I’ve taken democracy for granted. I thought that if I simply voted for progressive candidates, the river would continue to flow in a progressive, kind, and inclusive direction. Somewhere along the line, though, I fell asleep. I trusted in momentum and the Constitution… and I lost track even of how the nuts and bolts of our vast machine work. I’ve voted progressively… but I’ve been a lazy citizen. I didn’t see it before. Now I do.

Freedom–continuing freedom–requires more work than I’ve been doing. It requires investment–not a ton of investment, but an hour or two a week–an hour or two of doing something constructive, instead of my usual Netflix.

Democracy dues.

So there I was. And that’s when I realized that despite the willingness to “get involved,” I had no idea how. What would that even look like? And I realized that that’s the first job of getting involved–untangling the puzzle of how to get involved. “I don’t know how” was just the setup–not the conclusion.

So I broke the question down to its barest, most basic terms, and realized I didn’t even know who my representatives were, or what districts I belonged to. Who the hell have I hired to represent me?

Michael Moore recommends the formation of grassroots-level rapid-response teams of five to ten people. That’s what this is. Five to ten people. Rapid response.

  1. This is work, not play. (Think… investment club. Study group.)
  2. This is face-to-face. (Social media and safety pins are great. This isn’t them.)
  3. There will be homework. (We split the work and share the results.)

Democracy dues. Reading. Analyzing. Figuring out. Then taking action.

Democracy isn’t TV, where I just flip a switch and freedom magically appears in my living room. Time to put down the popcorn and pick up a trowel. Do I want to do this? Not really. I’m a lazy creature, and I’d rather be sacked out watching Netflix and eating vanilla toffee bar ice cream. But, you know… I have a niece and a nephew, and I’d like the world we leave for them to be kind and inclusive and compassionate. I’d like their Constitution and Bill of Rights to mean something more than dead dreams on old paper.

So, this is an open invitation to get involved. If you’d like to use this material to form your own rapid-response group, feel free to take anything you might find helpful. I’ll be continuing to do research and work, and posting the findings and opportunities for action. If you’re working on your own rapid-response team and are looking to involve people, let me know!

Purpose and scope.