December 12, 2004

Adventures in Advocacy

You know, in the same way that Polite Dissent focuses on medical aspects in comics and pop culture, I would like to think this blog focuses on more social service, substance abuse, warm and fuzzy matters. For example, I've always thought that a great take on Hourman would be a super hero version of Stuart Smalley, but done straight, focusing on co-dependency issues. (Yeah, like DC is going to call me to cash in on that idea - and John Byrne, if you steal this idea in any way, I will sue your tuckus off)

Anyway, I've spent most of this weekend resting and recuperating - most of my job involves motivating people to advocate for substance abuse prevention-oriented policy initiatives. Mostly in tobacco, which has earned me many enemies and causes great discomfort with my friends. No, not that they're all smokers, but if you're enjoying a beer and a cigar, and you're talking to someone who works to prevent kids from using those drugs...makes it very hard to be social, much less get a date.

Thursday was a coalition meeting that I co-chair, and was filled with some great ideas (and sharing of strategies) in terms of engaging individuals. Of course, there is the one guy, the guy from Nowheresville, MO, with a few successess, playing Mr. Know-It-All with people who are power hitters. That, plus dealing with a person who...well, wants to take it to the next level, despite the fact that the incoming state government might not be as friendly as we would like. Even with a state expert giving me back-up, well, I've had more productive arguments with Little Debbie snack cakes.

Then, on Friday, was a training at our office (and for those whom I work with who may be reading this - it's all in good fun. Honest) focusing on advocacy. It went very well - focused on some really cool things like open container law, traffic safety, and other things, but I have to admit that I was a little burned out on the whole advocacy thing.

However, I saw that a letter I had written to the St. Charles Post-Dispatch was published. Even with the feedback from my coworkers and colleagues, it felt a little hollow - maybe it was some burnout, or just the comment from someone that my letter was "too calm." (I guess if I had referred to our opponents as "mouth-breathing monkey boys", that might have been seen as appropriate). Oh, well, it was nothing that watching The Office Christmas Special, followed by Justice League: The Brave and the Bold couldn't cure.

And now, here's a plea - if you want to help out, and live (or know someone) in the vicinity of Ballwin, MO - they're holding a city council hearing to vote on their smokefree workplace ordinance. The meeting is at 7:00 pm at the Municipal Clerk's office. Bodies are good; residents who can speak on either side is better. If you need help, either drop me a line, give me a call, or check out the Community Tool Kit for resources.

Ah, advocacy - it's definitely not for wimps. (And to those with whom I work - everything is said tongue-in-cheek, except for the Nowheresville comment)

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