Thursday, July 7, 2011

#188 / Personal Involvement

Each weekday morning, on KUSP Radio, the NPR affiliate in Santa Cruz County, I present a brief Land Use Report.

Since the Land Use Report, like other KUSP content, is available on a “podcast” basis, I have sometimes heard comments on what I say from people outside the Monterey Bay Region, from as far away as Boston. (Besides the “podcasts,” written transcripts are also posted on the station website for anyone who is interested).

While I am happy for such widespread coverage of my thoughts about land use, I must say that my comments do tend to be “local” in their focus. Still, I have always thought that the “think globally, act locally” approach to politics is exactly the right way to do it. Where the Land Use Report is concerned, don’t hesitate to tell your friends, wherever they may live.

This week, I found I was spouting off more than usual on the topic of getting “personally involved” in the land use planning process. Since the week began with the Fourth of July holiday, that is probably the reason. The land use planning process provides a great example of how democratic self‑government is supposed to work.

In fact though, as I did say on the Land Use Report, effective involvement and engagement in the politics that creates our world requires not only the involvement of individuals, but their involvement through an organized effort. Individual, personal involvement can make you a “gadfly.” Connection with a dedicated group, focused on an issue you care about, can really affect the future, and make you and the group a “political” force to be reckoned with.

This is a shorthand way of saying that politics is always a “team sport.”

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