The 2008 presidential election cycle was one of the most important events in my philosophical and political life. It was sometime during that cycle that I realized that my entire philosophical and political focus for the past two decades of my life has been wrong.
I know that’s a powerful statement to make, but in this case, it is completely true. What I realized sometime between John McCain announcing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick and adulant Obama supporters crying as he accepted victory is that I had no effect on these things happening. Even though I wrote and talked for more than a year about national politics, national defense, and the national economy, I had no effect on any of them. My time was wasted on something I cannot control.
Meanwhile, things that I can very much control suffered. My realization formed into the acknowledgment that, while I compulsively worried about what was happening on the national and international stage, things happening right next door to me and down the street happened without me even noticing.
What I realized is that the only things I have any hope of impacting are the things that I am directly connected to–family, friends, church, community. While I have strong opinions on issues far larger than those, I have no power to influence them. This realization is not defeat; it is liberation.
What I realized is that everything important starts at home, even while we all fall under the sway of ever increasing concentration of power into the hands of fewer and fewer people. We look to governments and corporations to solve our problems even while we ignore what is happening in our own homes or right next door.
What I realized is that I am going local–going native. I still care about what is happening on the national and international stage, but that care must be tied to what I can do about those things in the small, intensely personal part of the world that I live in right now. My goal has become to make my part of the world better by refocusing all of the energy I expend on subjects I can’t affect onto things I can.
This personal transformation also represents a transformation for the Worldview Weblog. My goal is to re-purpose this space toward solutions for people who care about making our lives better right here in the Dayton, Ohio area. Yes, national and international events are important, but what is more important is how these events affect me and the people around me.
Welcome to the new Worldview. I hope you stick around to see what we can make happen.
Don’t you worry that the national/international items will hinder your focus on locally “controlled” areas of your life? If so, are the short term accomplishments and “movement” worth the time, when you know something much “greater” can and wil affect them in the future?
BTW, I miss your palletizing abilities.
I think that I came to the realization that the long term accomplishments start with the short term and local.
Take the current state of conservatism in the United States. If conservatives are going to reestablish themselves and take back control of the political machine, will it be at the national level or the local level?
Instinctually, we all look at the national level and say that’s where we win, even as we write off our own city councils, school boards, and state governments. It is because of that kind of thinking that we lost Congress and the White House and will continue to lose them.
Everything we do starts at home: life, defense, economy. That’s why we care, that’s why we serve, that’s why we work. Otherwise, there’s no point.
I can’t say I miss building pallets.
What we do on a local level I believe does impact nationally. It starts at home and spreads. It begins with our own lives, our relationship with God impacts our relationships with our families; which impacts how we relate to our neighbors and our community and so it goes. People see you and how you live your life. If it is in a God-pleasing positive way they may think about their own lives and beliefs and the ripple spreads. Ultimately, what we do locally can and should filter out to bigger areas. Throw your pebble in the water and watch where it goes. The effort has to be made. Get involved, volunteer, run for local office, go to school board meetings, be involved in they lives of children, make a difference, be different.
Run for local office? That’s like jumping into the water, yourself. Imagine, those ripples.
I’d say keep writing for these local publications.
We all made a difference by participating. Congratulations on your efforts.
The thought of local office continues to cross my mind. We’ll see how much effect my change of focus has.