March 16, 2007

Informed

People change over time. Sometimes it is small things and sometimes it is something big. Up until about a year ago I had no interest in politics what so ever. I really could care less what was going on because I honestly felt that it didnít matter what I did or said; it would never change anything. Sure I voted, and kept up with current topics, but I never really got involved. It all seemed like a complete waste of time. If there was something I actually felt strongly opposed to, I figured someone else would speak out against it.

I didnít even want to talk about politics because I felt it was a boring and depressing topic. Many of my friends have heard me say, ďEnough with the talk about politics.Ē Sure many things going on angered me, but what good did it do? Nothing I said or did would ever change anything. Thatís pretty much how I handled politics for the last 15 years.

As new laws were passed that upset me, and new taxes put in placed that drained my income, I just became more convinced that nothing would ever change. I grew more and more bitter. Neither political party appealed to me. Both sides had issues I agreed with and both sides had politicians that scared me that they were in office. On the other hand both sides had stances I disagreed with. I just couldnít relate to either. I remained independent.

Things started changing with me in November of 2005. Politicians in the city of Rockford decided that they wanted Home Rule. This pissed me off; it was too much power to the local politicians. I actually got out and spread the word about Home Rule and why I didnít want it. I even used this blog to help spread the word and did a radio interview. To this day, we still donít have Home Rule, thankfully.

The drive for this must have disturbed a sleeping monster inside me. I started following more and more the local politics; I started listening to talk radio (Much to Ktrevaís chagrin and embarrassment). Then something happened that kicked that monster awake. I received word about the new gun bans here in Illinois. That brought forth an interest in politics I never thought I would possess. I started writing letters to my state senator and representative, I started making phone calls and trying to rally others to the cause. I drove to the state capital to lobby. My political activity was getting me noticed. In doing so I inadvertently did something else.

I got my name on some lists.

Not necessarily bad lists, but those lists of local political interests. I received information from various politiciansí offices and even an invite to an invitation only meeting, which I attended. This morning I went to a breakfast meeting that had my state Senator, Representative, other state reps, the Mayor of my city and other elected officials. We discussed the Governors new budget and how it was going to affect the citizens of Illinois.

I found myself really getting involved. I also found myself getting a lot of attention. Most of the people in the room all seemed to know each other, even across party lines. None of them knew who I was. I was a nobody. I could almost hear their thoughts, ďWho is that, and why is he here?Ē It was intimidating. Elected officials where coming up and introducing themselves to me. Other behind the scenes players where probing me for my opinion on topics, just to see where I stood on the politics at hand. Then I realized; they didnít see me as a nobody. I was a somebody. I was a citizen that was taking time to exert my opinion and influence on the political process. Maybe I wasnít a VIP, but I wasnít a nobody. I was someone who could make a difference. Someone that could support or oppose there cause and bring others to share my views. I was keeping myself informed. The most dangerous thing in politics is an informed citizenry.

Now Iím looking forward to my next meeting and the next forum.

It amazes me how much Iíve changed.

Posted by Contagion in Stories about me. at March 16, 2007 07:55 PM | TrackBack
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