Wednesday, November 5, 2008
A big step on a long road
There was no dancing in the street in my neighborhood last night. Judging by the lack of political signs in yards I suspect that very few people stayed up to follow the election results. (I didn't, but I did check the news at 1:30 when I got up to stoke the fire.) Here where long time farm families intersect with blue collar steel and power plant workers politics is all local. The divisiveness of our two party system gets in the way of local solutions, and people get past it in a hurry. Even touchy issues, like "Right to Life" vs "Right to Choose" get all gray and fuzzy when it is your own kids, or their friends from school. A big local issue for us was the funding of a new jail. The fiscally conservative Republican County Commissioners tried to push a new tax through to fund the jail by threatening to take the money from programs like 4H if the tax didn't pass. It didn't pass. They will have to find the money somewhere, but they won't cut 4H or other youth programs to do it. There are too many people in the community who are passionate about those programs to allow them to be cut. In a week the parties will be fractured into little niche groups working on their own agendas, using the community resources available to them, and contributing to the strength of the community as a whole. In nature, strong communities are increasingly diverse. Each little group feeding off the waste and excess of the others, and contributing its own strength back to the community. Equilibrium is a sign of health. No one group is ascendant over the others. If that happens the community crashes and dies. As we start on the journey of Hope we have begun with this first step, lets keep diversity not party politics as our model. If we do, we just might succeed.