On Being Inconvenient

I’m definitely on a steep learning curve and planning to blog more and more as I go, simply to chronicle my transformation into Another Inconvenient Citizen.  The idea of an Inconvienent Citizen, as will be posted on the new Inconvenient Citizen blog site being launched soon, is as follows:

The goal of An Inconvenient Citizen is to mobilize citizens under the banner of “protest for the rest of us”, including people who never really thought of themselves as protesters before. We believe people will be motivated to action once confronted with the facts about how the Harper government is negatively changing our democracy and negatively impacting our environment. Even if action is as low key as simply voting when they might not otherwise have voted (good), or convincing a number of others to vote who might not otherwise have voted (better); or (best) a combination of voting, convincing, signing petitions, writing letters to political parties, newspaper editors, etc. and generally becoming royal pains in the butt by advocating that our “first past the post” electoral system needs to be changed to give us a “fair democracy” (which for me includes the idea of a more “representative” system).

In other words, we are hoping that Inconvenient Citizen will make life really “inconvenient” for Harper AND for the other parties as we head towards the next election. We hope Inconvenient Citizen will advocate for the defeat of Harper’s Conservatives AND convince other parties to co-operate with each other to agree on a united platform “for fair democracy”.

And – oh yes – we would like to see young Inconvenient Citizens re-engage with the electoral system, and see other older Inconvenient Citizens convincing youth to do so. Participate in the next election to achieve a modified system. How about a rallying cry like “YOUTH WANT IN”. (By the way, this slogan will resonate with people who remember Stephen Harper as a former Reform Party Member of Parliament who ran for office with the slogan “The West Wants In.”)

I’m excited to be identifying with this group. From the mentors within, I am learning more and more about a variety of issues and politics. Our original Inconvenient Citizen, Jackie DeRoo, is an excellent researcher. She is passionate and committed to issues around democracy and electoral reform as well as environmental health and sustainability. She is tenacious and knowledgeable. I’m honoured to work alongside her.

Over a year ago I attended a protest in Surrey, BC, where George Bush had been invited to speak. At that rally and then a followup event  Gail Davidson, Lawyer for Stop the War, spoke about being involved in activism. Her advice that I remember most clearly was that to be involved in activism one needs to not get sidetracked by the wide variety of issues, but instead pick one or two that are close to one’s heart and dig deep. For the past year those words, word that were meant to help and guide, have resonated with me and in a way that rather than being helpful have perhaps hindered my active involvement as I searched for the “right” issues, never quite sure if “this,” whatever it was, was the right issue. For now Inconvenient Citizens is helping me in providing a space to talk with peers and be inspired in the little things I can do. I’m able to let go a little of being overly concerned with whether or not each issue is what I want to commit to.  Through the Inconvenient Citizen group I am beginning to connect with other 55+ activists, many like Jackie who have not been particularly politically before now. Slowly we are becoming aware of the vast resource that our demographic group can provide to the political landscape. In reality I believe we are a sleeping giant just slowly awakening.

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