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Pull Up A Chair…


We’ve been talking a lot lately about a Senate primary race going on in Connecticut.  It is one of those moments where a single race has pulled together all sorts of elements that interest a whole lot of us:  a veteran Senator who lost touch with his constituents a long time ago, with a penchent for wagging his finger at anyone who dares to call his attention to that fact; an engaging challenger who seems to wear his heart on his sleeve while listening to your issues and then trying to come up with solutions; a press that can’t make up its mind which narrative they want to play up in the swirling currents of the local political scene; and an electorate that is actually energized — something we see far too seldom, unfortunately.

The combination of all these factors is an intriguing mix and it is tough not to pay attention as the clock ticks down to the final moments of this Democratic primary.

But it occurs to me that this sort of energy is something that could be replicated around the country — and ought to be — in communities large and small, in statewide races and local town council run-offs, what-have-you.  But to get there, we need to start talking about what it is we want — and thinking about how it is we want to get there.

So, this morning, I thought we’d start with a basic concept that I like to call the "community potluck."  This is a useful tool for discussing politics and issues dear to your heart — and also for finding like-minded individuals who are also eager to DO something about the state of their community, their nation, their world…if only they knew what and how to do it.

A lot of the folks who read at FDL have been involved in a whole lot of community projects, revitalization efforts, campaigning as volunteers and even as candidates once upon a time.  You’ve attended PTA meetings, local political groups, lectures, retreats, school board arguments, city council blab-a-thons, and on and on. 

Every one of you is a political junkie for a reason.  And this morning, I’d like to talk about some of the whys of that.  What got you involved in politics?  What have you done to make your community a better place?  What has been an effective means of organizing — friends, family, others in your area — to get something done?  And once you get that momentum going, how have you kept it going?  Or not?  What problems are you trying to solve in your neighborhood or town or state, even?  Anyone figured that one out yet?  If so, feel free to chime in whith some ideas and what has worked for you.

There is a wealth of wisdom and experience among our readers, and today I’d like to tap into it a bit.  Because somewhere out there is a person thinking, "I’d make a better candidate than that bozo.  If I only knew how…"  And someone else is thinking "Lord, please send me a better candidate next year than this bozo I’m working with right now."  And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find some kismet.  But whether we do or not today, maybe we can all learn a little bit from each other on how to make our corner of the world a little better.

And imagine if we all started working on our corners, how that sort of energy could spread, and how much we could all get done in the process.

Since no community potluck is worth having without some favorite "bring a dish along" recipes, I thought we could share a few of those as well.  After all, football season is fast approaching, and I could use some new tailgating chow recipes.  So, pull up a chair…

PS — Sharkbabe reminded me in the comments: we learn from each others’ experience, and there are a whole lot of you out there who are reading but not commenting.  I, for one, would love to hear from some of the readers in the audience as well.  What’s going on in your community?  How have you worked to fix it — or just tweak it a little?  What’s been on your mind about politics — and who’s got an idea on that one?  Consider this an engraved invitation to save your country… 

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com