Last month, as I was trying to decide on a blog post (John Lennon’s birthday, buying a mouse trap), a priest’s politically-charged homily got my writing juices flowing in a totally different direction. Erudite emails erupted, instead.
Imagine my surprise when a friend (a writer) commented that she hoped the emails would make a difference but doubted they would. True, Archbishop Chaput’s response was the party line I expected, but her comments, more than his, took me aback.
My very first Letter to the Editor was published when I was 14 years old. I did not even know until my religion teacher showed it to me. “Teen Defends Superstar Album” read the headline on the editorial page of the Catholic Standard and Times. My opinion in print: my voice mattered.
So began a lifetime of speaking – and writing – my mind. When the Philadelphia Inquirer waxed nostalgic about sneakers dangling from wires in Philly neighborhoods, I set them straight: “Girls Were Sneaker-Tossers, Too.” Mine dangled brazenly over my Olney neighborhood for quite a few years.
Ever since my eighteenth birthday, I have voted in every election: another way to be heard. I remember telling – not asking – one of my first bosses that I would not be at work because I was marching in Washington to support the Equal Rights Amendment. Somewhere in that crowd were Gloria Steinem, Marlo Thomas, and Bella Abzug, to name a few. No one may have noticed me, but I was proud to unite my voice with theirs.
When a local political party boss chastised that I’d better change my party affiliation if I wanted to do any work in my county, I wrote to the freeholder director asking if this was county policy. Though he did not respond “on the record,” he did call me to assure me that it was not county policy. (As an aside, I never changed my political affiliation, that party boss and I became good friends, and I even got county work every once in awhile).
I have written to congresspersons, senators, POTUS. I have written to my professional organization. I “Spout Off” in my community paper. I blog. I vote. I often do not know if my voice makes a difference. I do know that saying nothing makes no difference at all.
So, as long as I have something to say, I will say it.
And that makes a difference to me.
Tuesday, November 6 is Election Day. Make your voice heard. Make a difference. Vote.