After a spectacular couple of bike rides today I am refreshed enough to put some thoughts down about advocacy in Coquille. Our life experiences, even the bitter ones or perhaps especially the bitter ones, empower us. They also separate us, like wheat from chaff. All of a sudden we no longer run the flats anymore we run the hills striving for that adrenalin rush, that endorphin high and we discover that fewer and fewer people run those hills. Fewer and fewer choose that path.
When my son was at war I found I could no longer chat idly at the post office about weather and gardening and recipes anymore. Without going into details I found myself heading down a path whereby I could no longer sit back and let the wrongs in the world go unchallenged. To leave them unchallenged when you know they are there is to be complicit in that wrong.
Now I am old enough to choose my battles and recognize that I can’t feed every starving child or shelter every homeless veteran. What I have learned is that I can advocate on their behalf and I can look for solutions that benefit everyone. As a science writer I research and I observe and I ask questions and I formulate what I learn and do my best to pass it on.
This is all very serious to me because I have witnessed what happens when harsh decisions are made without accurate data. When I am asked questions and I take the time to formulate an answer, give examples, share the data I have mined and pose my perceptions and my own questions, I am giving my time and energy to do so. When those asking expose that they really aren’t interested but have some other agenda which is what happens with most of the anonymous posters on Dian’s blog and recently by Nancy Keller at The World forum here and here it illustrates why social change is so hard.
Of course, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it and I am fortunate to have met several concerned citizens possessed of dogged determination and a missionary zeal for finding solutions. One thing about Coquille, however, is that many opportunities for comedy present themselves almost everyday. The best example is Nancy’s line “…content citizens of Coquille tend to be quiet and happy.” Opportunities like that are hard to resist.