Really, I’m just a stay-at-home-mom, who likes to write in her spare time and watch cheesy romantic comedies on Netflix. I go to Church, serve, and try to do my best. Most days my kids eat me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I’m actually ok with that, because that’s what I signed up for. I follow the news, the issues and try to stay informed. I vote, write letters to the editor, my congressman and city councilors.
But then a few months ago, I found myself standing at a “line in the sand”. My line in the sand. And like Rev Tevya I couldn’t be bent any more without breaking. The particular issue is not important for this post, but I decided to get involved. In a matter of weeks, I found myself starting and managing a social media campaign about this issue, inviting people to join, researching, reading, writing about this issue, attending City Council meetings, and trying to find people willing to get involved.
Every morning I wake up and ask myself, “Is this really worth my time? Should I be doing this?” Because it is time consuming and it is taking me away from the things that I really want to do. But it’s still important. I’ve also searched my memory of my own past civic involvement and wondered how many times did I just “like” something on Facebook, but neglected to get involved past that meaningless push of a button. How many times have I left others to do the foot work for something that was really important to me?
As I’ve gone to meetings and seen the process of municipal government play out, I have been amazed by the process and the procedure. It moves slowly, but I think that might be good thing over all. That way we really make sure the things we do in our government have time to be studied and debated. The ironic thing in all of this process is that I taught high school government for years before I left teaching to have my family. I always gave extra credit to my students for going to City Council meetings and the like. I never went to one myself. Talk about life as a hashtag: #hypocrite #irony #badteacher.
I’ve actually felt pressed to repent for not being more aware and involved. As I’ve become involved, I have gained a testimony of the letter which is read in Sacrament Meetings near election times, “As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens…” Yes, participation in the political process does affect our community, and it is important to get involved past voting, past putting a sign in your yard, and definitely past clicking the “like” button on Facebook.
How will I be more civically involved after this issue has resolved? I will actively monitor the goings on of my local government by reading the agendas of the various committees, board and councils. I will attend those meetings and make informed public comments when something is important to me. I will continue to read the City Council agendas, watch the meetings online and go to them in person. I will become more involved in my political party of choice and encourage others to become involved as well. I remember a poem on the fridge at my Grandmother’s house growing up, it said, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” Wise words from a magnet on the fridge. We all have obligations to ourselves and families, but we also have the obligation as Latter-day Saints to be involved in the civic process. Get involved and make a difference in your town.