THE BLOG
11/06/2014 02:42 pm ET Updated Jan 06, 2015

Revitalizing Local Democracy

Results from the 2014-midterm elections only guarantees one phenomenon: nothing is going to happen in the next two years. The coupling of a GOP majority legislative branch tied with a Democratic president, will make the next two years in Washington about as productive as a fraternity house "study room" during zero week of the fall semester. But never fear, even during finals week, it's better to find a place to study on your own without distractions if you want to get that A grade.

Tangible results come from individual action, not from our government. It is the doing of projects not the talking about them that gets things done. Sitting around, signing emails, handing out money to hopeful politicians, doesn't necessarily get things done either. Sure, for a few minutes you may feel like you've done something to change the world, but five minutes later when you receive another frantic desperate email begging for yet more money, you might start to wonder if it's ever going to stop.

Your money could have fed a homeless family for a week, or helped fund a kid through college, bought organic vegie seeds for your local community garden, or purchased a few books for your local library. But instead, your hard earned dollars have gone off to help support someone who -- damn it... another freaking email!

The only way to make a real difference is to do it your self. Why? Because you will be guaranteed a solid action, and you get to feel what it's really like to help someone or a needy cause. And that's what the magic of volunteering is all about. It's contagious -- a healthy addiction, and it's not all about you, but something much bigger.

It's so easy to complain about health plans, transportation, pollution, the cost of living, etc., but it takes courage and a lot of chutzpah to get one's arse off the chair and out into their own community. And yet this is where real change can take place.

If you want to see results, how about putting your money and time into your local community rather than a congressional campaign where candidate's promises get put aside, replaced by their need to win. Yep -- let's fund them so they can spend months indulging themselves in petty arguments and huge paychecks.

Here's how our community-built neighborhoods might look:

  • • The local community center is the heart of our community -- it began out of a rundown old house and it grew and grew.
  • • Members of our community mentor local students; they include scientists, writers, linguists, artists, doctors, lawyers and technology experts. The list is endless.
  • • Retired hospitality workers that teach the art and discipline of their craft to students, oversee our coffee shop and bakery.
  • • Our green-thumbed retired citizens, work alongside innovative young neighbors tending our community garden. Their motto: grow local -- eat local.
  • • The food they grow is sold at the local farmer's market.
  • • The community center houses a small theatre for performing arts.
  • • And a gallery and studio for visual arts.
  • • There's a team who work with the local council to fund and implement sustainability.

  • • Our vision is to become a fully energy efficient solar community.
  • • Our long-term vision includes a solar bike path that connects to the nearest train station.
  • • And our big vision is to implement roads made out of solar panels.

What if you have money to donate and...

  • • You're interest lies in affordable health for all -- then build a small hospital in a community where it's needed and fund the staff to run it.
  • • You care about education -- fund a community educational center and support it.

  • • You're concerned about what the sugar industry is feeding our population -- then fund a better alternative.
  • • You want to see healthy environments -- fund local scientists, architects and landscape artists to build them.
  • • You care about pollution and transportation -- put your money into it.

You can call it whatever you want -- go ahead, label it if you're so inclined -- maybe it's capitalism with social organization. But while you're doing that some of us intend to be busy helping each other build, or re-build ours and other communities. One thing's for sure, I'm done fighting against, instead I'm doing! Interested in helping?