Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Musings--the Small Things

note: Smarty Pants posts are my regular thoughts on current events. To read more, click "smarty pants" under "check it out" in the sidebar. 

I hit the poles this morning, and proudly sported my "I Voted" sticker to the store afterward (until it blew off my jacket somewhere in the parking lot).  Boy will I be glad to have the television campaigns and the endless phone calls to my house come to an end!

Of course, the end of the election is hardly an end at all.  Rather, it is just the beginning.  I hope like everyone that the next Administration and Congress will bring some successful creativity to the economy, energy and food policy, and international relations.  But at the same time, I hope that we don't get too comfortable letting the Washington Big Wigs forge all of our remedies for us.  Why?  Because I think that some problems (well, most really) are better tackled in our neighborhoods and communities than they are in the federal government.  The creativity on the "ground level" is more nimble, more flexible, more practical, less compromised by special interests and money, and (in my opinion) more effective.

So as I cast my votes for the Big Wigs, I couldn't help but think about all the smaller things that are truly more inspiring and interesting to me during the day-to-day.  Like micro-business (Etsy, etc.), and eating locally, and conserving/repurposing resources, and being prepared for emergencies, and building strong neighborhood connections, and caring for the poor, and spending time with our kids, and making more stuff instead of buying more stuff, and so on and so on...

Of course, federal and state policy can be Helper or Foe to these "smaller things," but in the end, they can't ruin them or make them successful.  Only we can do that.

I confess that I'm not so great at doing a lot of the things on that list.  I don't even really know my neighbors.  But I hope to improve.  And though I appreciate the value of my "civic contribution" today as I voted, my true civic contribution involves a whole lot more time, effort and heart.

What "smaller things" do you care about?  Email me your comments at shillberry@comcast.net or post them here.  And of course, if you haven't already--GO VOTE!

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