By Neena Strichart
Although there have always been folks whipped up about the importance of voting and civic pride, so many are totally apathetic to the process and the responsibility. That’s the way I see it anyhow…or used to. Earlier this week, I saw a remarkable, shining example of non-apathy at a “town hall” meeting hosted by a local political candidate. I attended the event not as a supporter or a reporter, but instead as an interested party just trying to make sense of who is running for what– and, frankly, just trying to get a feel for my community’s interest, or lack thereof, when it comes to local politics.
What I found was standing room only of an audience composed of a mix of men and women of every age, creed, color, and party affiliation imaginable. It was a group who recited the Pledge of Allegiance with more fervor and volume than I have ever heard before– even at one of my D.A.R. meetings! Furthermore, when the two individuals who had been asked to sing the national anthem (a cappella) began, the entire audience rose to their feet and joined them. It reminded me of a hybrid of revival meeting mixed with political rally. I was stunned.
After watching two hours of an attentive and enthusiastic audience, I have changed my opinion about rampant apathy and have decided that the people in our neighborhoods may be ready to once more engage in a commitment toward civic pride and personal responsibility.
I feel that involvement in community affairs is a worthwhile avocation. Paying attention and participating in one’s local government are also worthy avocations. Whether it’s by getting involved in a political campaign, taking the time to attend council or town hall meetings, going to watch candidates debate at local forums, or all of the above, civic pride is demonstrated by getting off our duffs and paying attention to what is going on around us, and who is involved. Don’t pay attention? Don’t complain. Don’t vote? Don’t complain.
My point is in no way intended as a political endorsement of any kind. I don’t endorse political candidates. Instead, I am here to encourage our gentle readers to get involved.
I’ve done a bit of asking around and here, listed below, are the political forums I know about so far. I’m not positive which political races they cover or any more information than what is here. We will provide more details in the next few issues.
Tuesday, Oct. 12 from 11am to 2pm: 37th and 46th Congressional District candidates in the CSULB University Student Union Ballroom, sponsored by CSULB College of Liberal Arts and affiliated community/student organizations.
Friday, Oct. 15 from 3pm to 5pm: CSULB (The Walter Pyramid), sponsored by CSULB and the League of Women Voters, Long Beach Chapter.
Saturday, Oct. 16 from 2pm to 4pm: Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. sponsored by the National Council of Negro Women.
Friday, Oct. 22 from 1pm to 3pm: Long Beach City College (exact location pending) sponsored by the Political Science Student Association.
Thursday, Oct. 28 from 6:30pm to 9pm: Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church (Church Hall), 519 E. Palmer Street, in Compton.