I was 7 in 1977. I followed my grey-goateed grandpa, Irv, around the desert behind his white adobe house on the hill, picking up garbage with a sharp stick. It was part of his crusade to save the environment. He also hoped, somehow, to harness the hot Tucson sun for power so we weren't so reliant on the Middle East. He stood at a table at the mall as part of the Energy Fair to recruit others to his cause, but most were too interested in finding the perfect metal-studded double belt to put over their tunics and leggings to pay the old man much mind. Gold star for him, for trying.
Thirty years later, as every news source has been reporting, we're in exactly the same boat. Just the other night, I gathered a few ladies I knew at a wine bar to listen to a college friend's pitch for Green Energy. Double belts are back (wish I'd saved mine) as are leggings and tunics and clogs. Maybe this time, people will stop in the mall to listen to the pleas of those who see the solutions. I hope so.
I'm hearing from a lot of people that they want to be useful, to work with their own two hands to build with wood and metal, to plant trees, to get involved in a real way with politics. I even had a politician do a double take when I asked him, please, to be honest. That I could handle it. He agreed that politicians in this day and age have to lie, that Obama had to lie to win. But, he said, he loves Obama, trusts him. I didn't trust him because, as a journalist, I knew he was lying during the election. He had to, I know. It's what we have come to expect, what we trust. Ha. It's a joke, but it's true. Answering from your gut instead of from prepared questions will always get you in trouble. It is, unfortunately, not going to please enough people to win you the race, not the popular one and not the electoral college. I am the same. I speak from the heart, not from my head and it often gets me in trouble with people who don't agree with my opinions or do but don't want to. What can I do? Like my grandfather, I want to fight for things, to be the outspoken one, even if people walk past.
Usually, as I blather on in one cafe or another, because Brooklyn is alive with the "Change" Obama was elected on promising, people stop and listen, participate, share their hopes and dreams. It is all we can do to at least recognize and connect with the past and forge an honest trail into the future.