2 easy ways to become Political

The idea of “not having time” to deal with social and political issues is a real one for most people. Many times, people can’t worry about such broad concepts, or plan action against big issues because all of their time has to be spent working to provide for their lifestyle. This is no accident. I’ll get into why in a later writing, but today I want to share 2 ways you can re-prioritize and infuse politics into your life and lay a foundation for impacting your community at large.

1. Dinner Table Conversation
After talking about the day-to-day issues that every family/household discusses while eating, talk about a current political event of a political issue. Start with things within your local community, but then branch out broader national and international issues. There are two important things to do within this: discuss problems and solutions equally, and engage your children. Using Seattle as an example, a local conversation could focus on things like school closings in the city, Alaskan Way Viaduct construction proposals, or the state’s ban on text messaging while driving. National/international issues can include things like how the government spends money, or fighting disease in other countries. Do not be afraid to talk about big issues with your kids; you’d be surprised at the level of opinion they have when asked. This is something my parents did literally everyday before I moved off to college, and it is the foundation for my understanding and interest in using my gifts to address societal issues.

2. Alternative Information Day
Take one day out of every week to get information from a non-mainstream source. For example, if you read news on the Internet, read stories from Common Dreams instead of CNN, or In These Times instead of the NY Times, or the BBC instead of ABC. Use this day to explore ethnic media outlets. Examples include XM Channel 169: The Power for XM Satellite Radio Subscribers and Latin American Newsletters. The point here is to use one of the week’s 7 days to get a different perspective.

These are just 2 ways that you can start thinking about these issues, which both can be started with minimal effort. They both will have maximal return, I promise. Try it out for the sake of our people and our future. If people are working too hard to pay attention to politics, there is no possibility for change, for revolution. Let’s take the small steps we can to start changing this world for the better.

One Love. One II.



About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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