Years ago, a college professor explained he assigned term papers as writing was a very useful way to work on one’s thinking. I personally write numerous things daily from letters (not just emails but paper letters that are mailed from the post office), a journal, morning writing jots to get the day started, sometimes writing exercises with friends, items for work and, occasionally, the blog. But even with all this writing, I feel the state of the world is winning and often my thinking remains jumbled. So here I am writing with the hope to clarify what I need to do. Recently while on a trip to San Francisco, I was struck by the number of homeless people there and the dire situations. Perhaps it was coming from the northwest corner of Montana where due to the weather and the overall lack of concentrated population, there are few homeless individuals in the town where I live. While in the big city though, I was overwhelmed with not only the individuals living on the streets but the juxtaposition of their lives with the multi-million dollar homes and fancy shops. Yes, this is a political reality in our country as well as a political statement on my part.
Also some years ago, I thought it was possible to be apolitical. I had decided at that point (with the extreme naivete of youth) that teaching adult literacy classes was a useful occupation removed from the political arena. Of course I quickly came to understand that literacy is one of many basic needs determined by the political. I tried hard to teach not only literacy skills in those classes but an awareness for participation. We each need to act on our beliefs and values.
It can feel overwhelming with the media barrage and the daily list we wake up to, but it is essential to remember what is important and do something. To do something that will involve more than talking with like-minded friends or buying organic coffee. To make what I believe is important an item on that daily list, to start walking that talk.