When I was 17 years old, I belonged to the Saginaw chapter of the National Women’s Rights Organizing Coalition. I was politically active writing letters, speaking at events, and protesting at abortion clinics to help keep them open and accessible to women—in short, we helped distract the pro-lifers from harassing women going into the clinic. As a young woman, I also protested the Iraq War and President Bush’s visit to East Grand Rapids, MI. I wrote letters to my Congresspeople and kept up on current events.
My life in the 30s has taken more of a personal turn away from politics. Struggling with mental illness and related joblessness, I have had to allocate more time to myself and I stopped paying attention to the world. My apathy due to illness and misfortune (including my husband’s two cancer diagnoses) is typical of most people’s reasons for not participating in democracy. I am not talking about voting. That is the least we do.
Now that my health is stable and my husband is recovering from cancer treatment, I am awakening to a government shutdown. My feeling is anger. We have two groups in power fighting with one another when they should be taking the greater good into consideration. However you feel about Obamacare and I admit that I have mixed feelings about it, a total shutdown of the system is not in anyone’s favor.
I encourage everyone to let your local, state, and national politicians know how you feel about the issues. Sure, everyone’s busy but our government works best with participation. You can write a poem, a letter, draw a picture, be creative! If you have time, volunteer in your community or get involved with a political group of your choice. Having a voice is what makes democracy awesome!
Below is my poem about the government shutdown. It’s short but you get the point.
Fat bureaucrats push the rats under
the rug but the squeaks betray
a hierarchy of nonsense flaking
off as paint from an old bridge
creaking under weight.