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Think Locally, Act Nationally

By Elyce Ackerman-Casselberry

It’s the season. The season where everyone everywhere that is even a little bit tuned in to what is going on around them loses their ever-loving mind. It’s the season where we all think everyone should think like we do, and are shocked and dismayed when they don’t. The season where we try to convince those that don’t think like we do that we are right, and they are wrong.  

We get so wound up about what is happening in Washington, or what the other side did or didn’t do. We spend our time angry, discontent, demanding, wanting. We go to the voting booth every four years to exercise those feelings and angst and check off in a single box something that represents our hopes, dreams, wants, and needs.


Then what do we do? Most of us go about our daily lives, falling back into old routines we established long before election season.

Some of us argue passionately for change and fight to try to get everyone else to see what we see so clearly.

Some actually work to make change. I’m not talking about the “organize or attend a rally so we can say we did something” approach to change; I’m talking about the long hard slog kind of change.

I want to be in this last group. I want to channel my energy into impacting the change that I want. I want equality. I want ethical leadership. I want children to have access to education, healthcare, and housing. I want to see redwoods and coral reefs and not worry that I may never get a chance. I want clean air, clean water, and access to healthy food. I want everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, to have the same. 

What if we invested the same energy we throw away every day on the negative, and poured that energy into our own back yard instead? What if we started to get involved right at home whether it’s volunteering to mentor youth, feed the hungry, or run for City Council. We make time to do all kinds of things in our lives. We can make time for our community!

It’s so easy to get lost in what isn’t right. It’s easy to complain about what’s not right.  But, it’s actually very easy to get involved.  What can you do to make today a little better not just for yourself, but for your neighbor?

Let’s recommit ourselves to our communities, neighbors, and friends during this season. Let’s invest our resources into supporting get out the vote campaigns, but invest our time right here at home. Let’s commit to channeling negative energy into positive action. Let’s pick up trash on the street when we see it; make time for friends that are scared, sad, angry, and lost. Let’s volunteer at our communities’ homeless shelters because shelter and food are rights that everyone deserves. Let’s tell our children we love them every day; put down our phones, turn away from our computers, and really listen to them.

We don’t have to give up on the big issues. Continue to vote for change you want. Vote for your values. Support the organizations willing to tackle the big social and environmental issues our world faces. But instead of investing energy in railing against what isn’t right; invest that energy close to home. Create the positive in your own day to day existence. Create some positivity for someone else too while you are at it. We all need it.

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About the Author

Elyse Ackerman-Casselberry has worked for local governments in Colorado for 19 years and somehow has managed to keep her rose colored glasses on. She lives in Delta, Colorado with her circus that includes four smelly boys, six dogs, three cats, seven goats, two donkeys, and six chickens. She is currently raising baby peacocks in her bathtub.