I've always hated the relationship between money and politics.
From oil money corrupting our children's education to political donations paving the way for Keystone XL, there is an inevitable corruption that occurs when electioneering is based as much on how much has been spent, as opposed to what has been said.And this corruption is deep seated in all major players.
So it feels a little odd to confess that I have just made my first ever financial contribution to a presidential campaign. But I'd rather not talk about who I donated to.
This post is not about arguing for one candidate over another. It's about urging people to participate in the political systems we find ourselves in. I've made the case before that shopping and voting are not the same thing, and aligned myself with The Story of Change's observations that shopping will not save us. It is, I argued, crucial to create systemic, political change if we want to see a sustainable future.
And that means voting. But voting is not enough.
We must participate in the system to create the outcomes we desire. And when corporate money is shaping the agendas of both major parties so fundamentally, there is a powerful case to be made for the little people to engage too. (There is, of course, also a powerful case to be made for abandoning the two party status quo all together and pursuing something that actually works. The fact is that neither mainstream candidate is pushing anything even close to a truly sustainable agenda.)
Whether you believe that one party or the other can take us closer to where we want to be, or you believe there is an alternative path, I encourage you to pick your future and fight for it with your votes, your voice, your money and your time. Keep a visionary eye on your ultimate goal, and a pragmatic eye on a viable path to getting there.
We can't let disappointment be an excuse for disengagement. And we can't let voting, ethical consumerism or any other "check box" become a substitute for what we really need - ongoing, active participation in shaping the systems that shape our world.
It's kind of sad that when surveying the political landscape, and identifying how I could best influence the outcome in November, whipping out the debit card seemed like such an important act. Yet that's exactly how it looked to me.
And it would have been a whole lot sadder if I had failed to act on my observations.