I have no idea how many people are running for mayor of my city of Oakland. 14?. 15? I’ve even heard 21? I’m totally blasé and apathetic about it. [I’m far from alone according to an article in the Chronicle this week: “Oakland’s Shrug-Inducing, Overstuffed Mayoral Election“]
What does it matter who I vote for? What does it matter who I rank, or even who wins? It’s just going to be the same thing. My apathy makes me complicit. I don’t think anything will really ever change, or that someone can change things. And so I don’t even try myself.
I am not the mayor, nor will I ever be so. I worry about my kids at school each day, their ongoing education, the safety and well being of my family. The well being of those I love and with whom I live income it’s, wether that be inky larger family, my church congregation, the community of the schools my children attend, colleagues, and the neighborhoods where I work and where I live. What I can do is love my children, accompany them I life, trying my best to authentically share with them my values and empower throng make their own choices so that they can “succeed”, whatever that will mean for them, in their life. I can invest in the lives and work of. He kids’ teachers and their classmates, assuming that doing so will also benefit my children I’m their growing-up journey. I can look out for my elder neighbors who live across the street, and being in my neighbor’s trash cans if they’re put of town or forget. I can work for the well being of all the children and students in my city, believing that doing so will make their lives, and my own, better in our shared home.
I can vote with my voice, my money, time and ballot to affirm those values. I can support initiatives I that work towards those same goals. I can talk with other, sharing my thoughts and values. I can act, believing that a single sunbeam can chase away many shadows, or that a single drop can make a great wave, or any of those beautiful yet kitschy sayings that are infinitely true.
I may not feel like I really have a say about who is our next mayor, or that it evens matters. But I do have a say in regards to several vitally important and potentially life-changing measures up for vote.
I have a say in what the minimum wage will be in our city, and how that can increase the economic state of the middle and working classes. [YES on FF]
I do have a say in reshooting our school structure to ensure that every child has a better chance at a quality, contextualized and practical education so that they can have a better future. [YES on N]
I do have a say in reversing the law that puts youth (specifically of color) away for years in jails for mistakes made in naive or uninformed youth, instead of providing rehab, training and counseling which might provide for a productive and civic-participating future. [YES on 47]
I may not feel like an elected official can, or will, really change things in our city. But I do know that I can change things in the small ways that I act, speak, love and vote.
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