For peace of mind, keep focus localLately, it seems even a cursory inspection of state and national politics is a recipe for frustration. The two parties can’t get along, and this dysfunctional relationship means they keep voting for temporary fixes, instead of any courageous moves to fix an obviously ailing budget, not to mention Medicare and Social Security.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Lately, it seems even a cursory inspection of state and national politics is a recipe for frustration. The two parties can’t get along, and this dysfunctional relationship means they keep voting for temporary fixes, instead of any courageous moves to fix an obviously ailing budget, not to mention Medicare and Social Security.
While it’s important to contact elected officials with your thoughts in times such as these, the savior in tough times doesn’t usually work in Washington or St. Paul. He or she lives next door to you, or attends the same church. Their kids may play on the same soccer team, or attend the same school.
If things continue the way they’ve been going, we may all be relying on our local communities to get us through. And that’s just fine, because we know those folks.
Here are a few ways we can each make our local communities stronger:
• Make pretty. Big city folk may think beautifully manicured lawns aren’t cool, be we know how nice it is to walk or drive down a street and appreciate our surroundings, whether it’s a public park or a residential street. The city of Cloquet is looking for volunteers to help keep the numerous flower beds looking nice; they’re also hoping people with trashy yards will take some initiative and clean them up before the city has to play the heavy.
• Eat local, buy local. This can apply to everything from restaurants to the local health food store to downtown shops. By shopping at locally owned stores, you’re supporting local business people. Chances are pretty good, too, that should you have a problem with your purchase, they won’t tell you to contact the manufacturer or corporate headquarters. Don’t forget the Saturday morning farmers market in Scanlon and the market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in downtown Mahtowa, either. Fresher food just tastes better, and when you buy from a local grower, you are helping support that person’s family as well as feeding your own family more nutritious food.
• Volunteer. It’s a proven fact that volunteering is not only good for the charity or civic group you support, it’s also good for the soul. Get out of the house, do something for someone else and make new friends while you’re at it. There are plenty of groups in Cloquet that would be happy to have you, from Friends of Animals to the Salvation Army to the school district. Walk dogs, read with kids, weed flower beds. It’s nice to share your talents, whatever they are. In the process, you may discover new ones.
If we simply look after each other, maybe some of those folks at the Capitol will realize that looking out for one another is what makes us great, not the size of our weapons or our corporations.