|AUGUST 12, 2010 --
What can we do about economic uncertainty, the oil spill in the gulf, runaway government spending, and all the other challenges that face us in America? How do we deal with the immense flow of information that seems to overwhelm us on a daily basis?
Family, friends, and community are the answer.
As individuals, we often seem to be powerless against the huge challenges that are before us. One person can't fix the economy, the actions of one individual will not stop the oil from escaping from the sea floor, and one lone voice will not slow the spending of our government. However, when people start to seek common ground and work together they can, and will, make their community a better place to live. Once that happens communities can start to band together and solve state-level problems and the process continues onward to our national government.
Organizations like ours are the real community organizers. Unlike other groups, the Grange doesn't depend on the government for funding and we don't presume to speak for our members until they have had the opportunity to be a part of the discussion.
Since 1867, Granges have been organized in tens of thousands of communities. Fire departments, FFA, co-ops, credit unions, ambulance services, fairs, 4-H, and so much more have been started because people found they had power together through the Grange. Schools have been supported, parks and other recreational opportunities have been started, and cemeteries maintained due to the muscle of people coming together through the Grange.
That process continues to this very day. We are an old organization that is constantly renewed and kept young by people who add their ideas and voices to their community as members.I've seen a lot of new Granges formed over the past few years. From New Hampshire to Alaska to Arkansas, people are seeing
that there is power when you belong to a grassroots organization that allows the local members to determine the direction of our organization.
So what can one person do about the huge issues of the day? They can join the Grange, get involved as their time allows, and make a difference in their community.
Membership is not about money as ours is an inexpensive organization to join. Most of the budget of a local Grange comes from fundraising rather than the voluntary dues paid by members. This is due to a focus on the family and the knowledge that we must be affordable to the entire family.
Grange membership is not about everyone agreeing, it is about different ideas and perspectives being discussed in a friendly civil fashion and each member learning during that debate. It is about the search for common issues and solutions, not about total agreement. The only issue we are in agreement on is that our debates and actions must be that of honorable, moral people.
Many times over the past 143 years, our organization has rallied the forces of our American communities to change our nation. History teaches us that individual Americans can make a difference; it is just that we must work together through organizations like the Grange to do it.
What can one person do? The real question is what can stop a group of people, a Grange, from accomplishing anything?