Tag Archives: community

What Democracy Looks Like When You Have to Disagree With Your Neighbors

As much as I dislike and distrust our current national administration, I also deeply value community harmony.

By . Published 6-8-2017 by YES! Magazine

Protestors gather outside the hotel where Republican Rep. John Faso is scheduled to speak in Schoharie, New York. Congressman Faso has an 89.7% track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. Photo by Reggie Harris.

I’m leafing through a stack of protest signs in the corner of the mudroom, reading the markered letters, looking to see what can be recycled for tonight. The subjects we’ve collected thus far are about human rights and the environment. It looks like we’ll need to draft something fresh and new for tonight, because the topic is health care. Our Republican congressman, John Faso, has an 89.7 percent track record for voting “Yes” on Trump initiatives. He hasn’t been holding town meetings with constituents, he and his staff have stopped responding to letters, I’ve never had a phone call even answered, and his recent vote to repeal ObamaCare in the House has sparked this last minute protest down in the village of Schoharie, New York, where he’s the keynote speaker at a countywide Republican fundraiser. Continue reading

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Why We Do These Things

Typical small town street. Image public domain via WikiMedia Commons.

Typical small town street. Image public domain via WikiMedia Commons.

Richard Nelson is 81. He is a widower, a veteran and my neighbor.

We went away for a few days. We returned unexpectedly late in the night. We were in our house less than 15 minutes when the phone rang. It was Richard.

“Who is this?” he asked when I answered.

He was calling because he thought we were out of town and saw lights on at an unusual time. He knew troublemakers don’t answer the phone, so he called to see if he should call police.

The next day, I took Richard some applecrisp and homemade jelly to thank him for being such a good neighbor. Alarm companies have nothing over this man!

Why do people look out for others? Why do we care if our neighbor is in trouble?

Because it is the right thing to do. Because we want someone to care for us, and we understand these things to be reciprocal. Because that inner voice we all have sometimes speaks loudly to tell us we are all connected in our humanity. We are all neighbors. We are all family.

When was the last time you did something kind for someone just because you could? Look out your window and ask yourself, “Who can I reach out to, and how can I encourage them to pass it on?”

Richard looks out his window all the time. I will always look out for him.

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