Democracy in the United States has gone off the rails, but I no longer want to be part of the problem. I consume democracy as Facebook newsfeed and Buzzfeed puppies– or I did. My part of the problem is complacency. I’m not one of the 43% of Americans who did not vote, never vote, but their complacency is only one remove from mine. As much as I blame non-voters for not seeing the difference between a racist carrot-cake and a career politician, I also get it. The personal attacks and misinformation made policy difficult to see. The ugliness made not voting seem like a vote for decency. But avoiding politics just makes politics more dangerous.
My occasional political dollar and relatively solid “likely-voter” status seemed like engagement until now. But it wasn’t. It was just another kind of complacency, the kind that lets corruption generate local politicians like Chris Christie, ideologues like Ted Cruz, and let the entire Democratic party slip so far to the center, that it didn’t offer the union, blue collar, farming-friendly, working-class solidarity of the past to the 2016 election.
Local and active political involvement is the only cure. The United States needs vibrant, engaged young people in politics, rather than the same Goldman Sachs veterans. To get fresh faces into the political machine, cranky middle-aged people like myself need to throw out our trash. We need to clean up our town councils, state houses, and political parties, on both sides.
So this blog will document my activation as a Democratic radical, moving from consumer of democracy to user. How hard can it be?