February 2, 2010

For Chicago and Democracy, Part Two

(Warning: Chicago-specific content to follow. Most of you, however, will still bear with me, so please enjoy the picture on the left)

For many of us, today is going to be critical day as we will have elections in the city, both for state governor, as well as critical state House and Senate seats. It will be a day like any other - you go in, vote (if you haven't done so already), and move on towards your day.

But every once in awhile, I like to engage in some public service, to remind everyone who's reading that democracy is not a spectator sport, and that quite frankly, our responsiblity does not begin and end with punching a hole in a ballot. It means dedicated, consistent effort to work within your community, to become solution-oriented, and more importantly, become aware and involved in local issues.

Thankfully, the Chicago Tribune has put together an online election center, where you can go and catch up on political news, as well as create a printable ballot (at least, in Cook and Kane Counties). A special thanks to
Joe Germuska for announcing this at last month's Chicago Net Tuesday. It's a great resource for you to use to educate yourselves about the candidates, and quite frankly, will make voting a little easier.

But more importantly, an effort that I had blogged about awhile ago is being revitalized, and we're making more of an effort to engage people, to provide them tools to begin getting more involved in discussions and involved in their community. As my co-organizer Michael Maranda so aptly points out, this is a great opportunity to find out about local initiatives, build collaborations, but more importantly, to really empower people within their communities.

Many of you who live in Chicago may cynically say, "But Gordon - Chicago is a politically corrupt town, why bother? After all, everyone's it it for themselves". Much like Conan O'Brien, I find cynicism the easy way out - it never needs to be justified, rationalized, or explained. It tends to be a self-imposed impediment that only results in nothing getting done...except being cynical.

So for my Chicago readers, please feel free to distribute this via Twitter, Digg, or whatever platforms. But more importantly, join the e-democracy forum. As a great band once remarked in its liner notes, revolution begins at home, preferably in the bathroom mirror.

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