Some Day Is Now: Montana Diary
September 2, 2012 6 Comments
I’ve been a very bad blogger, but I’ve just started on an adventure that gives me an excellent reason to get back on track. I left New York early this morning and am now at the Great Divide Ranch outside of Philipsburg, Montana, where I’ll be till next Saturday.
No, I’m not at a dude ranch or in rehab. I’m volunteering at Project Vote Smart, a non profit organization I’ve written about before. Is it unseemly to quote oneself? It may be, but here’s what I posted last year: PVS “is a completely non-partisan organization dedicated to the idea that a knowledgable citizenry is an empowered citizenry. With the click of some keys you can find out everything you need to know about candidates and elected officials: biographies, voting records, issue positions, public statements, campaign finances, and more.” You can find out where they stand on issues that matter to you.
For years I’ve been sending donations, and for years I’ve been saying some day I’m going to come here to volunteer. This year I decided there is no “some day.” There’s only now. And here I am. I arrived at Missoula airport this afternoon, along with a couple other volunteers. We were picked up by a group of young staff members and interns, and after a bit of shopping and dinner, drove the two approximately hours from Missoula to the ranch. A lot of the staff and longer term interns are recent college grads, many of whom majored in political science, communications, journalism, international relations. The ones I’ve talked to so far, on the ride to the ranch – Colleen, who arrived today and will be here for ten weeks, and staffers Rachel and Masha – are pretty impressive. Member volunteers, like me, normally come for two weeks, which I’d originally planned to do. But exigencies of life made two weeks problematic, and the folks here were kind enough to let me come for just a week. I hope I’ll be able to contribute something of value while I’m here. It may be as simple as envelope stuffing or data entry, and that will be fine.
Before I close this post, I want to say something about why I’m here, how I feel about participatory democracy, and why I think it’s so important to vote, even if we don’t like any of the parties or candidates. Since I wrote about that once before, I’ll do the unseemly again and link back to my October 2010 post (geez—have I had the blog that long??). And of course I encourage you to visit Project Vote Smart.