I've been gone for a while but with good reason. You see, every now and then my life is swallowed up in trash talk. And I don't mean the kind where I speak ill of others. I mean real trash...garbage...detritus. In a (British, because their words are always cooler than ours) word, rubbish!
It's a long story, but when I first moved to my current place of residence (5 years ago), we had no curbside recycling. I worked hard to rectify that situation: a personal proposal to our city's Environmental Quality Commission, eventually a seat on said commission, coordination of a pilot project to test a new curbside recycling service, several public surveys, public opinion sessions, a major council vote to pass a trash contract with curbside recycling (2 years ago), the initiation of said service (1.4 years ago) and just last week, one final pain-in-the-butt public vote to keep the new service. (Because a small group of angry residents felt that they were being forced to use a service they didn't ask for...nevermind that their elected council representatives took the public's opinion as a whole into consideration when agreeing to the new contract in the first place!)
I'm happy to say their proposition was defeated (74% to 26%!), and my small burg will be able to keep the great curbside recycling service that was put in place over a year ago. But all this taught me how truly, truly hard democracy is. You have to fight and scrape to get the things you want. And then it goes to committee, and then it's voted on, and then sometimes voted on again.
I guess it needs to be this way. It's what has made the United States the great place it is. But it's hard, and most of all, it takes participants. I pushed on, because I wanted my kids to see that you can get things accomplished if you try. I hope they learned that lesson.
I also told them that the day they turn 18 is the day I expect them to register to vote. Hopefully they'll remember the crazy fight Mommy got into over trash (of all things) when they were young and remember the difference a vote makes.