"In this country, we are going through a very dark period," he told his audience, "and someday your grandchildren are going to ask what you did, and you are going to tell them, 'I worked my butt off." ( Al Franken on the possibility that he might run for Senate in MN in 2008)
Which is why I started my own Political Action Committee. After the election, I did the whole "catatonia" thing for two days, moved on to the "let's drown our sorrows in San Diego Bay" thing (no, that does not mean offing oneself by jumping from a bridge....that means drinking margaritas and looking at the water, the skyline and the mountains and realizing that life still has meaning....margaritas can do that for you. Then I did the whole "numbness" thing, which included trying to pretend there wasn't an inauguration and throwing myself into work, where I try to protect elders from the ravages of the healthcare system.
The numbness thing had to quickly be replaced by the "vigilant citizen" thing, because a friend of mine was running for an open state rep. seat this past winter. It wasn't my district, and we had 57 days to see if anyone knew who she was. She ran the best campaign, but 57 days in the dead of winter wouldn't give you enough time to let people know that John Beresford Tipton was in town. We had the best message and the best candidate. We were also trounced. Luckily the Republicans were too dumb to nominate the more electable of the two people running in their primary, and so the D's waltzed to victory.
Before the numbness thing set in again, I realized something.
I knew a lot ABOUT politics, I knew a lot of people IN politics, and I knew a lot of people INTERESTED in politics. I'm the local "go to girl" in my small town when there's a campaign for some obscure office. "Marge, who should I vote for?" is the constant question heard on the street. So I decided to put my money, and OPM, where my mouth was and start my own PAC.
I have always been a supporter of Clean Elections and contribution limits. My first run for Selectman, I put on a $25 PER FAMILY contribution limit and raised over $1200. Donated a couple hundred back to the high school scholarship fund. Won in a landslide (well, almost....) I've always been proud of that race because some people thought I was "stupid" not to accept $100 donations. Later in my term I needed to make a hard choice on an appointment to a board and "some people" had a much different opinion than I did. Luckily, they hadn't contributed 10% of my campaign coffer!
So now I'm inching up on the $1K mark in the Margaret Johnson Ware PAC. I'm about to write my first check to a candidate campaign committee. I only accept donations up to $132 per person. I'm looking for candidates who have a viable chance of changing the system and who stand for the issues that I'm interested in.
So at least when my grandchildren hear about the dark political days of the early part of the 21st century, when civility was lost from politics, and personal invective was the rule of the day, and they say "Grammy ....what did YOU do to make a difference?" I can say "I worked my butt off."