I have no opinion about North Korea’s aggressive actions. Ditto for the Wikileaks’ scandal. My lack of engagement is not because either of these is unimportant, but rather because they don’t rank as urgent in my daily life.
If I don’t pick up my new granddaughter when she cries, I get immediate and loud feedback that I am neglecting a vital job. If I don’t take care of the countless details involved in posting our new audio CD (Prosperity Power) on our store site, it will clearly affect my husband and my endeavors. My husband, other children and grandchildren, friends, as well as routine items like laundry give me vocal, olfactory or visual proof of neglect if I ignore them for too long. In contrast, if I don’t take the time to read, analyze and react to national or international events I can pretend that there are no consequences.
I have, at times, been immensely frustrated when coming across people who disengage from politics. They don’t vote or even worse they vote casually, trusting a comedy show or a YouTube video to shape their views. They shrug their shoulders and their eyes glaze over if you raise a topic such as Iran’s nuclear capabilities or tax policy.
I have – temporarily at least – become one of them. This has brought me face to face with one of the unintended and unfortunate consequences of our 24/7 world. Especially if you are going through life without a partner or are in a marriage where both spouses are juggling a home life along with an external career life, how in the world are you supposed to find the time to for responsible citizenship? Even that phrase sounds archaic now.
The excitement on the left about Barack Obama’s candidacy a few years back and the recent excitement on the right about the Tea Party were anomalies. When people get very upset they get involved. For a short window of time people become aware that politics has a real and crucial effect on their lives. However, unless a crisis such as a war or financial emergency results, intense feelings quickly subside. Even the opening of a local restaurant or the release of a new movie seems more pressing, let alone the numerous responsibilities inherent in managing a successful life.
I am immensely grateful for my time with our children and grandchildren. I am enormously grateful for the exciting things happening in our work as well. It is easy to believe that I cannot affect world or national affairs. And that may be largely true. But it is equally true that enough “me’s” adding responsible citizenship to our daily task list can actually change the course of history.