In Praise of Grass Roots Alameda

Regardless of how one perceives the outcome of the recent elections, on the local level, Alameda provides an inkling of hope. While big-money, out-of-town interests threw in to sway opinions, it was the small-budget local campaigns that led the field. Even if just barely.

While elsewhere in the nation, oil billionaires and big finance throw congresspeople into their Amazon shopping carts, in Alameda, principle, not money, appears to carry the day.

A glimmer of hope in this chapter of American history so overwhelmed by big money capitalism, the people still retain the power here. Imagine if 60 percent of voters came out instead of 40? What voice would be heard then? Would the vast hordes of silent voters make a difference?

I think this local election proved two things to me. That a majority of non-voters certainly have more power than the minority of voters. If they would only use it. The race for Alameda mayor in this election also spoke to the power of the individual vote as Spencer and Gilmore wait breathlessly for the outcome of each and every ballot counted.

As Spencer looks over her treasure chest lead of 119 votes doesn’t that speak to the importance of each and every one of those votes? As we deliberate over 58 votes here, 94 votes there, well, that’s you and all the people you know.

You and your Facebook friends can swing an election, people.

Embarassingly enough, plenty of people in my everyday life tell me they skip voting. They complain about things the city does without ever playing into the process. They look at elected officials as takers while they never do any giving themselves.

Just like any relationship, our relationship with "this great United States," the Golden State of California and the county and city of Alameda, requires a give and take. If you aren’t willing to contribute to the system either with your opinion at public meetings or your vote, why should you expect any consideration in return?

Today’s form of activism seems to be forwarding ironic imagery and incediary links to each other online. I suggest we do something together in the real world.

Next time, vote. All the veterans died for your vote. Women, people of color, and grand ol’ white boys alike all died so you could vote. In other countries they’re proud to vote. Don’t be a joke of an American citizen, vote.