Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Family


I'd like to take a moment to share something about my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. They are a working class couple in a rental house, used cars and with a life filled with conquered demons and baggage they faced head-on. They work hard, play hard and enjoy their lives today. They are in their forties and love heavy metal and tattoos. They don't take life too seriously but feel passion for animals, their great friends and family and each other. If you passed them on the street, you might not think they were someone you could learn politics from. But you'd be wrong.

Now, I have my issues with the Occupy movement. There are some things that piss me off. But the one thing I will always be grateful to the movement for, is that it made my SIL and BIL take notice. These are two insightful, curious people. They ask great questions and make considerate connections. They started following Occupy and even attended a protest or two. And then the Facebook posts started coming regularly: links to articles, questions about what they'd heard somewhere, LGBT support links, criticisms of Bachmann.

And it kept coming.

My sister-in-law was a rising lioness. She wasn't shy about her thoughts and she challenged people to pay attention. We have chatted about issues and she trusts that I will have an honest discussion with her. I trust that she's paying attention.

And the other day, she posted this on Facebook

I voted! (for my dist rep) PLEASE HERE ME OUT! I hate politics, but after occupy, questions surfaced, so the last year I have become more informed because I believe solidarity makes changes happen, I ask my trusted informers when I get confused, they help me understand (you all know who you are and I thank you!) VOTING MATTERS! as my SIL helped me understand (and I ended up changing my party)... in reality, there are 2 parties, and usually 2 candidates, no matter how many are in the line up, you know one of the 2 will win, therefore doing a "write in" or voting for a small party candidate is not productive because it doesn't really count against the "worse of the two evils". You may not be on board 100% with either of the 2 at election time, but out of those two you know which one you DO NOT want. THIS YEAR IS VERY IMPORTANT! IT WILL MAKE OR BREAK THE SHIT HOLE WE ARE IN NOW! Get registered if you are not, be a grown up and be an American... YOUR VOTE DOES COUNT!
My favorite part was when she brilliantly discussed the consequences of write-ins and third parties. That is insightful. And this is from a woman who just started paying attention. Can you imagine what a powerful citizen she will be in November?

And last night, they watched the State of the Union and my BIL posted this on my Facebook page

Loved the speech of the Union tonight - Obama sounded like one of us Protesters - Tax the Rich and Save the Poor :) 30 percent tax for everything over a Million dollars a Year :) Someone is Listening :)

See that? A guy who wouldn't normally be paying attention, watched the State of the Union. He's listening and he knows Obama is listening.

I love my SIL and BIL. And I am proud of them. And I am so glad they are on our side.

We have an untapped resource out there. There are people who will vote FOR their best interests, and ours, if they are given a reason to pay attention. And once they start paying attention, we will see a fierce advocacy take hold. Many of their friends spoke up on my SIL's post the other night. They feel empowered, they know the value of a vote. We need to make sure we reach out to the people in our lives that haven't been paying attention and see if they're ready to start.

Politics is intimidating. There's history and all kinds of twists and turns and chaos and confrontation. Why would anyone want to start paying attention to this crap? People shy away. But Barack Obama is the right President for these people. He is thinking of them in his policies. He just needs them to know it and to stand with him. Let's help them feel less intimidated and welcome them to the dark side.

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