given the right by our forefathers to vote as you see fit.

But I guess that is where the problem comes in. Maybe voting doesn’t seem like it’s enough. Perhaps that’s why there is ranting and raving, because sometimes it feels like voting privately is so passive. Most of the country doesn’t even vote and for those of us who do, it’s only every few years that big elections occur. So what do we do after the vote is cast? Wait until the next election?  Argue some more? Protest? Rant and rave on Facebook?

My daughter had to turn in an essay recently on the character trait of “caring”. She had to define it and give examples of what it means to be a caring person. She used her recent community service at a convalescent home to explain how true caring can be shown when helping strangers. The lesson she learned is that even though she set out to help others, the real person she ended up helping the most was herself. I read her essay last week before she turned it in and realized my 13 year old daughter had just shown me the piece that my political point of view was lacking: ACTION.

If I “care” about something, I can talk about it or post about it until I am blue in the face. But what am I doing about it? My vote is important but it will only take me so far. Donating time in my own community will give me IMMEDIATE results and long lasting dividends. This is my challenge to you, my beloved Ranters and Ravers: If you feel strongly about an issue, what action can you participate in locally to show it? If abortion is your concern are you volunteering at either an orphanage or a family planning center? Are you willing to be a foster parent? If you are passionate about abused women and children are you donating any time or resources to local shelters? If you worry about the environment, have you cleaned up any parks? Are you participating in cancer walks? Could you be a pen pal to an inmate? Do you have time to be a teacher’s aide in a local classroom in which your own child is not a student? Will you serve food at a homeless shelter?  Are you willing to DO something? Have you done something CARING for others that may not directly benefit you? Look around—there are people and places everywhere that could use your actions more than your words.

One of my favorite short stories in sophomore English Language Arts is “Everyday Use” by Alice Walker. It is the story of an African-American mother and her 2 daughters living in the south during the 1960s.  The climax of the story centers around a family quilt. One daughter wants to take the quilt and hang it on her wall as a symbol of her heritage and what her family has been through. However, the mother planned to give the quilt to the younger daughter as a wedding present. The older daughter is angry because the younger sister will use the quilt every day and eventually the quilt will fall apart.  The key line of the story comes in when the mother retorts, “She can always make some more…Maggie knows how to quilt.” The younger daughter not only knew the value of the quilt itself, but she also learned from her mother and grandmother how to quilt. The older daughter had always scorned the menial tasks of the family, yet now wanted to put items on display to show where she came from.   The moral of the story that my 10th graders came up with is, “Don’t talk about it, be about it”. In other words, don’t hang your beliefs upon a wall (Facebook, blog, or otherwise) to be looked at, make sure you are living your beliefs—EVERY DAY.

This is hard for a PAQ. It is easier to hide behind Facebook and the anonymity of a blog. Easy for me to preach right? And we are all busy. I know. I have 2 kids, a full time job, and an addiction to Pinterest. BUT I also know that my number one political issue is Education—that’s why I became a teacher.  I believe that education is the great equalizer in society. So I am going to volunteer at my local library once every other week to help kids with homework or reading issues. I want to live up to my daughter’s example.

So I hope you remember 2 things after reading this: 1. Vote 2. Care

Don’t talk about it, be about it.


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