Anything Is Better Than Nothing
The 2016 election shattered my view of humanity. People I love and respect were fighting against the very principles they had taught me to espouse. I felt outnumbered by friends who said they were conservative but were putting the Republican Party over those values. What was happening in this country I love?
My initial reaction was to duck back out of politics, shutting out the insanity. I spent a few weeks in shock and mild despondency. One day I was staring at a sign in my room that says, “BElieve in THE GOOD IN THE WORLD.” It sunk deep. Avoidance is a poor coping mechanism, not a plan. Rather than continue my pity party, I poured my freetime into humanitarian work.
I had become involved early in 2016 with a lovely organization called The Welcome to America Project. We “adopted” a Burmese family for the holidays. I rallied friends and neighbors to contribute and was humbled by their generosity. Despite what I had seen in the preceding months, people were still good. My heart felt a glimmer of hope again.
Amidst various drives and projects I continued to stay informed about national politics, including passive involvement in the Americans for the New Conservative Movement Facebook group. Brad Hoganson, the national organizer, approached me about leading the club in the Phoenix area. I said I would think about it.
I wasn’t qualified with a political background. I definitely wasn’t informed on local issues. I had a toddler and preschooler and was enjoying my volunteer work. At heart, I am a people pleaser and ultimately agreed--begrudgingly.
Our local club had a few hiccups and false starts, but I was trying. I was hopeful but tentative that we could make a difference. Then one day I was listening to an Arizona Storytellers podcast by James Kottke. He quoted his mother as saying, “Do something - anything...anything is better than nothing.” Yes. I may not be able to change the entire political landscape in Arizona but I could do something. I went to work.
The more I learn about state and local politics, the more I realize that here a real difference can be made. We are growing and learning and, most importantly, we are gaining momentum. Our biggest accomplishments of the year include meeting with Congressman Andy Biggs to discuss the Mueller investigation and an upcoming panel on conservatism with former State Senator Jerry Lewis, current State Senator Bob Worsley, and Arizona State University professor Dr. Michael Rubinoff.
The best part about being a part of this movement? Empowerment. We don’t have to feel helpless or despondent over the current political climate. We can do something. We are doing something here in the Phoenix Valley.
I no longer feel powerless behind a computer screen. Now when people tell me they feel hopeless about politics, I tell them to get involved and do something--anything. I’m confident in doing they’ll be empowered too, even if they feel inadequate. Like James’ mom said, “Anything is better than nothing.” They just may find they aren’t as inadequate as they thought.
Kottke, James “James Kottke.” Audio blog post. Arizona Storytellers. KJZZ News, 15 Nov. 2017. Web. 17, May, 2018.