I used to be political.
I had opinions, strong opinions, about Big Important Things. Things that mattered. Things like global warming and peak oil, No Child Left Behind, abortion, welfare, Head Start, healthcare reform. And I wasn't afraid to tell anyone those opinions. I did it respectfully, but I said what was on my mind. I wrote letters to my members of congress, almost daily. I was going to change the world.
That was when I was young and knew everything.
It definitely changed when I had kids, but it changed even before that. Some of it changed when I started teaching kids, when I was immersed in that world every day. When the 15 year old girl crying in my room at lunch mattered more than the discussion happening on the floor of the Supreme Court. At least it seemed that way.
Well, it did and it didn't.
I want the world my kids grow up in to be one in which they are safe and loved, where they can breathe clean air and drink clean water, where they know and believe that people are equal because that is the way the world around them treats people. I want my elected officials to make the right choices, and I vote for people who I believe will do that more often than they won't. I act on my principles, and I make choices based on the kind of world I want them to live in.
But I don't want to talk about it anymore.
I do think something about the world changed. The way we do politics is different because of social media; it's retail instead of wholesale. In some ways it's grassroots again, and that is good. It's admirable.
But something about me changed too. I don't believe I know everything anymore. And while there are some things I firmly believe to be true and right, with all my heart and soul, it's hard to think of the people who hear my words as being on the *wrong* side of those things. Because really, I think that anyone who is in a position to really listen to what I say is probably, in some way or another, on the right side of their heart with everything that matters.
And if they aren't, it isn't my words that will make a difference.
I still want to save the world. But as far as I'm concerned, the crying girl in my classroom DID matter more than the floor of the Supreme Court. The baby in my arms, the friend texting me for support, the bullied mom who needs backup, those are causes I can affect.
And maybe, some day, one of my students or one of my girls or I will be standing in front of congress, as a member or as an expert, and will have something to say about one of those issues that Really Matters, and then we will speak, we will all speak.
But until then, I'm still trying to save the world. I'm just doing it with the one gift I have that's more powerful than my words. My love and kindness.
Because in the end, that's what I believe Really Matters most