Last December, I was in New York City with longtime friends who enjoy traveling together and, like me, love Broadway shows. So we were thrilled when we scored tickets to Hamilton – the Tony Award-winning production about the life and times of Alexander Hamilton.
If you’re a history buff, you know Hamilton was the chief aide to General George Washington, the founder of the United States Coast Guard, the founder of the New York Post and a founder of the Federalist Party (the world’s first voter-based political party). But he’s perhaps best known as the first Secretary of the Treasury and founder of our nation’s financial system.
Why the history lesson? Because the best song in the show contains lyrics that still ring true for our time: “I want to be in the room where it happens!”
In a time when news shows and social media are rife with debate over political candidates and issues, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or outright bored and attempt to ignore it all or mentally check out. Don’t do it.
We should all want to be in the room where it happens and we all need you there. Especially if you want to know what’s going in your city, your state, your country and the world as a whole.
If you’re “not in the room” – if you don’t participate in the discussion over what you really want in your local and national government – you’ll actually give away the right to stand up and influence the plans that effect your life, your neighborhood and your livelihood.
You’re definitely not “in the room when it happens” if you don’t vote in every election. If you believe that any election is not really important, then you deem the issues unimportant and deserve exactly whatever you get.
Is the city you live in planning to dismantle a park to put up a parking lot just a few blocks from your home? Is the boulevard you use to drive to work being turned into a one-way street? Are parking spaces being removed from your favorite shopping blocks downtown? Will you lose your rights to make your own decisions about your body because you forgot register to vote for a national election?
Get involved. Today. Stop by your city hall or log on to your city’s website. Check to see when community meetings are being held. They’re open to the public and an agenda is required to be posted at least a week before each meeting.
Do you know the name of your mayor? Your state representative or US senator? In a recent poll, an overwhelming amount of US citizens believed that Judge Judy – a reality television star – was actually on the Supreme Court. She’s not. And these folks are definitely not in the room where it happens.
Most city newspapers are available online and you can bookmark the site so you it’s easily accessed from your laptop or your smart phone. CNN, FOX News and most network news channels also have great apps you can download free to stay in the loop.
Stop moaning and complaining. Stop acting like you’re powerless to make a difference. If you want change the status quo, you have to be in the room.
I’ll see you there.