BY SHARON MARTIN
Writers write. If we had to give a story the test of family or societal agreement, nothing would ever be published. This year, I resolve to speak up, to tell the truth as I see it, unafraid of opposing opinions.
My truth may not be your truth. The country is divided. My family is divided. The world is chopped up into chunks of hate and optimism. This year, no matter your political leanings, let optimism prevail.
Let’s start at home. Parents, spend time with your children. Talk to them. Read to them. Play with them. Be active together.
Eighty percent of a child’s brain is developed by the age of three. As a reading teacher, I can tell pretty quickly which children have adults who take an active role in their lives. Talking to your children is an act of love.
On the national level, let’s tackle income inequality. Until we get big money out of politics, we cannot begin to help the poor and middle class families get back on their feet.
A solid majority of people polled, both Democrats and Republicans, believe that current campaign finance laws are unfair. Legislators don’t listen to people; they listen to money. Big money spends big sums to motivate voters with propaganda and half-truths. The motivated vote; the rest stay home.
What if every single one of us registered to vote? What if we all challenged the unfair system?
This year, let’s band together and ask for publicly funded elections. This requires activism from the majority. I resolve to be an activist.
Until we can change the system that favors corporations and wealth over people, let us each do what we can to address immediate needs in our community. Buy an extra box of cereal or can of meat each month for a local food pantry. If you can afford it, buy more. Grow a garden and share the bounty. Volunteer where you are needed.
As the earth turns, be the change in your family, your community, and your nation. Talk to a child. Smile at a stranger. Write a letter to your Congressperson. Vote in city elections. Be kind. Do what you are able to do.
All of us working together can make 2015 a very good year. All of us working together can change the world.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer