We Are Broken

So, I’ve been taking some time off to think about the directions I’ve been being pulled in, and I have to confess that, while I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the people I’ve gotten involved with over the last few years, I am also feeling very strongly the responsibility I have to my wife, and to my impoverished household. I’ve been letting my career/financial situation drift for the last couple of years, doing very little to bring in new money to replace all of the piles of stuff that are breaking down, wearing out, or just generally giving up the ghost.

As well, this time off has really been cathartic for me; even fun, at times. I’m actually enjoying not thinking about all of the stuff that usually bothers me about this city and its government. It’s never too far from my mind, but I’m feeling less anxious about it. And in the meantime, I’ve been getting a sense of fulfillment from working on my writing and art and music, instead; things I’ve been cramming in around the sides for the last couple of years while I’ve been focussing on local politics. The last two or three books? Written during brief breaks in civic activities. No wonder no one bought them.

So, I don’t know if a decision has been made yet. But it’s not looking good for civic engagement, just now. People need to step up and take ownership of the changes they want to see happen in our society. But I’m starting to feel like I can do more privately than I have been able to thus far publicly, if I can only get my career interests in order and start making real money, instead of trying to leverage operating budgets that won’t come, or seeking grants that have more strings attached than flies on you-know-what. And consensus? I haven’t felt the warm glow of true consensus, even amongst my dearest, closest activist friends, for a while now. Support, yes; even gratitude; but consensus, not so much.

It’s been interesting (I won’t say fun; it’s rarely been that) trying to play the big man on the ideological campus of the civic landscape these past few years, and there have been a few lovely milestones, mostly thanks to the efforts of people who are much better at civic engagement than me, but I’m starting to think my time here is running out. Political activism is and has been in my heart for longer than my actual involvement (I was at the Red Hill Valley Rally at City Hall back in the early 90s, as well; that ended well), and I hate to walk away from any challenge, particularly when the cause is just. Direct Democracy IS how things are going to go, in the future; I believe that with all my heart.

But I’m growing tired of feeling like I’m the only one who is willing to carry this particular bag of unwanted goodies to market, and I’m long past wondering if I’m the right person for the job. Few have asked me to do it, some have suggested I shouldn’t, and almost nobody has shown me what I would call a real vote of confidence in my abilities to carry the ball further than I have. I certainly don’t hear anyone telling me I should try harder or be more proactive. I hear ‘build capacities’, which is good and right and true, but also sounds distinctly like ‘get somebody else’. Maybe my lack of proactivity thus far has left some people thinking I can’t do the job. Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I may never learn the truth. I certainly don’t feel good thinking of walking away. But I feel as if the only way to carry it all off and make it work is to stick my neck further into the noose and abandon all hope. A month ago, I’d have said ‘Hell, Yes’.

But just now, when I haven’t heard from most of the main players on our team (or the Councillor, who admittedly–and somewhat reluctantly–asked me to email him for a follow-up appointment) in the last few weeks (my fault as much as anything, but very telling, nonetheless), I’m left thinking, maybe now is as good a time as any to just let it all go. If someone wants it, they should pick up the ball and run with it. Me? I’m thinking about going out for a burger and a movie. I hear good things about one or two films currently showing at Jackson Square.

Despite all this, I’m STILL deciding. Not sure which way things are going to go. Just saying, right now, it’s blowing me homeward. It would take more encouragement than I’m likely to get any time soon to want to keep carrying this particular ball, especially when I’m going broke and will likely to lose everything if I proceed further. Do I have the political will? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m feeling pretty lonely, right now, and it’s not a good feeling.

That’s what I’m thinking, anyway.

Thanks for reading.


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