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National Grange President's Ponderings: Activism

By National Grange Blog (6/17/10)

  JUNE 17, 2010 --

Some people claim to be activists while most of us would hesitate to even suggest that we were such. I wonder if today's media and our lexicon should try to differentiate between activists and protesters.

I've seen a lot of TV coverage of protests over the years. From our headquarters building you can often see groups of protesters in Lafayette Park as they march and chant in front of the White House. In reflecting upon all the protests I've seen over the years, only a few seemed to have any strong mainstream American connection. Most seem to be angry people upset over a single issue. Only rarely does a protest seem to draw in people from all walks of life. In fact, many protests are rather small events in terms of people participating.

Of course, most of us who never go to protests have jobs, families, and responsibilities and have little time to go and wave signs and participate in chanting the slogan of that days protest.

Activists on the other hand, are all about getting something done. Being in a group of thousands may influence politicians, but starting a project that makes people's lives better begins with people sharing their concerns. America's traditional civic organizations seldom gather to protest, but they regularly meet and discuss what they can do to help others. These are the real activist organizations.

Just like the Grange, the civic organizations in each community tend to attract activists, those who what to get some action started. These organizations normally work together on bigger projects and they give each member the opportunity to influence which projects or activities the group will choose to work on.

Every American should find ways to become an activist within their community. Community action is how we change both our state and our nation and the more healthy community activist organizations we have, the stronger our communities. Our local civic organizations are the real deal when you want to talk about activist organizations. They are not huge checkbook organizations, they are real people working together to aid others.

Regardless of if you are a small business owner, work for a large corporation, work 9 to 5, or are retired, check out your local Grange to find out how you can be an activist in your community. Your community is counting on you.



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