Saturday, December 29, 2012

Changing the World

In mid-December, after Clackamas, after Sandy Hook, I started clipping Opinion page columns and letters to the editor about gun control. I wanted to present a solution in such perfect logic and phrasing that everyone would agree.

I sent letters to both Oregon Senators and to my congressman, urging them to act on the gun control problem. I enclosed copies of what at the time seemed the most cogent arguments for banning assault weapons and rapid-fire ammunition clips.

A few days later I saw that the solution and words are out there and have been for a long time. I could add nothing new. And I was reminded that what we focus on expands. For me to stew on the issue would help no one. I dropped my project.

I also considered dropping my subscription to the paper, but I’m a writer. I’m a writer who is addicted to puzzles, including the Cryptoquote. I’ve clipped many and stored them in an envelope, always intending to type them into a document for easier retrieval.

And so, on Christmas Day, home alone because of an ear infection, I busied myself at the computer. Here are some of the quotes that helped me have a really wonderful day.

I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.—E. B. White

(And when I think about changing the world before I’m up, getting up can seem impossible!)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. –Margaret Mead

(I certainly hope the members of that small group find each other soon!)

The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us. –Voltaire

(This verified my decision to avoid action that could escalate the gun control debate and swirl me into negativity.)

And finally, this:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. –Theodore Roosevelt

And I do. I write letters. I donate to Food for Lane County at the checkout counter at Market of Choice. I pick up litter on my walks. I contribute to Greenhill and S.A.R.A.’s. I give clothes to the Mission, unneeded household goods to St. Vinnie’s. I write this blog!

Does that make me a world changer in a small way, right where I am? I hope so.

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