Look Around, Look Around
… at how lucky we are to be alive right now.
Truly, we are lucky. Because half a million people around the world have died from COVID, and the end is nowhere in sight. Because most of us reading this and definitely the person writing this lives in a house with air conditioning and Disney+, more devices than people, and a second fridge in the garage (it sometimes freezes things if you put them in the wrong spot) with plenty of food and, more importantly, wine. Because Delaware is letting us all vote by mail this election season, which means there should be no barriers to making our voices heard. Because this week we celebrated yet another year of our uniquely American Independence, warts and all.
What are we really celebrating? Oceans rise, empires fall. Hamilton reminded us - if we were lucky enough to see it on stage or in our living rooms or both - that the peaceful transition of power is a thing worth admiring, worth celebrating, and worth fighting for. It feels like America is fighting for so much right now … but Hamilton reminded us that we’ve been fighting forever, for freedom, justice, equality, liberty. Just like our country, we’re young, scrappy, and hungry. 224 years after the first peaceful transition of power, we’re facing an election season unlike any in my memory. What will they sing about 2020 in another 224 years? We can only wonder.
Wonder, and work, work - by involving ourselves in the process in ways we never have before. Want to dip your toes in the water? Follow your elected officials - and their opponents! - on social media. Like a post when you feel like it speaks to you. Read from both the people you agree with, and those you don’t. Want to get fully immersed? Share your views with your network, and make new connections with those who share your values. Going all in? Volunteer for a campaign. Make a financial gift of any size (yes, $5 matters) to the campaigns you want to support. Show up for the virtual fundraisers and friendraisers hosted by advocacy groups supporting issues that matter to you.
Politics not your thing? Try your local school board. Put yourself to work for your school’s PTA or your local swim/ball/gaming club, volunteer for the book fair, organize a neighborhood food drive or clothing drive. Pull a weed in a public place, or participate in a local clean up effort. Always always always leave a place better than you found it.
Getting involved is not easy, but it’s rewarding all the time. It’s how you find yourself in the room where it happens, and it’s how we work together for the greater good.
Let’s rise up, together. Let’s not throw away our shot.
*with thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda for his brilliance.