Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'd vote for that............

My dad is very politically involved. I was born in Washington D.C. while my dad was working as a lobbyist for the National Wildlife Federation. Dad is very civic minded and has always been involved in some sort of campaign, project or focus group in some way or another for most of my life. When I was a young person, he headed or worked on political campaigns. He was a campaign manager for a democratic congressional candidate in the most Republican district in the country. They won. He worked for Congressman Orton for many years. This coincided with the years that I was at BYU. He worked just down the road from the campus. We would meet for lunch and I could always catch a ride home to Heber and back again in time for class the next day if I wanted to. I even interned in the Congressman's office for a while. Election time reminds me of my dad. It also reminds me of my birthday. I love November.

My dad is still involved in politics. While he tends to be a little (well, a lot) more conservative on some issues than I am (did you think it was possible to be MORE conservative than me?) I have to admire him for working very hard for what he believes in. We live in a country where most people don't vote. Where "politics" doesn't go farther than dinner conversation or talking about the negative commercials. We live in a country that is deeply divided over many issues and most people don't do more than complain about it. My dad is one of those people in this country that is on the phone, raising money and actively working to make changes that he believes in. They may not be the same thing YOU believe in, but he is doing something. What are you doing? (Me? Not so much......). Many times his "projects" didn't pay much money. Or any money. This meant sacrifices for my family (especially my mom). For right or wrong, his choice was to throw himself behind what he believed in.

This example is part of the reason why I have chosen to be actively involved in projects and organizations that are trying to leave the world a better place than they found it. My children need to see me spending time and energy working in the service of other people. I am involved in some Africa projects (you all know that) but I am also involved in a few other projects that I don't blog about. Ethical adoption issues, birthmother projects, sustainable income projects. Most of the time it is very difficult and uncomfortable for me to see the need that never stops and feel despair in the bottom of my gut that there is so much more to be done in Africa than ANYONE can ever do. I dread seeing the hurt that adoption has caused in the lives of all members of the adoption triad and knowing that adoption is a solution that is not always "happily ever after" for some of it's members. Many days, I feel like putting my head in the sand. I wonder WHY I put myself in situations where I am going to be exposed to hurts and injustices that I can't fix. Why do I do it?

I have thought about this a lot in the last month or so. I think that I know the answer (for myself anyway). I have the privilege of being born a woman in North America in this generation. I have an obligation to those who don't share that privilege. I just do. I have a voice for those who have a voice that isn't as loud as mine. I have access to education and money and privilege that others do not. I can use those things to support those who do not have the privilege of being me. That sounds different than I mean it. I am not saying that other people should be me and that I feel sorry for people who are not born the way I am born. I am not saying that all those who don't have the opportunity to live in America are missing out. I am not talking about being ethno-centric and thinking that our way is the only right way. What I mean is that because I am who I am, when my daughter was having a medical issue this week I knew that I could take her to the doctor. I didn't worry about how I was going to pay for it or wonder if the doctor has the supplies she needed. When I hear that one of my friends is pregnant, I don't think for an instant that they might die and leave the rest of their children at the mercy of the unknown. When my 6 year old daughter had "diary" last week, I didn't even entertain the thought that she will not be alive to go to school next week. Did you? Many people do. Diarrhea kills more kids in our world than almost anything else. Did you know that? HIV is not a terminal illness in our country. It is a chronic one. Did you know that? Not many people die of malaria here (the mosquito is the most deadly animal in the world). I get to take these things for granted.

Now that we have all voted (or at least every Blogger I read voted) lets focus our efforts on other things. Let's take all that "wow, I am a great citizen" feeling and pour it into something that will be tangible for someone else. By the way, you SHOULD feel proud about voting. Very few registered voters bother to. And how easy is voting? I promise you that there is need in your town, in your state and all over the world. Many of the blogs I read on election day mentioned that they were voting and they brought their kids so they could see their parents doing it. To be an example. That is great. The power of example is large. Now, let your kids see you doing other things. Remember that charities need your time AND your money. Most of us have one or the other. Please also remember that a VERY small amount of either can make a HUGE difference to an organization that depends on people like you and I to keep the wheels turning. And, for all the stuff that you guys are already doing. BRAVO!

Tomorrow I am going to post some of my favorite charities that could use the skills that I know many of you have. Some are local (but have chapters in your area). Some are state or national. Some are international. All of them are ones that I have either worked with before or have a working knowledge of their organizations. I am even going to tell you about the trip to Africa that I hope to take in a few months (want to come?). Are you excited yet? :-)

Also, my friend Erin just brought home her little girl, Belane, from Ethiopia. Her story is amazing and you should all read it. Erin has 10 kids now and she is one of the best mothers I know. She is the kind of mom that you see and you think "wow, you should have 20 kids because you are such a good mom". She and her husband went to Ethiopia last year to bring home their son Ben. While there, they visited another orphanage to bring some supplies that they had donated. While there they saw a small girl (who at the time they didn't even think they could adopt) and, well, the rest is history. It is a WONDERFUL story. Erin just wrote about her trip and her journey to bring Belane home. It is on the blog about Transracial Parenting. Grab a bucket of popcorn and a soda and be prepared to shed happy tears. Be sure to comment too (if you can-- or just do it here) because she is going to print them out and give them to Belane.

Happy Thursday!


Amanda/MayhemMama said...

You explained your motivations very well here-- sharing *not* with a paternalistic attititude, but out of gratefulness for the gifts you have been given. I know you're not looking for a pat on the back, but BRAVO to you (and your dad) for working hard for what you believe in.

I'm looking forward to your list of favorite charities.

Betina said...

I have been following Belane's story for a while. Wierd that you know them. What an amazing story.

Jenni said...

Yes, yes, and yes.

Oh, and yes, I do want to go to Africa with you for whatever adventure you're planning. Seriously. Send me the details.

owlhaven said...

Great post.


AzĂșcar said...

I loved Congressman Orton and worked on his re-election campaign (that ended sadly in his defeat to a man who can, on his best days, barely express a coherent thought and on his worst days express bumbling insensitive incoherent thoughts clearly. Oh, and that man keeps getting re-elected.)

I am by nature a political cat. However, I crave the high-minded dialogue of two thinkers vs. the crass bickering of ideologies. It's hard to find someone to discuss politics with that won't get offended. It's easy to find someone who has never thought about their positions and would refuse to even consider an alternative. Let's start a salon.

Thanks for the reminder of our lucky situation and the desparate needs of those around the globe.

Sometimes I think

Bek said...

Carina, you are my gal. I can argue/discuss politics all the live long day. It is exercise for my brain... I don't get offended.

Chris Cannon.....blech....... Nice description of him. Is he STILL there?

plain jane said...

You make a mother proud!!

La Yen said...

Currently I am supporting the "Don't kill your daughter just because she likes to pinch you in the throat" charity. We take donations and then use them to send underpriveleged mothers to the nail place to get a pedicure. But I am sure your charities are worthwile, also.

Bek said...

Yen.....I will add you to the list. That is funny because I am supporting the "don't sell your son to the gypsies even though he has taken a sharpie to every surface in your house in the last three days........even when you don't OWN any sharpies......"

The proceeds of mine go toward a trip to the spa. For me.

Amber said...

What a wonderful post and I can't wait to read about your recommended charities!!

Dana said...

CYE! :)