I’ve never been so immersed in politics as I have around the May 2015 UK election. Politics was always something for other people. Politics was something I can’t change. Politics was for boring people.
Over the last few years I’ve been learning a lot about myself. I’ve changed my focus, I’ve become stronger, I have learnt a lot about what I stand for, what I’m prepared to fight for, how I want to live my life. I believe that everyone is equal. I believe we need to look after our planet. I believe there’s another way, not driven by money or greed or power. And yes, I acknowledge, I’m incredibly idealistic. I dream, I hope, I’m full of what-if’s and if only’s.
But still, I’ve just stood by. I’ve not agreed with the press but I kept quiet and removed myself from the loop for a while. I’ve been driven to anger and frustration by inequality, racism, war, greed. I’ve just stood back, done nothing and watched the earth being fracked, being polluted, this single small planet full of small people who are scared of the unknown.
I came to a decision recently. Who am I to stand by and watch this and tell myself that anything I do is useless? Why do I use the excuse that one person can’t make a difference? How much can I really care, if all I do is sit in my armchair and complain? Why don’t I DO SOMETHING? What can I do?
A million questions floated around and around my head. Am I the type of person to take action? An introverted idealist, a girl who is good with words but scared of too much attention? Someone who hates conflict or disagreement, who is intensely uncomfortable in an argument? Do I care enough to jump into this? And if I do care enough, what actions can one person take?
If you disagree with the way things are, you can do something about it. Don’t feel you have to just stand by. If you truly believe in a cause, in an idea, then stand up and defend that idea. Do it because you have the right to, do it because you have the chance to, do it because you CAN. Don’t waste the opportunity. One person may seem inconsequential. But one by one, we can create change. Make that something personal to you. Action that you are comfortable with.
I can’t stand by any longer. So yes, I’m quiet. But I can take a stand with the products I buy and the home I live in. I joined my first ever political party, a huge, massive step for me as I learned that politics isn’t just something for other people. Politics affects me. Politics affects my friends and co-workers and the world we live in. I initiated discussions and learned a lot from other people. I researched events that I can join in with to show support for movements in the UK. I can grow my own food. I can buy products from independent craftsmen and women, from local companies. I can involve myself more in local movements such as the transition network. I can volunteer. And I can write about my experiences and continue to believe in a world of cooperation and respect.
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.