Be a political farmer, not a foodie

Be a political farmer, not a foodie

I know emotions are running high as we approach the end of primary season. Hillary people are feeling triumphant, Bernie people are feeling defiant and lively conventions are expected, both here in Maine and in Philadelphia. Good! Have fun! I hope you get at least some of what you’re looking for. But when the dust settles, please don’t go back home and check out of politics until November (or completely).

No matter how cynical you might feel about national politics, or major political parties, there’s a lot at stake right here at home. Just take a look at our Maine politics of the last few years and ask yourself if you really want two more of the same.

Our Governor is a complete disaster. Possibly the worst in the country. A state embarrassment. The laughing stock of late night TV. Not only that, he doesn’t even seem to like Maine or being its governor. He says negative things about Maine in the press. He regularly has public temper tantrums over the basic duties of his job, such as compromising with the legislature, talking to the press, or taking criticism with a modicum of grace. Actually, that last one is more a basic duty of being an adult human.

Unfortunately, that ship has sailed until 2018. No use crying over it, we’re stuck with him unless he resigns or gets impeached. We can always hope! But in the meantime, let’s give him a legislature that makes him the lamest duck this state has ever seen. Let’s take away all his toys and put him in time out, along with Mary Mayhew, Ken Fredette, and all his other playmates. No more vetoes, no more sneaky rules rewriting, no more unreasonable unilateral demands. Off to bed with no supper!

And that, my friends, requires all of our continued attention and participation. In these sleepy months of summer ramping up into fall and the election in November, local candidates all over Maine will be making their case for why they should speak for us in Augusta. We need more Democrats and independents to be a counterweight to LePage’s destructive agenda. And for that to happen, those candidates need volunteers to make calls, knock on doors, write letters to the editor, and generally be supportive and available.

This is where politics gets real. Certainly it’s important to talk about and participate in national politics. But it’s local politics that’s your entryway to real change making, both on the state and national levels. And it’s your local political party organizations that coordinate these efforts.

Not into Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Fine, but don’t write off your county Democratic organization over it. These are dedicated, unpaid, progressive people giving their free time to change their state, their country, and often their own party for the better. They write their own rules and raise their own money.

Have a great independent running in your district? Call them. Offer your help. They will take it.

I hope that you will put your time and effort where your Facebook posts are, and join your local Democrats and independents this summer and fall as they do the nitty gritty work that will shape Maine’s political future.  It’s like the difference between being a foodie, and a farmer. Ready to dig in?

Photo via Artists for Bernie.

About author

April Thibodeau
April Thibodeau 11 posts

April Thibodeau majored in Political Science at the University of Maine and has experience in law, non-profit work and political advocacy. She lives on Westport Island with her husband and two cats and enjoys gardening, homesteading and rural life.

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