June 29: Be Apathetic?

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

My husband likes to keep up with the news from the mundane to political. I, on the other hand, don’t read too much news or keep up with politics.  Except for a brief time during college and occasional donations to favorite issues, I pretty much stay out of the fray.  My “activist” energies have been re-routed to fighting health insurers and hospitals/doctor offices.  

The sad thing is that fighting injustices and keeping politically informed is NOT simple. Politics is messy and it takes a long time to make any changes, if you’re successful.  I’m amazed by people who devote time and energy on political campaigns or other politically-related issues, especially if they work at other jobs and/or have families to consider.

This isn’t a tip-oriented post exactly.  I just wonder if it’s possible to keep things simple without retreating into your own world of backyard chicken coops, vegetable gardens, and cheese-making?  The personal is political, right? At the same time, if you’re only concerned about your little corner of the world, there isn’t much hope for real progress.

Recently, I was drawn into some working parent forums and I was struck by how many parents (truthfully moms) struggle to deal with working and raising children.  In many cases, maternity leave is non-existent or too short.  Employers are often not very understanding. Co-workers resent you. You get mommy-tracked, etc… 

I’ve been fortunate that my employer did make some accomodations during my pregnancy.  They were understanding when I was too sick to work during the first trimester.  I worked from home during part of my pregnancy, although this was not allowed after maternity leave.  Working part-time is out of the question.  However, everyone in our department values a balanced life so working  more than 40 hours is simply not the norm.

If I were politically-minded, I would try to do something so that all women have access to longer (paid) maternity leave.  Instead, like many, I ignore the issue since I was lucky enough to make it work for myself. It is simply easier to be apathetic.

Now I would never advocate apathy. Too much is at stake. Whether you’re aware of political issues or not, a myriad of issues affect your life.   If you must “keep it simple” at all costs, here are my suggestions:

  1. Focus on one main cause that matters most to you and devote your time to this.
  2. Donate money instead of time.
  3. Vote.
  4. Write to the media, your congress person, etc…

Are you politically active? Why or why not?  

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4 responses to “June 29: Be Apathetic?

  1. God, this is going to sound so cheesy, but I think that the way in which we live our lives can be a political act. The ol’ “the personal is political” song and dance. I write my representatives about issues I care about–say, fair wages–but I think it’s far more effective to support fair trade products, pay folks fair wages if they work for me, etc. What good does it do to be politically active about environmental issues if you’re producing 300 lbs of trash a week? I think it’s all gotta be connected. Or something.

    I do envy folks who are incredibly politically active and wish I could engage more, but I’m stretched thin enough as it is. I just do my best to keep focused on making right choices and trying not to be a hypocrite. I’m convinced if more folks did that, there’d be far less need for political action, because many heinous things would die from atrophy.

  2. CF – I know what you mean by personal is political. Smaller, personal actions make a big difference especially if as you mention more people do it. If everyone reduced consumption and trash, that would probably make as big an impact as passing many environmental protection law (although of course we can’t let corporations off the hook in terms of environmental responsibility). maybe it’s like the old debate of making more money OR saving money. Some people think you can do one or the other but it’s better to do both things.

  3. What she said! I agree that political is personal and that everything you do, however small, makes a difference. I go out of my way to buy locally produced goods and organic foods; buy books at my local bookstore; eat at local restaurants; write to my representatives; drink at a local bar in my community; this all takes time (especially the drinking!) but makes more of a difference than you realize.

  4. Yeah… I’m one of the few journalist who actually doesn’t care about politics. No desire to aspire to the holy grail of either political reporting or war reporting. While I don’t believe that politics is completely useless, I do think most of it is petty bickering and infighting.

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