Thursday, September 11, 2008

This is not a political blog . . .

Obama, McCain, Palin, Biden, Paul, Nader, the guy, the other guy?

I don't have a set topic to my blog because I write for me. But this is not a political blog. I read my share of tech blogs, or sites that aggregate tech blogs and I'm growing increasingly tired of the hysteria surrounding this election.

That you vote and who you vote for is important, and I will be standing in line at my precinct and voting along with you. But if all you have to offer your pet cause is filling in a circle on your ballot, you have failed.


The President of the United States has very little ability to bring about positive change, no matter which party is elected or what kind of change you want.
Short of "Ending The War", something you and I have little control over unless we're actually fighting in it, everything else is within your power to impact.


Are you concerned about...

...the homeless? Give time to a shelter, or a soup kitchen. Take a look in your closet, remove some nice clothes that you don't wear often, specifically those that would serve as "interview" clothes and check to see if a city near you has a program or charity that focuses on finding jobs for the homeless. Often they need nice clothes for interviews. Take the rest, bag it and give it to the Salvation Army or another suitable charity.

...the Economy or Forclosures? You probably have someone in your neighborhood who could use a helping hand. You have two hands, what are you doing with them? In your own life, you could start paying off your house, eliminating your debt, and shoring up your savings. Quit borrowing the American dream and start paying for it.

...Abortion (as in, the prevention of), Racial Equality, the proliferation of Drugs, Gun Violence? Get involved in a group that mentors young girls and boys, perhaps in an area that is less comfortable to drive through than the place you live. Children who are kept "off the streets" are less likely to get pregnant young, do drugs, and will succeed in education. Don't give me the exceptions, there's always exceptions, that's an excuse. If you attend church, get involved. If your church doesn't have a place for you to get involved, find another church.

...Uganda? Invisible Children.

...Africa and the Third World? Try Kiva. Do this with your children.

...Healthcare? Donate to cancer research. Sign up for the Bone Marrow Registry. Donate Blood. Look around your city and find a private, non-profit hospital or healthcare related charity. Give.
Volunteer at a local Free Clinic. Even if you're not a doctor, pharmacist, or Dentist, sometimes they need building improvements, receptionists or just people to sit and help manage the flow of traffic.

...Supporting the Troops? There are many charities that give care packages, plane tickets, phone cards and other things to support the troops.
Don't forget about their families. If you know someone who has a son or daughter serving, thank them. Talk to them. They are all proud of their sons and/or daughters, but don't think they're not scared out of their minds.
There are charities supporting the families of the fallen, supporting the families of the deployed, supporting the injured and disabled and supporting the currently deployed. Give.

...Public Schools? Get involved in your PTA, if your school doesn't have one, inquire about starting one. Contact your son or daughter's teachers. Attend school board meetings. Private or home school your kids.

...Violent Video Games? Take a look at your own family's collection, then start asking your kids parents. Inform them of what you consider acceptable, if they give you trouble, don't allow your child to spend time over there. You'll find that most parents are surprised at the question but will react reasonably a lot of the time.

...Violence or Objectionable material on Television? Monitor or Turn It Off. There are stations I don't allow into my house, and I've never found any reason to write letters to the FCC.

...High Taxes and Government Evils? Hire a tax professional to do your taxes. A tax pro can find more legal deductions than you. That's less money going to what you perceive as Government Evil. Non-political charitable donations are often tax deductible, so get extra bang for your buck by giving to a charity that will spend your money precisely the way you want them to.

...Freedom of Speech and DRM? (This has to be a political one), support the EFF. They're fighting the cause on several legal fronts. Stop buying music that is utilizes DRM. Stop running operating systems that are riddled with DRM. Help others do the same. Don't patronize sites that stream or allow the purchase of movies that employ DRM.

...Religious Freedom? Start serving at your church, mosque, synagogue, or wherever you are affiliated in a place that focuses on building people up, not tearing things down. Serve abroad in countries that lack religious freedoms. Private or Home school your kids if you're unhappy with religious teaching at public schools.

...The Environment, energy independence, making our enemies rich through Oil, or the high price of gas? When you buy your next car, replace your SUV with something fuel efficient, replace your appliances with more efficient models. Turn your computer off sometimes, or let it hibernate, and buy a more efficient power supply/CPU. Install CFL or LED lighting. Be less wasteful: fix things that are broken instead of replacing them (yes, that's a contradiction to my previous statement, but it all depends on what you're trying to save). Shop second hand, and donate that which you are replacing. Use Freecycle. Install a geo-thermal system, or wind/solar power if those are options for you.

OK, I'm finished . . .


So go out and vote for the guy or the other guy. And when the guy or the other guy wins, be happy or upset about it, but don't waste your time protesting, rioting or writing blog posts complaining or praising the winner. Quit talking about what they're doing or not doing and go do it yourself.

I know there are about 40 visits a day to this blog, and I have no idea how many of them actually read anything, but please note that I will remove any comment that mentions or alludes to any political candidate for any office (though, I won't be doing that all day today). I don't care to spread anyone's propaganda. And considering I have not one blog post with one comment, I don't expect it to be a lot of work :o). And this post was not meant to give you the impression that your humble author does any or all of these things.

If, on the other hand, you have other non-political ways to make the world a better place, such as a charity or activity that's worth time and money, by all means share it.

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