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This is the hard part.  This is the part that people who would otherwise never get into politics, get into politics.  It’s the part where grown adults have knock-down drag-out fights in school gymnasiums about a tree.  The part where a single parent works a ten-hour day, races home to feed his kids, and then rushes to the community center to do battle with some developer from out of town who wants to turn a park into a parking lot.

This is the big stuff—trains, towers, traffic, and tidal power.  It’s a bridge club becoming an advocacy group, getting one of their grandkids to put up a website, collecting signatures, and marching on town hall to revitalize the town square.

This is the part where you fight for change that you may never even see.  Where  things are done to improve a town not because it will put money in people’s pockets today, but because it will ensure prosperity for generations tomorrow.  This is the part where you realize it’s much bigger than you or any one of us; where it feels like it’s all just too daunting of a task; where you get frustrated because it seems out of your control and you can’t do it on your own.

And you see a list of things to choose from for your own community…

  • Affordable and diversified housing that does not trap people in poverty
  • A safe, sustainable infrastructure that is considerate of the future
  • Clean streets
  • Safe neighborhoods
  • Design that understands the elderly, children, and people with special needs
  • A community that is for people not cars
  • Sustainable transportation
  • Equitable tax policy that generates real revenue without putting the burden on those who are still struggling to make ends meet
  • Beauty in design
  • Green space, clear water, clean air, and protected wildlife
  • Economic justice
  • The belief in and support of education
  • Care for all
  • Promotion of the arts
  • Economic vitality
  • Vibrant social spaces
  • Architecture that inspires awe
  • Historical preservation
  • Ethnic diversity

… and you say, “I want it all.”

And this is the part when you take one step forward.