Martin Luther King Jr Day has me thinking even more about things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

Our government is corrupt. I’m not singling out Trump here. I’m talking about years of corruption, congressmen being bought and paid for, systematic oppression and scapegoating that goes back for years and crosses all parties.

You can look at any department, any situation, any level of government and it is clear, the person with the most influence (power, money) will pass laws that have their best interest in mind or the interest of their friends or the people lining their pockets.

In some ways, this is just human nature, we want to help people who help us. We care about the things we care about and don’t have space in our brains to care about everything.

But watch any movie (or, you know, read a book) from the last few years: Selma, the Big Short, War Dogs, 13th documentary, Snowden, etc and you’ll see how the government doesn’t play by its own rules…and we’re paying for it.

That’s why people have to keep calling it out. That’s why people can’t just say, “I’m cool with this.” Because it’s not cool. My hope is that we would look past sides, parties, and individual leaders and call out corruption wherever we see it and most of all, not participate in it ourselves. In government, business, and everyday life, honesty and goodness could take us very far if we all decided together we believed in those things and didn’t let people who are dishonest and shady keep moving up. It’s only human nature to keep doing what works.

So since the government is useless (channeling my inner Ron Swanson here) I’ve decided to ask myself over and over what can I do?

Work within your sphere of influence. We are all connected to something somehow. Encourage local businesses to pay living wages, to hire, promote, and train minorities and women and to provide healthcare. When the government tried to enforce this, people just found ways around it. Support businesses who pay for their employees to go to school or receive other training. Tell them you like what they’re doing.

Tell your local police force you want to connect with them. Volunteer at an organization that needs help and see how you can help. Support teachers, be a good role model for children. Some people just need one good influence in their life to get them on the right track.

The government defunds Planned Parenthood, and look at all the people who stepped up and donated. Those people were out there the whole time. What else could we support/fund if we decided to take it into our own hands?

I just believe that the average person might have better ideas on how to solve problems…Good people don’t seem to end up in politics very often, or at least they don’t seem to get very far.

Bill Gates, and many other people, are putting people through college. People have developed apps GoodRx and Blink Health so people can find cheaper prescriptions and healthshare organizations that are cheaper than insurance. People are tutoring kids so they can get to college. People are taking in and feeding the homeless. People are starting businesses that hire veterans. People are funding initiatives to hear more minority voices in cinema and the arts. Run for office and if you don’t win, do what you would’ve done if you had won.

We can’t wait for the government to change because it takes too long.

You have to push for your issue, because it’s not going to be everyone else’s issue, we’re all busy dealing with our own stuff and there are so many things to care about. Don’t expect everyone to care about the same things you care about. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t seem to care, your passion will be contagious and you can find like-minded people and you can make a change.

On the flip, try and respect that people are fighting for what they believe in and try and understand rather than push against. We are all connected.

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s a bit overwhelming, but I’m starting by just making a habit to say “yes” to small opportunities that come my way and to come up with small ways I can help using the skills I have. There are so many places to help, they’re not hard to find.

“Justice for all just ain’t specific enough.”

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