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Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting Involved, Why Bother?

Getting involved? Why?

I get involved in my community, in politics etc. because my agenda is “Individual Freedom”

I believe I can only keep or gain my “Individual Freedom” through using it. Through my asserting my right to it; I stake my claim. That is what my blogging and political talk is all about.

But anyone who has watched old westerns dealing with the “gold rush“ knows; the important and hard part is defending that claim.

By making an effort at joining with others of like mind I am finding ways to actually combine with them and affect my community. That is the work of “defending that claim”.

To me that used to be one of the hardest things to do; the idea of walking up to a stranger even though a neighbor and introducing myself was tough. I never considered myself a social butterfly. The odd thing I’m finding is; people for the most part are friendly and interested and happy to at least talk and be civil.
The things and problems we have in common still far outweigh our differences. At the personal neighbor level that is ever so apparent.

I read an article by Michael Gerson in today.


The article talked about a book coming out next year stating how religious people are more apt, three times more apt to be joiners and doers. I pulled this quote out of the article.

Theology is not the predictor of civic behavior; being part of a community is. People become social joiners and contributors when they have friends who pierce their isolation and invite their participation.

That quote dovetailed perfectly into what I’ve been learning. Just the act of walking your neighborhood and making a point to say hi and talking with the people you normally run across, will be in that effort by itself self fulfilling.
One thing will lead to another if you let it and at least in my case I’m getting involved.

I was waiting to get involved. Bob Scolnik asked, I jumped. Others will too if asked.

Individual Freedom is all about learning what you are good at and being able, having the freedom, to strive to do those things you feel rewarded by doing. This may be considered selfish behavior; and not in the public good. But anytime I try to force myself to help others especially if what I’m doing is against my nature, I find that the people I’m “helping” are resentful and not really being helped.

Don't ever lose track of the people no matter how lofty your goals.

We all have seen what decades of government programs in the name of public good has accomplished in getting rid of poverty, helping education, our health etc. Perhaps it is now the time for a resurgence of “Individual Freedom”.

Perhaps it is time for people to stake AND defend that claim to their Freedom.
I’ve helped a neighborhood garden start. The first thing Morning Bear our organizer did was to find gardeners in the neighborhood. This our second year we did accept some financial aid to help buy dirt and lumber for raised beds. We built around twenty beds. We had all volunteer labor (un paid volunteer labor). We sought ought the Lions to help us for free. Three Lions came and one had a small loader. We built and loaded the beds with 26 cubic yards of dirt, we did it in one day. Pastor Phillips was out there all day long with us.

Below are pictures of Love Community Garden. BTW we have a list of gardeners wanting to use these beds. They are ready; yesterday I built a lid for the water trough. Our gardeners are willing to water with watering cans. They want to get planting. One Senior lady with MS was over in her slippers and house robe and Morning Bear our Organizer told me she was nearly in tears because she had her own spot and we had built it along with another one higher to accommodate her. People will be planting this weekend.
click on pics to enlarge.

Next are pictures of a neighborhood garden which patterned itself from our plans. The amount of lumber they ordered was the same. They however ordered twice the amount of dirt. 50 cubic yards. We had the same amount of space to fill and 26 yards was more than enough. We had some left over.
They however built them all twice as high as ours; therefore ending up with half as many plots. This other program still lacks gardeners, I guess they forgot to order them, so I guess it’s ok. It, as you can see by the pictures also lacks volunteers or shovels or both. I heard they are hoping the city can do it for them. They did put the boxes together and I will say that I do wish them luck and hope they do well. In fact I told the lady from the County who is incharge that I would be willing to volunteer, but only if I wasn’t going to be working along side a paid volunteer. I just can’t help but compare what private initiative with a little financial help did compared to a government funded thing run by a full fledged city acknowledged and recognized Neighborhood Organization.

Just the idea of half the beds, and twice the dirt and there was talk of hiring a Americorp person till that was quashed. Also there was way more than twice the money. My suggestion is that they should of first got the gardeners as Morning Bear and Pastor Phillips did last year, then the rest just follows according to the gardeners wishes.

I’ve found the more Individual Freedom I fight for the more I use and value that which I have. Also the less I want given to me and the more Freedom I want instead. I’m learning to enjoy the “work” of Individual Freedom.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative


designated conservative said...

Great post. You are exactly right about the difference in the character and results of a neighborhood project when it comes "from the bottom up." Mostly, we neighbors just need the paternalistic/controlling city administrations to stop unnecessarily getting in our way half the time!

live dangerously said...

Ditto that DC and welcome.
They do get in the way don't they. They seem to have control issues as well.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A conservative

live dangerously said...

BTW Designated Conservative, nice handle. With the libs spending like drunken sailors, we need a designated driver to get us back safely.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

PS if you want to get more involved check this link.