For Middle-Aged Ladies and Others

You want to help? Here’s how you can help.

Theoretically, we still live in a democracy, as long, that is, as President Bunker doesn’t dismantle it entirely with his next selfish, idiotic move. Sure, our voting rights are in peril. Thus has it been since the vote began. Poll taxes. Stuffed boxes. Gerrymandering. Not to mention the Putin bots. But despite those who want to trip you up as you attempt to do your civic duty, voting is still a thing in this country.

I’m old and cynical but I still believe that it’s not impossible to get some good people where they ought to be. Maxine Waters? She won an election. AOC? Got voted in. Val Demings? People voted for her and she won. The system is screwed up but every once in a while it works. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Supreme Court Justice who isn’t white and isn’t a crime against nature? (That was a little dig at Clarence Thomas, you’re welcome.)

This is a little off the point, right here, but grass roots politics, in my experience, seems to be the purview of the middle-aged lady. I really hate this. It’s so sexist. It’s just gross. What, my time’s less valuable than yours, Mr. Fancy Pants? What, you’re too important to make the calls, knock the doors, tweet the tweets, Mr. Big League? But whatever. I can’t let your, what–fear of failure?—hamper me in my efforts to make a better society.

Because what feels like “failure” is very often the name of the game.

Right now, we make phone calls. Right now, months before the election, we make calls and a Huge Percentage of them don’t go through—changed numbers, people who moved out of state, that weird busy signal you get when things aren’t as they should be. It feels like a huge honking Failure, a total waste of time to make these calls.

But you know what?

It’s absolutely not.

What you are doing when you get that busy signal is helping to clean up the phone records in preparation for the Big Dance. Every single sorrythisnumberisnotinservice you hear means one less wasted stamp to pay for, one less wrong number for a volunteer to call when the Rubber Really Hits the Road. That’s what you’re doing! You are preparing the garden for the bulbs! You are defrosting the chicken for tonight’s supper! You are measuring twice so you only have to cut once! Every single damn Failed Phone Call you make should make you shout hurray!

This is all to say this: figure out how to sit in your house and use your cellular telephone (or landline) for the good of our democracy.  In NC, you can get in touch with Neighbors on Call (neighborsoncall.org) to find out how to do it. You can sit outside if you’re not afraid of mosquitoes. You can put your feet on your dog, or, alternatively, your dog can sit in your lap. You can drink responsibly. You can do one of those facial mask things. Whatever! It’s up to you!

But remember: you sitting in your chair? And making calls for the Democratic candidates who will address some of the systemic racist inequities in our government and our culture? That’s you doing something.

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