1. As a married gay man living in suburban Indianapolis, the biggest threat I personally face is that of dismissing or diminishing my marriage. In the 18 years we have been together, my husband and I have faced a myriad of hurdles some of which got smoothed out by our getting married (the legal benefits).

    As I go out and about in the community (which since COVID has been limited), I make sure to wear my wedding ring. I also – when appropriate – mention “my husband”. My hope is that sparks an internal question in some of the listeners that might challenge their assumptions.

    The biggest impact I hope to make is along with my husband at the American Legion. I encouraged him to join, and while I was eligible to be a Legion member I insisted that I wanted to join the auxiliary – the first same gender spouse to do so. While the old guard at first didn’t compute the impact, they have all been very welcoming….and its the perfect place to refer to my man as “my husband”

  2. HOO-boy. Well, I agree with whoever said all politics is local so here goes. I feel the most urgent social problem is to turn back the modern drift towards white nationalist autocracy, embraced by the QOP and nowhere is that movement more prevalent that Indiana. In the last two elections I contributed to and actively campaigned for three candidates for Indiana State Representative (both lost) and one for State Senator (won), all in districts in which I do not live. I also contributed to over 20 different U.S. House and Senate races and volunteered for one Dem candidate in a House race (IN 5th – lost). Again, all districts in which I do not live. I offer commentary on 5-6 blogs as well as Twitter. I no longer have an account on the toxic platform known as Facebook and I consider doing so a form of political and economic activism.

    And I’m currently on a mission to recruit at least 2 young-ish women to run in 2022 as Dems or Independents for our County Council, which is currently occupied by nine old white guys, eight Republicans and one Democrat. I have already made contributions to one Dem candidate for US Senate (Demings in FL) and plan to actively support several more for the US House and Senate.

    If I was a decade or two younger I would run for political office myself but would have to move to another state to be successful. In Indiana, and especially LaGrange County, being pro-choice and pro-gun control are showstoppers.

  3. Problem: Takeover of our democracy by minority rule / the assault on voting rights.
    Action: Registering voters, calling elected officials, supporting organizations like Indivisible and Fair Fight, educating myself & others.
    Problem: Climate Change & water quality
    Action: Participating today in one of four Marches on bridges over waterways, being held locally to bring attention to endless water problems here in SW FL. (Problems that are mainly due to Big Sugar & it’s enablers, along with poor policy and gutless politicians).

  4. Generally, I don’t participate in ego challenges. But to play along, my recognition of a declining democracy occurred over a decade ago when I noticed our local newspaper was grossly misinforming the public about current affairs.

    While at the same time they were misleading local citizens, they were also complaining they were losing subscribers. So, in keeping in line with Lester’s proposal, which I continue ignoring when he asks those questions, is I abandoned my career in pursuit of the answers.

    It wasn’t just about local or state news; it was also national news and the state of our country, including both political parties. They all seemed to be interconnected.

    Several years after I started holding the newspapers and media, in general, accountable, a Twitter commenter called me a “muckraker,” so I had to look up the word. Muckrakers became prevalent in the 20s and 30s when yellow journalism plagued the media outlets due to Robber Barons controlling the country. As a result, our free press abandoned their power to become propaganda outfits. “If it bleeds, it ledes.”

    I cannot even begin to tell you about the personal costs of this pursuit of truth. It’s cost me a fortune due to loss of income and lost jobs because holding the powerful accountable comes at a heavy price; it’s why academics don’t teach it, and most journalists don’t do it.

    It’s why the printing press owners didn’t do it, and it’s why our national media doesn’t do it. It’s also why I risk my freedom by supporting Julian Assange because he, too, believed in the truth. Yet, look what it has cost him. Ironically, he’s also lost a decade of his life to being punished for holding the powerful to account.

    However, as I tell young people from the college today, you have a choice. You can pursue the truth or go to work for a news outlet, but you can’t do both if your passion is politics.

    Furthermore, if you want to pursue the truth, you can’t look for the comfort of a steady paycheck because you’ll have to check the truth at the door in exchange for that paycheck. After all, you’re entering the corporate world where the rules require your obedience to profits.

    However, the gains have far outweighed the costs but not in what society values the most. The gains are all intrinsic, metaphysical, and spiritual. In return, you connect with an even greater power that appreciates your efforts and makes sure you are cared for.

    I wouldn’t stop even if I could. 😉

  5. I consider the assault on Public education by the Indiana State GOP legislators to be the most serious problem in Indiana. As a teacher, I have donated to pro-public education State candidates, witten to legislators and have lobbied them in aessions since 2010. I ran for House District 63 in 2020, and I will be running again in 2022. The future sucsess of Indiana is being shaped in schools, and sadly the GOP is destroying the one institution that provides equal opportunity to all, and allowing only the privileged to benefit from education. I do spend time in social media discissions, but most of my effort will be going to registering voters, and making sure qe get folks out to vote in 2022.

  6. The Republican assault on our Constitution, voting rights, racial parity and a host of other anti-American issues keeps me awake at nigh. Everything Republican is sounding ever so much like the National Socialism debacle of Germany that began in the late 1920s and 1930s.

    Instead of whining about how the media have lied to us and mislead us, I try to use the media, in the ways I can, to refute the lies, promote the truth, clarify the spirit and intent of the Constitution from my keyboard. LTEs only get published rarely as most papers only allow one letter per month from any contributor. I volunteer with the Denver Democratic Party to register voters and write copy for their outreach.

    That all said, I try to add social messaging to my novels. I keep trying to get people to read the very compelling books so they can see those social issues in context of those stories. Anyone who has read any of my novels tells me they heard some of it for the first time.

    So, kvetching aside, we all must do SOMETHING to thwart the second coming of Nazi-ism.

  7. So I am a lurker but believe as you do that people are doing a lot of good work behind the scenes. So I feel the need to respond to your question.

    I think the biggest problem in our state is gerrymandering. How I work to resolve it is that I am a league of women voters member and work to help educate people about this issues. I also try to whenever possible bring it up in one on one conversations.

  8. #1: I VOTE for every progressive in my area. We have a Lesbian Senator and a Gay male congressman so this is rewarding. I send the $$ as well.
    2. I am the sole financial support for the Gay student organization at my old HS
    I also send what I deem useful data to the folks working with those at risk kids
    3. I have spent 45 years working with others in “recovery” in various forms
    4. I financially support worthwhile candidates for elected office
    5. I USED to be involved in Gay and Democratic political work but as I age it seems
    like work for younger folk. I do not understand much of the language etc today
    THANKS for making me THINK about this today Prof.
    You educators…. always making us THINK 🙂

  9. The continuing, at times escalating problems within federal government, and lack of responses and information from local officials which gives us little reason to support them with donations and our vote, the escalating deterioration of infrastructure except in higher income areas are most threatening to our safety are among my primary concerns. The continuing minority Republican control over our civil and voting rights, lack of encouraging their supporters to avail themselves of vaccines and using safety measure to protect themselves and others and their blatant cover-up of their support and participation in the January 6th Insurrection are all terrifying to us individually and as a nation.

    I am 84 years old, totally deaf and physically disabled; my monthly income is Social Security $834.00 and Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF) after 20 years working in Indianapolis City government $277.62. Out of that amount I pay all bills on time and have memberships in Planned Parenthood, Naral, Indiana Coalition for Public Education, ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, U.S. Holocaust Museum, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Public Citizens, AARP, Democratic National Committee and INDems the Indiana Democratic committee.

    As all regular readers know I do not hesitate to post my beliefs and my dissatisfaction on any subject on this blog; I receive and respond to political and social issues E-mails, submit on line and by mail my responses to surveys and petitions, at times making donations. I have voted in every election since 1958, I post Democratic yard signs at election time which in 2016 caused many of my neighbors to ignore my existence and stopped speaking to me after years of never discussing politics with any of them. In their cowardly fashion they used their 2016 “Trump for President” yard signs to respond to my “Pence Must Go”, “Bernie for President”, “Hogsett for Mayor”, “Andre Carson for Congress” and others I have posted over the 16 years I have lived here. I encourage family members and friends to pay close attention to political and social issues and to vote in all elections.

    I have reported infrastructure hazards, zoning violations and criminal problems in this small neighborhood with few responses or action from local government or police. I have done this on my own and at the request of neighbors through the years who knew I had worked for City government. All I can do is all I can do and; to quote Stephen King “If it isn’t enough, it will have to be enough”.

  10. Aside from voting for the democratic candidates, I have given up on indiana and look forward to retinae leaving

  11. My husband and I live in a red area of Western North Carolina. It is difficult to not find tvs in businesses tuned to Fox. Most of our neighbors are Republicans. It has been challenging.

    Never having been political before, we decided to attend a precinct meeting of the county Democratic Party. Very few people showed up. There were barely enough to vote for leadership roles in the precinct, but somehow our curiosity was piqued.

    We got invited to a meeting held by some young people on the Obama staff to stir up fervor for his candidacy, and volunteered to phone bank. We also started attending monthly Democratic discussion group breakfasts.

    It wasn’t long after that first precinct meeting that we learned its chair had been killed in a plane crash and that a new one was needed. Knowing that my husband, a retired senior citizen, had been in leadership positions during his working life I said, “You could do that. Why don’t you volunteer?”

    He decided to take on the job and for ten years, applying his excellent organizational and communication skills, he did this best to keep in touch with Precinct members and encourage them to become active in the party and helped educate them about candidates and Democratic positions, as well as canvasing throughout the area, some of which was a bit scary.

    I became involved, as well, administering a Facebook page and group for the county party, and became the photo archivist for our activities. Sadly, one day I found I couldn’t post anything on our Facebook page. We were told we had violated “community standards” and were shown a list of them. We could not determine what we did wrong and Facebook ignored our pleas for reinstatement. To this day, that page is unpublished and we’ve lost years of photos, which sadly weren’t backed up. (MY BAD) It is believed that nefarious interests made unwarranted claims against the party to Facebook and they took down our page.

    We have contributed financially to many candidates who were extremely brave to run in a very Republican dominated area where the only candidate qualification for winning seems to be membership in the Republican party. Need I say “Madison Cawthorn”?

    It has been extremely difficult to maintain fervor for Democratic ideals as we’ve seen superbly qualified and earnestly caring candidates fall like dominoes to destructive office holders who vote against the needs of the very people who voted for them.

    My husband’s tenure as precinct chair came to a close after ten years. He was tired of trying so hard to build a precinct of workers, but he moved on to another important job. He is now a member of the county Board of Elections. In that position he is not allowed to be politically active.

    He and other members of the Board of Election are currently fighting against the County Board of Commissioners who are insisting that federal money set aside to give bonuses to additional Poll workers NOT be given to them…even though those Commissioners have no business making a decision like that. What could possibly be their reason? Reminds me of North Carolina’s decision not to participate in Medicaid.

    The fight goes on. The ignorance here is huge, with many, many people buying in to unbelievable conspiracy and anti-vax theories. Maintaining a bright outlook is a major challenge, but we’re not giving up.

  12. I am a very politically active person and once I know that a person is a trump supporter, I judge and dismiss them.

    Lately, I have been thrown into the medical world…hospitals, doctor’s offices, home healthcare etc.
    Suddenly the lines have blurred…everyone is the same…everyone demonstrates compassion and empathy…we are all in the same boat. Politics do not matter.

    I really believe that this has helped me realize that there is hope for this Country. I think most people are this way.
    We hear about the radicals and the people of hate. Maybe that helps the ratings.

    I dunno…but…I think we can all attempt to spread compassion in our own way.
    That could slowly change things.

  13. I’m 70 years old and believe that: intersectionality – racism, sexism, classism and (at a minimum) homo/transphobias – are our prime problems and that we white, primarily het, upper-middle class men are about 80-90% of the problem. Caring White Men Sharing Together – http://www.CaringWhiteMen.com – is my latest project- trying to get white men – talking regularly on zoom- kickoff – July 13th – very soon! I’m a volunteer with Braver Angels – http://www.braverangels.org. I helped co-found and am active in the Jewish Circle and the Chicago Chapter of Organizing White Men for Collective Liberation (www.OWMCL.org). I also am a small group facilitator in the Internal Liberation monthly calls of OWMCL. Related to OWMCL – I work 5-7+ hours/week in local mutual aid work – helping in packing, sorting, getting food and other necessities for and to the drivers who deliver them to poor families in West and NW Chicago. I’m in a solidarity circle with other men meeting monthly on zoom – with: STAND (Standing Together and Nurturing Dissent (www.standbayarea.com). I’m in a personal growth group, circle and other small with Victories for Men (a local Chicago men’s group)- http://www.VictoriesForMen.org, read a lot – writing book reviews in my two blogs – at: http://www.WorkingTowardsEndingRacism.blogspot.com and http://www.GeorgesWorldOnTheWater.blogspot.com. Besides this – I also take care of myself – in various ways so I can sustain my work.

  14. I became increasingly concerned about diversity, equity and inclusion issues. To address this issue I have become more active in my local League of Women Voters and am co-chair of the DEI Committee.

  15. I fear in my case Lester is right, to a certain degree. The results of the 2016 election devastated me. I fell apart, cried for a week, then got very angry and started financially supporting organizations that would fight for what is dearest to my heart, hoping they have the skills and lawyers to fight more effectively than I do as an individual, five environmental groups as well as Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
    I also sent money to various politicians and political groups that were fighting for the things I believe in. For months I called and e-mailed the politicians who were suppose to be representing me in Washington, but weren’t – Burr, Tillis and Meadows – weekly, letting them know where I stood on the issues and encouraging them how I’d like them to vote on certain bills. Since I’m a liberal, you can imagine how ineffective that was. I still shoot them an occasional opinion, but not nearly so often.
    After the 2016 election, I actually broke down and joined a church, when I found one as progressive as I am. I’m an introvert who for the most part steers clear of organizations, but this congregation is very socially active, donating 16% of their income to charity. We often join demonstrations in front of the court house supporting progressive issues. I personally don’t think that accomplishes much, but…perhaps?
    I was so outraged by the Republican party’s candidate for NC House District 11 that I changed financial advisers. Madison Cawthorne’s father, Roger, was picked by my husband to be our financial adviser back in 2011. After my husband died, I stuck with him, but started becoming disillusioned when he said “What’s wrong with Trump?” When his son, who was home schooled and had only one semester of college, started a running for Congress with no qualifications whatsoever and very white supremacist views, I could no longer allow his family to profit from my savings. Perhaps a petty decision, but I no longer had confidence in Roger’s judgement, seeing the son he’d produced, not to mention putting my money where my mouth is. Unfortunately, his handsome face and perhaps also because of his handicap, the result of a car accident over spring break in Florida when he was only 18 (what responsible parent allows their child to do that at that age?!?) he is now our representative in Washington. Not my choice
    At 73, my energy is not what it once was, but I volunteer weekly at a nonprofit bookstore that supports over 100 local nonprofits and the Interfaith Assistance Ministries, a crisis relief center. I am not active in our local Democratic group because I’m not good at talking to people.
    I’m doing all I can do, perhaps not up to Lester’s
    standard. I’ll let you judge.

  16. Locally, I see our biggest challenge is to continue to appropiately fund and protect public schools.
    Even in my County, a reliably conservative and wealthy place to live, our rural schools have about 40% of student population on free and reduced lunch. That number is higher of course in our two major city schools.
    Yet our State Senators and Representatives are continuing to advocate using taxpayer’s money to fund the private and religious schools, making it difficult to do what it takes to run our systems effectively and meet the needs of these students.
    I have written letters and made phone calls, knowing it mostly falls on the deaf ears of those Republican elected officials.
    Before Covid, I also made trips to Indy, on political action days sponsored by ISTA, to speak with my legislators.
    While it seems to make no difference to them, I will continue to speak on behalf of my less than fortunate kiddos who will be the ones to ultimately suffer at the hands of the Republican legislators who have forgotten “the poor will always be with us.”
    Meanwhile, this 68 year old Granny will continue to work each election to register voters and staff our polling station.
    Since retirement, I have been working both early elections and the day of, so that voters can have a knowledgeable staff member to answer questions and help them cast their ballot.
    I’m also not afraid to speak up and will continue to address anyone who spreads misinformation.
    The lesson I learned years ago- “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

  17. As an additional bit of political action on my part; but not realizing the facts till decades later…

    I was raised in a staunch Republican family and neighborhood where racism and bigotry were the norm, even as a small child this didn’t “feel right” to me. We were not a religion oriented family and my mother and I never shared a “mother/daughter” closeness. She sent me to the Methodist Church every Sunday for years with a nickel tied in the corner of my handkerchief but did not attend any church. Until becoming active in the Republican party where our polling place was the Union Congregational Church; she became a member of the church, raising her position to Republican Precinct Vice Committeewoman. One Sunday she made me feel very happy by asking me to attend church with her; when we arrived she headed upstairs for the services and sent me to the basement to babysit children too young to attend. At 12 years of age I became one of her donations to the Republican party. Not understanding her political reasons, I quietly returned to the Methodist Church to my end babysitting duties.

    Republican mothers and fathers today are still offering up their children on the Republican evangelical altars around the country; thus building the staunch Republican party as a White Nationalist religious cult.

  18. I don’t know how much effect my actions and words have, but one of my favorite quotes is “Dripping water changes rock.” So I do what I can and hope.
    I have worked for two local candidates. I call my legislators often. I have participated in several marches at the capitol building and attended a meeting at the office of Todd Young.
    I do continue to participate on Facebook, trying to counter misinformation without antagonizing. And I post your column every day with an introductory quote from the column to stress the main idea.
    I have to believe that staying informed and speaking up will have some cumulative effect.

  19. as you mostly know i lurk from NoDak, sorry i havent been engaging, but i still do 16 hours a day and spend the rest of the time looking for a place to park my semi and find something besides junk food to eat. many here over the years have read my tiraids about trumpers who i engage with,daily in the blue collar working class.. the convestaions face to face, can be challenging. i dont social media except here. finding new inroads here from the people engaging here in the daily subjects. i bounce off the many facts,and look up many a mention of your facts and knowlege. i find like offerings and add to my files. being ready to debunk the ignorance in conversation. if you talk with the common trumper,many just a parroted whats been yelled into thier ears. i have met few who,read about anything they are told. im not being a know it all in thier
    presence,im in conversation about democracy.the guns suts and guns bunch and why thay can spout
    out and not get arrested for sedition,or whatever. seems since the 1/6 crowd pleaser some have hidden thier voice and havent approached further conversation,nor have i talked about it. many i believe have had a second thoughts about 1/6. the trump is a place where they want to be but some have said,we could have elected another republican,other than trump. trump is a mind state in some now,and trump may have tripped over the wire with many here in NoDak.
    but the issue isnt just democracy,ive raised the question,what is the end game of the republicans,and what alternative do we have other than our goverement? as i figure its a corprate made authoritaraianism and the people loose the right to opinion and gain a restrictive democracy.(bastardized) like putins world..seems the god,guts and guns bunch think its not relivent,it will survive as they squander its gifts by the shit they spew,and think..you can invest in face,,in twit,into poeple hiding behind a endless mirror of silos, ready to pounce on the first negitive words from who knows, id rather talk face to face and see human emmotion rise to defend its core beliefs. but we all know the past, but as long as thier people who lived in a real world where democracy wasnt a way of life,there will be the voice of the ones who can tell you what your wasting,and how valuble it is. many a immigrants will atest to that,and maybe why some dont like immigrants…one encounter can make a diffrence,and many encounters can make the conversation. democracy, isnt a byword,its how we invest back into our nation as whole. may with the silver spoon shoved up his ass,are the ones who forgot how they got here..
    ortega again is becoming a dictator,arresting people for speaking out,seems Nicaragua is again a dangerous place again because he isnt getting his way..this could be a conversation,in how trumps republicans could be related to.. best wishes,

  20. I consider income inequality to be our worst long term problem. I am a member of a local group that meets to determine which actions we need to take to improve the lives of the community. Once we decide, we lobby local and state officials to take specific actions. Additionally, I provide support to the local food banks and donate to groups like Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, and Doctors without Borders. I have had to give up volunteering at a local soup kitchen, due to physical problems. That is my biggest regret.

  21. As I expected, and Sheila probably did too, everyone reading this blog and/or participating, has added their energy toward making this world a better place. I suppose those who follow Trump also believe that their efforts are making a difference by fighting baby-brain sucking pedophiles who’ve taken over the government.

    Unfortunately, there is a huge swath, that have chosen denial and/or apathy. The ignorance is bliss crowd. This crowd has always comprised the majority who are complicit in their silence. Who prefer their comfortable positions and don’t care to rock the boat either way. MLK, Jr. said these folks were the most disappointing of all.

    Plato promised that apathy would lead us to being ruled by our inferiors. Thomas Jefferson feared that if the free press didn’t do its job that the government would become the same wolves who ruled the economy. It’s all interconnected because society was constructed with checks and balances on power to keep the wolves from oppressing his fellow man.

    It’s too late for that…the bigger question is will our efforts make a difference in thwarting our own destruction? I’m not feeling too confident and young people across the globe are getting beyond restless.

  22. Excellent idea and call-out!

    Most recently, I’ve defended local parks against privitization schemes (e.g. Community Health Network’s offices in Indy’s Broad Ripple Park) and advocated for much needed new parkland and greenspaces. Not the “most threatening” social problem, but one which is possible for an engaged citizen to locally influence. Also active in water quality and land use issues via several community groups and participation in zoning hearings. More interesting for this retiree than golf.

    “In this sprawl development… Is democracy really going to survive? If we are no longer creating a world in which we meet one another in public places and learn to understand the problems of one another, then I think the whole democratic experience is in danger.”
    Robert Campbell, architectural critic, The Boston Globe

  23. 1. Political vitriol, racism, sexism, poverty, inequities, hunger
    A. Very active in politics, as a proud Democrat, trying to break down political vitriol and stupidity
    B. Working with corporate leadership, public and private shatter the glass ceilings preventing people who do not look like me access to the table in the room
    C. Volunteering at Fletcher Place and Crooked Creek Food Bank to feed people
    D. Lobbying political leadership to tie economic development incentives to grocery store development

  24. Until recently I have been active politically. Declining health has kept me from my usual activities around voter registration, campaigning, and organizing. These days my efforts for a better world are focused on supporting my local food bank and personally feeding whatever homeless cross my path as well as helping to maintain my little neighborhood.

  25. The problems are legion: straight white Christian male supremacy, the current attack on voting rights, climate change, gerrymandering ( which has resulted in a congress that does not reflect the wishes of the majority), income inequality, systemic racism, lack of support for public education, etc.
    I have attended marches, contacted my Senators, sent donations to candidates and causes, signed petitions, made phone calls for a candidate, joined women’s groups, and voted.

  26. A) although on a limited income – I donated about 2% of my gross income ;ast year to Democratic and Progressive candidates. B0 also I Am the D committee person here. C) Am working on a idea to name a park after the two Black women who – 1) stood up against our lynching – demanding accountability for the murderers) – 2) led desegregation efforts in the 50’s and went on to be first Black D Central Committee officer, state NAACP leader and general unceasing advocate to justice. And D) plan to parlay that effort into creating an effort to create empowerment as reparation here in Marion.
    Oh – btw I am White and a former elected official

  27. M.L. King shared these words on white moderates in a powerful letter he sent while he was in Alabama’s Birmingham jail in April 1963.

    “I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”

    My self I am a White Baby Boomer Democratic Socialist who has demonstrated, protested, marched and donated time, money and effort to various political campaigns over the years.

  28. Well,

    Firstly I would have to say that the most active individuals that I’ve noticed on this blog,

    Lester is extremely active! (CommonGoodGov) and in our conversations/interactions off the grid so to speak, the read local, eat local, and shop local elements that he melds into his activism is quite impressive.

    Marv, although he doesn’t comment here anymore, and one I worry about because I haven’t been able to contact him recently, was an individual who use the courts to try to level the playing field! And, by really investigating the things that he had to say, he was right in the middle of everything concerning civil rights and equality.

    Both of these men have taken their own personal time and treasure to work on their own visions, and and organizing vehicles so to speak to get where one would need to go and make things better!

    These are those who I’ve interacted with away from this blog. And, I focused on certain things that I never really thought about before, as both would talk about supporting local businesses and media!

    So, my Amazon is gone, my subscriptions to local newspapers is active, hard copies, and digital. And, a well-known national media outlet.

    I also feel is important feed those who cannot feed themselves, so personally, I spend a lot of time picking up hundreds of pounds of food a week and delivering it to those who are in need.

    But, not only do you need to nourish the body, you need to nourish the mind, you need to nourish the spirit!

    “Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest. The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.” ― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man.

    Without hope, there is no faith! Without faith, there is no hope! (John Sorg)

    Remember, Barack Obama always talked about hope and change! But, he left out faith!

    Hope can mean trust, it’s a reliance, a desire that is accompanied with an expectation of what is desired. The belief in that expectation, the hopeful expectation of what is attainable!

    The Greek verb El’pis is the word for hope, the “expectation of good” in Hebrew, Qa’wah also is the word for hope, it means to ” wait for with eager expectation” now of course you’re probably recognizing that the Hebrew and Greek directly correlate to biblical translations.

    Hope directly correlates with faith. Faith is the basis for hope and the evidence for conviction concerning unseen realities!

    The point is, no matter what we desire to change or how we feel we can change the seemingly unchangeable, without hope and without faith, you will definitely fail. Moses talked at length about hope and faith, Abraham, talked at length about hope and faith, Jesus Christ, talked at length about hope and faith.

    How many individuals have said the word Amen? This word is directly related to “Emeth”
    and, comes from the translated phrase, A’man, which denotes a sense of trustworthiness, faithfulness, steadfastness, firmly established and long-lasting.

    So when we say amen to that, you are putting a lot on the line, whether you realize it or not. Do you have that sort of feeling for your fellow man? Without following those guidelines loving your neighbor, taking care of the widows, the fatherless children, the foreign residents, and even your enemy, the whole hope and faith issue is no and void.

    When lying becomes the norm, when deceit and dishonesty become “the way” and there is no moving forward, there is no betterment of mankind, because those who don’t know any better, will never change their Outlook while they feed their basest instincts. Instead of love, they hate! Instead of embracing truth, they make up lies and conspiracies! Like I said before, history is cyclical, and, if individuals just follow their conscience, as Paul said, the righteous hearted laws are imprinted on the heart and or bad, no matter religion or affiliation. It can either give you praise or condemn! It’s your choice.

  29. I’m not into bragging about what I think a citizen is obligated to do if we are to maintain and expand our democratic system. I have held signs, marched, contributed to state and national campaigns (and rather generously to our two senators from Georgia), agitated for change in wage and wealth distribution etc. As I often write here and elsewhere, I consider our democracy to be the most important asset we hold in common, and one of the last few things we have worth dying for (as many have). Democracy, like many other worthwhile and vital institutions, is fragile, and must be attended to 24 hours a day. Our major task as citizens is to attend to it.

  30. The right turn of the Supreme Court, aided by Mitch McConnell’s hypocrisy, is my greatest concern. To address that, I wrote 500 letters and made 500 phone calls to voters in the run-up to the 2020 election. I donated what I could to Dem Senate candidates in key races.

  31. I try to be the change I want to see in the world. For me that means treating everyone with respect including the woman in my neigborhood who was an open Trump supporter. ( Yes, she is white.)It also means doing what I can to save the earth and empowering minorities and women.

    Ms.Kendall please let me know how I can donate to you. Is there a website or some other way I can support your run for the state legislature?

    I donate to Equality Now, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List. I donated to Amy McGrath’s run for the Senate.

    I read emails from my state Senator JD Ford so I can be an informed voter, and I return the surveys sent by him and Rep.Cherrish Pryor.

    As an introvert, I can be more productive “behind the scenes”, so to speak. So, if I were to be more politically active, I would have to stuff envelopes, make phone calls, help with speech writing, and donate.

    I just subscribed to “The Flip Side” which allows me to view civil debate between conservatives and liberals.

    I watched a TED talk by a gentleman who informed his audience what the primary concerns of conservatives and progressives are. This has helped me understand what I would need to do to bridge the divide.

    Usually, ( except for Emily’s List and Amy McGrath)I don’t donate to national campaigns because of all the dark money. When I do, it’s often to a progressive under dog, so to speak. I want to see campaign finance reform with teeth in it before I donate to national campaigns.

    I am deeply disturbed by the fact that one person in the state legislature obstructed the bipartisan bill to create an independent nonpartisan commission to end politicized gerrymandering. Shiela, I know you helped create that bill. I would love to know what we as the citizens of Indiana can do to support this effort. I hope it is not too late but am aware that it probably is.

    Thanks Shiela and Lester for giving us this topic that has led to a more positive focus. It’s so easy to identify problems and discuss them. It’s so hard to suggest solutions to the challenges facing our state and nation. I would love to see us talk about points to make with Republicans to help us bridge the divide.

  32. Party over country and income inequality . I support with dollars, time and staying informed(not so easy now days.) some Progressive values may or may not be good things, But people will fight harder against having things shoved at them. better to actually accomplish something, than just irritate that big wall of ignorance.

  33. “Remember, Barack Obama always talked about hope and change! But, he left out faith!”

    John Peter Sorg; if you read Barack Obama’s book “The Audacity of Hope” you should understand that he referred to the political hope of a return of both parties sitting at the bargaining table to seek solutions to this country’s problems. He was wise not to put any faith in the Republican party; and look was the Republican White Nationalist evangelicals have done to faith as you refer to the word. He maintained separation of church and state; could that be his reason for not including the word faith? He proved himself to be a faithful man and politician and, I can only speculate, has maintained his hope for a return to true faith in this government and the country.

  34. From the “challenger” – many thanks to Sheila on this most appropriate weekend. Likewise to all of you for your efforts – many brought tears and happy smiles. At 75, most of us are in the same cohort, I am guessing also trying to show that “60”s people” didn’t ruin the world.

    While I routinely registered and canvassed every election, it wasn’t until 2016 that I “cranked it up”. That election brewed fear I had never had, combined with the birth of our first grandchild and concern for the world he would live in.

    My focus issue was/is the US House, where the sausage of budgets and bills occur. Its respect among voters is below 15% and falling. It is correctly perceived as being full of “career politicians/’pols'” who put Party, ideology, personal power, money over country.

    So I and 40 citizens started CommonGoodGoverning, aimed at replacing such House members with servant leaders. Our work is to help connect these candidates and their campaigns with folks who don’t always vote, minorities and young people. Since 2017, we have helped more than 60 candidates, all very long shots, most of whom never had run for public office. Twenty-six have made it to the general elections, with four winning in 2018 – Conor Lamb (PA), Elissa Slotkin (MI), Dean Phillips (MN), Elaine Luria (VA). In 2020, we added Kathy Manning (NC) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA). Four are now in the Problem Solvers Caucus, the only effective bi-partisan group in DC.

    We have done this without any website or Facebook page. We prefer more human contact, email and telephone. We are now 1230 and growing and gearing up for the 2022 election, likely the most dangerous for the future of our democracy.

  35. I am very active in many online and community activities through the League of Women Voters as well as Common Cause and local environmental groups. This includes tabling events and providing educational presentations on voting issues, redistricting reform, and the importance of native plants. My concerns are many – they include environmental issues, voting rights/redistricting, gun violence, health care, and others.

  36. My biggest concerns include the separation of church and state, so the Christian/Evangelical White right is a major issue. I get riled up about GQP, and right-wing gas lighting, and projection; gerrymandering, voter suppression, bigotry, sexism, SCOTUS idiocy, and more.
    I spend much time, on the internet signing petitions, sending letters (even to my -now-Fl. congressmen, in the hope that I’m at least annoying, though I doubt that that even that happens, though I want them, or their stuff, to know that there are people out here who totally disagree with their perspective), and I am the VP for conservation within my local Audubon Society chapter, trying to keep still more of my area from being paved over. I am too blunt to ever enter politics, per se. A cousin asked me to help make phone calls to voters in Kentucky, where she lives, running up to the last election. I said that I would not be a good pick for this, because if I came across, as I certainly would, Trumpists who would resist my efforts, I could not remain calm and engage in discussion, but would tell them where to go. She said that that was exactly what her husband (the blood cousin) had said.
    I am one of those people I read about, years ago, who is a “spreader,” of info, as I forward all sorts of politically relevant info to many people, daily. Some of them never direcly respond, some of them say “Thanks, I just signed that petition, too.”

  37. Another lurker here, whose first daily online activity is to read you and Heather Cox Richardson. I’m six months past my 80th birthday and have had to abandon the activisism I used to participate in, dating back to the Occupy movement and pipeline protests in Washington, DC (I live in Maine). Because I am hearing impaired and mildly physically disabled, I’m no longer physically protesting or making phone calls.
    I am deeply depressed about the division in our country and especially in Congress, but my greatest concern is climate change. In this respect I have been reading, studying, enrolling in seminars and attending lectures over the past 10 or 12 years. I bring it up at every opportunity; I belong to several Facebook groups on the topic; I write to my Congress critters and stay in touch with my local representative (whose mind I have changed despite the fact that he’s a Republican). I own an electric car and I support solar farms in my area. Given my limitations, I do what I can on a fixed income to inform and persuade, to raise awareness.

  38. Thanks for all you do, Sheila!

    Since retiring four years ago as a public school principal, I left my beloved Indiana to spend my “golden years” in a blue state that has glaringly red pockets – I grew weary of my fellow Hoosiers continually voting against their own best interests. Once relocated, I spent the next four months knocking on doors to help Jared Polis (our nations first openly gay governor) get elected.

    I believe that poverty is our most serious problem. I volunteer with a local St. Vincent de Paul group that maintains a local food bank. We also help our “neighbors in need” with rental assistance and, through Energy Outreach Colorado, we help zero out utility bills.

  39. Gerrymandering and voting restrictions are my biggest concerns. For Hoosiers on here who share these cocerns, please join Common Cause, All in For Democracy and League of Women Voters to fight for Fair Maps. Indiana Citizen Redistricting Commission is a model to show legislators how fair maps can be and should be done to give communities a voting voice (racial and ethnic groups, respect for city and county boundaries, partisan balance). I’ve never written so many letters. Learn more on https://www.lwvin.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=42001&module_id=452896.
    Join the mapping contest through All IN For Democracy to come up with Fair Maps. Let legislators know how you care. Contact https://www.lwvin.org/ for info on a league near you and how you can work with members of these nonpartisan commissions . I’m retired but working hard to educate voters on how gerrymandering let’s legislators choose their voters, rather than letting voters choose legislators. If legislators felt they had to listen to voters, we’d be making more progress on social justice, early childhood education, to improve social diversity, equity and inclusion. We will be stuck with gerrymandered maps for 10 more years unless people hold legislators accountable this year. Tell US SENATORS to vote for S1. Demand state legislators provide transparent maps and get public input to protect community voices. Let the Governor know you want fair maps. Thanks for the opportunity to share what we’re doing besides posting. I sure hope some of the posters will join forces with the League and Common Cause to work for fair maps. The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan, but political in working hard for a more perfect democracy, starting with fair maps that make every vote count.

  40. I view the top threats to democracy to be (tied for first place) 1) environmental degradation and 2) ignorance/complacency. I believe democracy will be under threat from the problems caused by unchecked climate change. Further, ignorance of and complacency regarding this threat, a product of a combination of poor education and willful disregard for science and evidence, are responsible largely for #1.

    To combat these threats personally I:

    a) always vote
    b) volunteer as a reading tutor at an IPS public school (at least, I did before the pandemic)
    c) pray for the world, because as a mainline Protestant Christian I don’t hold that the deity is happy that the deity’s creation is being fouled up by humans
    d) give money to environmental groups
    e) don’t use pesticides/herbicides on the land
    f) minimize my carbon footprint
    g) plant native plants
    h) as an IUPUI employee, educate my peers, students, and staff about how the university committed a social injustice when it displaced residents of the neighborhood
    i) as an historian of the American Civil War, in my publications and public speeches, highlight the fact that the war was fought over human-chattel slavery
    j) encourage my colleagues to contact legislators to urge independent redistricting reform, because gerrymandered legislative districts are the root cause for many injustices and social ills
    k) work on an employee committee to implement environmentally friendly policies and practices in the work place by my employer and my colleagues, and to teach students to lead “greener” lives.
    l) raised my child to think critically, love the world and all humanity, and act for the common good.

  41. Wow.
    I am an Active Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) advocate and belong to 4 national level groups and regularly sign requests to support legislation they bring forth. They get money also.
    I bring these efforts to my local Congressperson – Mike Levin from the 49th.
    I support with time and energy two local GVP groups: San Diego 4 Gun Violence Prevention (SD4GVP) and the local MOMs chapter here in north county San Diego.
    I was the GVP Coordinator for my UU fellowship but sadly that group is all bobble heads and no substantial action. 3 or 4 out of 250. Really sad. I have sponsored and put on 8 consecutive Candle light vigils in support of GVP on the anniversary of Sandy Hook.
    I am a member of the North County SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice) and am a member of the nation chapter.
    I have walked, talked, and participated in both personal growth and outreach in dealing with White Racism. I am not the racist I was, trying.
    I am active in local politics and a member of our local Dem Club: Encinitas North County Democratic Club.
    Wear Orange is my symbol.
    I read and support lots of progressive organization, my local favorite is Encinitas 4 Equality. A grass roots organization that is working to bring social justice to this white community.
    I am known by all the members of my city council.
    I am a teacher.
    I vote. I belong to LWV.
    I give money.
    I write postcards.
    I belong to The Lincoln Project and Braver Angels. I have attended and regularly participate in discussions.

  42. The biggest problem America faces now, IMHO, is the lying by the Republicans and Trump and the extent to which they have hooked vulnerable disciples into believing whatever they are told. Those lies and Trump supporter gullibility led to the insurrection, and is responsible for people refusing vaccination, the latter of which could kill Americans unnecessarily. There will continue to be internal turmoil stirred up by Trump and sanctioned by Republicans.

    What many don’t know or realize is the extent to which social media is used to continue spreading Trump lies. There are people I have been acquainted with who shock me when they post comments they got from alt-right media on Facebook, even people who are educated. Here’s the problem: when you tell them, for instance, that mainstream media is not censoring the truth by refusing to publish the lie about ANTIFA posing as Trump supporters at the insurrection to make him look bad, they go on the offensive. When you counter them with facts, for example, that the Proud Boys, White Supremacists and other groups admit they were there, they block you. I told one such person who just couldn’t stop repeating the ANTIFA LIE that she was gullible, so she de-friended me. I have other acquaintances who glibly send out almost-daily pro-Trump tweets and facebook postings, and some of them are so extreme that it is almost frightening. Some of these dopes really believe America is on the verge of civil war, and would be willing participants. Then, there’s the endless lies about Biden being senile, that he is really the puppet of some sinister group, that Harris got to be VP because she is a slut…the list goes on. Problem is, these people really believe these things.

    Then, there are the anti-vaxxers. One reason I think they refuse to be vaccinated is the campaign by the alt-right to do everything possible to sabotage Biden’s presidency. They don’t want him to appear successful, and will do everything possible to prevent his success. Yes, there are the lies about the vaccine containing tracking devices, or that it can alter your DNA, but the real reason the gullibles are prosetylized into refusing vaccination is to thwart Biden’s presidency. The believers accept whatever lies they are told. The problem is that if the Delta variant keeps spreading, more illness will happen because it is 60% more virulent, it will spawn more variants, and eventually the vaccines we’ve received won’t work. How to contest lies when the faithful refuse to listen to facts, and when they’ve been indoctrinated not to believe science, which is what Trump has done to this country?

    One thing I think we must do is push back to the extent we can. Use whatever platform you can find to counter lies with the truth, including social media platforms. Will it be enough? I fear not, because who in their right mind would believe Trump is a self-made billionaire, a “perfect physical specimen”, that he didn’t cheat to get into the White House, and that, despite 4 straight years of below 50% approval ratings and every poll predicting his loss, that he not only won, but won by a landslide?

  43. Climate Crisis is #1. I live in central Mexico(but I am American, active citizen at that) and 25 years ago I started a nonprofit, http://www.mujeresencambio.org, to give rural, campesina, girls an education. The government does not pay past 6th grade. So we started with 7 girls in Jr High; then as High School became a reality ,via TV to a school room, we continued. Now a Uni campus is available. We now have 170 girls a year with 50 in University. AND WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH CLIMATE CHANGE?
    Visit http://www.drawdown.org for 100 Solutions to Climate Crisis. I was very excited to learn that Solution #6, Education of Girls, PLUS #7, Family Planning, is the NUMBER 1 Solution to carbon drawdown! There are about 300 million girls, worldwide, who don’t go to school past elementary, if even that. Education for Girls is the First Step. But check out Drawdown.org, because there are various solutions that can be applied in local communities. Georgeann Johnson

  44. It’s good to see so many here are and have been activists of long-standing. Me too. I’ve been attending political meetings and distributing literature since I was five. Voter registration, education and persuasion, turnout, precinct data analysis and targeting, coalition building, lobbying, and financial support to candidates, the party, interest groups and PACs have been my life’s work. Now retired, I don’t do as much of all that, but old habits die hard. I’m still an activist and educator at heart.

  45. I do as much as I can abroad. I am a member of Democrats Abroad and was considering a group leader position before covid. Today is a Democrats Abroad 4th of July picnic in Basel that I hope to attend, weather permitting. I vote every cycle. When I lived in Arizona, I marched in the Red for Ed to keep Doucy from taking away funding for Teachers. I would have marched in the silent BLM march here in Basel had it not been covid because I was self quarantining at home. When George Floyd died, the whole world watched that video and there were protests all over Europe. When the women’s march happened in DC on January 21, 2016, we had a march here in Basel with pussy hats and all. Americans are living all over the world. Their influence is felt.

    The worst thing though is that we received calls and text messages from callers for the 2020 election for weeks that actually pissed me off. Election day especially, we received 20+ messages while we slept. We need to make sure that we are not overwhelming those that do vote with these calls and messages after we inform them that we have, in fact, voted by mail. I don’t want to participate in calling people about voting because it’s just not my thing.

    I wanted to work with Habitat for Humanity when I lived in AZ but they force you to work the retail store before they will assign you a spot on a house they are building so I didn’t sign up. I will not work a retail store ever again, thank you very much but I am a talented painter and would have loved to do that instead. They lost a volunteer by making that requirement.

    I want to thank you for this post. Your posters have given me many ideas about how to be more active (even abroad) when I return to the states again. I will be looking up all of these organizations and will be volunteering my time. Thanks everyone for your posts.

  46. My wife and I, as a team – contributing to campaigns, acting as counsel for voting protection during elections for the past 12 years, knocking on doors on election day in 2004 (the last general I didn’t do voter protection), running for local office, membership on two county commissions (Parks Board and Tourism Board), membership in local party, writing, radio, and television appearances.

  47. I was born into a Republican family and was one for decades. Three decades ago I started hearing the term climate change and thought OMG, change the planet? So being born scientifically curious and have scratched that itch with a degree and career in Mechanical Engineering I thought I better get to learning from the more or more currently educated in the field of climatology. So I did. One of the things that I discovered was that most of the climate issue was just the application of radiative energy transfer of planets in solar space and much of that was straightforward Mechanical Engineering.

    Being naive then I thought that the kerfuffle going on was just a little general ignorance of a specialty that I had so I started teaching it and looking for ways to explain it for people with insufficient education in my field (which is the vast majority of people). The good news is that I am no longer naive.

    Luckily one of my students alerted me to Sheila’s blog and I started learning from the lawyers and teachers here how to write as well as talk, and more importantly, the connection between politics and entertainment media that made the specific problem of addressing climate change just a symptom of a much greater national problem caused by people, mostly rural, whose world is changing around them daily in many threatening ways, trying to resist change by studying Fox News on a more or less 24/7 basis. There they find sympathetic virtual ears and learn nonsense that gives them better tools to resist change. Cult 101.

    Even though less naive now I haven’t given up on the possibility of education as a necessary but insufficient contribution to intervention and recovery of the national brain.

    As was previously noted, dripping water changes rock.

  48. Lurker here:
    I a retired teacher work against the privatization of public education through vouchers and charter schools. Public funds should go to public schools.
    I’m a member of the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education and the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. I’ve spoken (with colleagues) to political groups, community groups, groups of educators, and classes of pre-service teachers describing how the Republican super-majority is slowly but surely defunding public education in Indiana. We also use social media to get the word out. In addition, I have a personal blog where I blog in support of public education.

  49. I write to elected officials regularly. I try to keep writing those who blow me off or say they have not received dissenting opinions like the ones in the messages I send. I write and speak to businesses, public services, managers and people in low paying jobs. When I experience something positive, I say so. I usually try to contrast the positive behavior with the norm, not just inadequate service. When I am treated badly, I also say so. I do not yell (well I did yell once during the COVID-19 lockdown). I try to be specific and speak to what would be not only good service but that also improve the employee experience or business bottom line. I take every opportunity when I am out and about to find a good reason to interact positively with others of every race, creed, color, gender identity and sexual preference. I know I am leaving groups out. Please forgive me. I am an old white man.

  50. (1) Climate change; (2) Active in my church in it’s efforts to address the issues, i.e. solar panels, recycles, tree planting; (2) Actively supporting Earth Charter Indiana; (2) Financially supporting several other organizations

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