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Nothing’s better for the soul than a little activism

May 25, 2006

I wrote that to a friend of mine with whom I’m conspiring to take away
CFL’s business by creating a more efficient, accountable adult literacy
not-for-profit (CFL is the non-profit that fired my friend and left me
feeling less than impressed).  And the phrase is absolutely true.

Last week, I ventured downtown (during rush hour, no less) to drop off
a packet of letters to Senator Santorum on the topic of immigration
reform–over 150 letters calling upon Santorum to support
comprehensive, compassionate reform that doesn’t criminalize or
indescriminately deport immigrants.  It felt SO GOOD to hand the
letters over to his staffer, to know that I had taken action to support
a cause about which I care deeply.  Even though I think that
Santorum is an ignorant, inconsiderate prick who *probably* won’t
change his mind based even on a thousand letters, it felt good to take
the time to share my views with him nonetheless.  I can’t complain
about his voting record if I don’t let him know how I’d want him to
vote as his constituent.

Despite my sense of empowerment, it felt kind of creepy to be in his
office, greeted by big, smiling pictures of his smug face.  There
were plaques and certificates declaring his worthiness all over the
walls and shelves, making me shudder at the thought that so many people
consider him a gracious individual.

As I waited to hand over my packet of letters to the staffer,  I
studied him with curiousity.  Does this man feed off the advice
and approval of Senator Santorum?  Does he just work there because
he happened to have a connection that got him the job?  Does he
strive to be like Santorum?  He was a very nice man, very
friendly, if a bit submissive.  I bet no matter what his political
views he has a wife that he loves deeply, would do anything for; a
cause that touches close to his heart–perhaps his grandmother died of
breast cancer and he donates regularly to the American Cancer
Society.  He might have a dog and a few kids running around his
house, teasing each other and begging for pony rides on their daddy’s

It’s so hard to reconcile people’s politics with their daily lives
sometimes.  I have no doubt that Senator Santorum is a wonderful
father and husband–but why would he want to deny two loving mothers or
two loving fathers the right to marry and raise children of their
own?  Why would he want to place such a burden on immigrants who
remain separated from their families for years because there aren’t
enough visas to go around?

I can’t hate Santorum for his politics.  I can hate his politics,
but people are such complicated, complex creatures that by hating
another human being, one is inevitably hating parts of him- or
herself.  Santorum and I have certain experiences and desires in
common even if we differ on more.  I have to start from this
assumption, start by finding common ground, if I am ever to reach
anybody else with my own views and opinions. 


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