All politics is local, my dad was fond of saying. I’ve always subscribed to that theory in a metaphorical way.
Yes, change is wrought from inside great marbled halls. But my friends it is not born there.
It is not dreamed up on the spot by a well-meaning legislator who has a cartoon light bulb suddenly appear over his head in the midst of routine parliamentary procedure.
No. Change is born in the mind of a 4 year old, unencumbered by what he has been taught to believe, to make fun of, to be afraid of.
Change is born in the heart of my 8 year old boy, who uses his words, not his fists, to stand up to the kids who made fun of him for playing a woman in a play.
Change is born of quiet conversations and difficult questions in our houses. In the line at the grocery store. In libraries. In places of worship.
It bubbles up, slowly, and pricks at our skin. It seeps onto the pages of newspapers (not electronic ones, but real ones that leave your fingers smudged with ink). It spreads into other homes.
All change starts with an uncomfortable feeling in our hearts and ends when our heads have finally caught up.
That’s about as local as it gets.
So, sure, march or protest or cheer or whatever it is you want to do. Do it to make yourself feel better, feel useful. But if you really want to change the world, your best bet isn’t focusing on a 50 year old voting on a roll call.
It’s a kid.
Find a kid. Find one who needs to be found. Change their perception. Read them books and give them the gift of language. Show them how to research their opinion instead of parroting what they hear. Teach them that we learn more when we listen to viewpoints that are different with our own. Make them feel what love is.
Shape the mind of a child and then you will really change the future.