Finding Focus

For some time now, I’ve felt a desire to be more involved in some way with the community I live in. I’m not sure if that community is the street I live on, the city I’m in, the state I grew up in, or the entire country or world as a whole.

I’m fairly burnt out from this election cycle (which starts extremely early in Iowa), and quite disillusioned with how unprepared, mismanaged, and unbalanced the caucuses seemed. I’m ready for it to be over with, but that hasn’t made me care any less about the issues. There are so many things brought up to compare and contrast candidates through the primary/caucusing process, and then the months of the final few battling it out, it’s overwhelming. Frankly, there’s just too much to care about. It’s easy to feel defeated and hopeless when the candidate you most align with gets knocked out of the race.

What I have realized though, is trying to focus on so many different things pretty much guarantees that not much of anything will get done. So while I might feel strongly about many things, there’s simply just not enough time (or energy) to put into them all and be able to make any difference. This combined with social media “likes” and sharing articles, I think gives the false impression that we’re actually taking action when actually nothing gets done. It’s much like with my personal creative and professional goals, spending too much time thinking about what I want to do can give me the impression that I’ve actually done something. All the thought and planning in the world means nothing if there’s no action.

So that’s why I’ve decided I need to find a small handful of issues, or even just one, that I can focus on and work to make a difference. I’m not likely to get our country’s health care system to move to a single-payer system, so that one is out (although I think it’s inevitable). I’m not likely to have much influence on our country’s war policy, either. But I do see opportunity to make a difference in some more locally based issues.

Education and the environment are two things I’ve always cared quite a bit about, and more recently food and health. Especially as my son gets older and down the road starts into the school system, these are all things that will have a big impact on his life – and mine. Even just within these couple broad topics, there are many different specifics to focus on. Water quality has been a big issue springing up in Iowa lately. It effects us not only locally, but also downstream all the way to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. That in and of itself is a hugely complex issue.

So my first step?

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Making vegan muffins and cinnamon rolls. I believe a more plant-based diet will not only be healthier (not that starting with muffins and cinnamon rolls is healthy), but is also generally much better for the environment and reduces animal suffrage. Maybe next I can find time to go to a city planning meeting or find some way to volunteer my skills in a local project. I’m ready to stop being overwhelmed and disenfranchised, after all – you can’t “fight” the power if you’re not showing up to “fight”. In the words of the Jurassic 5, “… if you wanna fight the power, get the power to fight.” And for me, the power might start with just a muffin.

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Why I Support Bernie Sanders Part II: Equal Rights and Ending Discrimination

I feel very strongly that the United States of America is, and should always be, a place for people of all colors and creeds, and that all people deserve to have the same rights. Our diversity is a major part of what makes this country great. The government should be ensuring that all people have equal opportunity and that no one person or group of people are denied any of their rights.

The reason for making sure everyone truly has equal rights is simple — and somewhat selfish. If being denied rights can happen to one group of people, it can happen to you.

The truth is that right now (and in the past) in our country you cannot be more privileged than to be born white, male, and Christian. You will not be pulled over for “driving while white.” You will not be paid less for your work than equally qualified peers because you are a woman. And you will certainly not fear for the safety of your family because of your religious beliefs due to the fearful, hateful, and divisional rhetoric from many of our nation’s leaders.

Unfortunately, still today we have many people and politicians who try to make and keep discriminatory laws. There are leading presidential candidates that have called for banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., even those who are already citizens but are temporarily out of the country. There has even been a suggestion that a national registry be created of all Muslims in America, which sounds eerily close to Nazi Germany.

There are many people who have tried to force their religious definition of marriage on everyone else in the country. Either denying the fact that homosexuality exists naturally in this world or not caring that a loving, devoted gay couple might be denied being together in a hospital room to make end of life decisions if one partner is ill.

And despite the civil rights movement, the black community in America is still feeling the legacy of slavery in our country. While outright racism and jim crow laws may no longer be the norm, the black community have had to start from behind on a social, economic and educational level.

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The reasons I feel that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to fight for equal rights among all citizens is because his entire life he has consistently fought for the rights of those who are discriminated against, even when it wasn’t politically correct to do so.

  • Bernie was there during the civil rights movement and marched alongside Dr. King.
  • Bernie was for gay rights, decades before marriage for same-sex couples was allowed. As mayor of Burlington, VT he signed a city ordinance banning housing discrimination and in 1983 supported the city’s first Pride Parade.
  • He advocates for election day to be a national holiday to make voting easier for poor and working Americans who would otherwise have a difficult time making it to the polls while working.
  • He supports measures to end the gender pay gap and has stood up for women’s rights.
  • He has a lifetime perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign.
  • His supporters are a diverse group of people, of all ages, races and religions.

As president, I believe he will work harder than any other candidate to guarantee every single American is granted equal rights, and that is a major reason why I support Bernie Sanders for president.