• Fran Stewart

If You Want to Make a Difference

If you’ve read this blog (all 20 previous Friday Fare posts on it) or any of my other blogs (such as Bees Knees Beekeeping), you may have noticed that I tend not to be political in my writings. It’s always been a conscious choice.

But with the shootings in the schools and with so many students protesting against guns, I think it’s time to speak out.

Please understand, I will not discuss the Second Amendment here. This is not what the problem is about.

Instead, I offer an open letter to America’s students.

Dear future leaders of this country:

I understand your anger, for my generation felt similar anger. We marched, we protested, but ultimately, this country is still involved in unnecessary wars because our protests did not change the power structure that fed those wars.

If you want to make a true difference, run for office. As soon as you’re old enough, start locally. It will take hundreds of you, thousands of you. But you have the numbers; you have the passion. What you need is the vote and the chance to make changes from the bottom up. School board, zoning commission. Attend their meetings, starting now if you can. Learn everything you can about how government works in this country so you will be fully prepared when it’s time to run for those offices.

How many of our current senators and representatives, particularly on a state level, started out as county commissioners or school board members? That’s a good starting place for you.

A plant needs to start as a seed before it can ever reach the level of leaf or flower. As your age increases, and your knowledge about government deepens, and your political base widens, you will be able to work at the state level. Once you’re there, if there are enough of you voting together, you can make real change.

For one, introduce the concept of term limits. We have far too many professional politicians in office whose sight is always on the next election rather than on how they can make a real difference.

A second idea: Eliminate gerrymandering as much as possible. With the changing demographics of this country, skewed political regions no longer make sense — not that they ever did.

A third idea: Rearrange the seating in our houses and senates. Wouldn’t it be easier to work together if there weren’t an aisle separating the Democrats from the Republicans? There’s nothing wrong with strictly alphabetical seating.

You will have many more ideas about what will improve this country. Things like teaching your children about taking personal responsibility for their words and actions.

I applaud your desire for change.

I agree that things have gone desperately wrong in many ways.

And let me know when you run for public office. I’d love to support you.

Most sincerely,

—Fran Stewart

#schoolshootings #runningforoffice #politicalinvolvement