One of the things that I've come to realize over the last several years, starting with Katrina, is that we can no longer look to the government to protect us. I guess I had been living in a bubble, but I thought that in an emergency the federal government would be there to solve the problem, if the need was great. Like some giant bird swooping down to fix whatever was wrong. (Too many movies, I think.) But I no longer have faith in its capability to handle huge problems. New Orleans, banking deregulation, the two wars we should not be in, MMS's non-oversight of mining and the Gulf oil spill, Congress's inability to do anything at all, have made me realize that we just have each other in the long run.
I could whine and cry about this realization, I guess, but like so many of you, I'm tired of that. Instead, I've decided to take a hands-on approach. If I see a need, and I have the ability to help in some way, then that is what I'm going to do. It may be a simple blog post, or a donation, or putting change in the jars sitting on the grocery counter, but whatever it is, I'm going to jump in with both feet. It's easy to donate all of your used household items to a good cause, it's easy to pass on information on our blogs, it's easy to pull in and let teenagers wash your car to raise money for a school project, it's easy to buy a box of cookies from the Girl Scouts, it's easy to tip an extra dollar to the waitress bringing you your breakfast.
I think we need to take a grass-roots approach to helping each other. If everyone did one little thing, each time they could, think of the overall impact. Today I donated the comments money from Lori's fundraiser for the Gulf animals covered in oil. Tomorrow I will make it a point to not look the other way when I see a need, but make a sincere effort to help in some way. I'm going to do this until it becomes habit - just like brushing my teeth. I'm going to do it until I don't even notice I'm doing it anymore.