Register to Vote, Advocate, Educate, and Act
It is tempting to retreat, to hide, to lament the state of our world. We have, according to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), a mere 10 years before our earth becomes irreparably and dangerously over-heated; our Supreme Court, unless the Justices heed Elena Kagan’s recent warnings about the loss of the high court’s credibility, will be an impoverished reflection of our divided polity, rather than a judiciously deliberative body; and women, whose memories are sharp and whose pain is true, find themselves questioned and repudiated.
Nevertheless, this is not a time to despair. Many issues are pressing, and our country needs clear-headed voices to challenge wrongs when we see them and to speak out, even when we fear we may not be heard!
Traditionally, the League of Women Voters faces adversity in varied, productive ways. Most obviously, yet most urgently, we register citizens and urge them to vote. Every issue around fairness at the ballot boxes becomes ours—from voter suppression to voter fraud. To assure fairness, we join town clerks in observing voting venues and re-counting ballots; we file suits to protect voters’ rights; and we argue for a census that does not discriminate and voting districts that allow each ballot to meaningfully count.
And while voting is fundamental, so is the synergistic work of education and advocacy. The League, in this volatile political climate, continues with its practiced regimen of learning, debating, and arriving at consensus. To educate—ourselves and others—we must be informed. To be informed we attend meetings, read newspapers, magazines, and documents, and test our knowledge against others’ sensibilities. We never rely on rumors, headlines, or boisterous belligerencies. Instead, we study issues thoroughly, think carefully, and compare our emerging perceptions with each other and gradually achieve consensus. Hence, we gather to share books, hear perspectives on town initiatives, learn about immigration and affordable housing challenges, and absorb insights from our active Observer Corps.
We also bring speakers to inform us—as Cass Sunstein did on the last evening of September and as Barbara Berenson did the first week of November. We hold informative First Fridays that provide an important opportunity to both learn from and exchange ideas with our local government officials.
Finally, we advocate—we act. After contemplation, we share our emerging consensuses. We work with the Concord Middle Schools to support their civics education of our children, and we undertake a challenging Civics Bee for students & adults in the spring. We write a column each month for the Concord Journal and send articles to the Carlisle Mosquito. And, when necessary, we march—as did the Suffragists 100 years ago and as many did for women’s rights in January 2016 and for Climate Change in 2015.
None of these efforts can be successful, however, without everyone’s engagement and support. That means volunteering to work with committees, attending public events, and expressing your concerns. We cannot be successful without your engagement!
My thanks and respect,
Diane Proctor, President
Past President Corner posts
Download the Fall, 2018 President's Newsletter:
- The LWVUS Election
- What Lies Ahead This Fall
Read Diane's Concord Journal Columns