Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It Only Takes One Voice

Just recently a blogger blasted me for supporting and helping Ed Mangano get elected as County Executive. It made me realize just how crazy society is getting. As an advocate of health and wellness, I make it my job to get involved politically, because if I don't, I can't help create change. But even if I was a lay person with no aspirations of "changing the World", I would still want to be involved.

Does everyone realize that their vote counts? Did you know that you can call your local legislator any time and get answers or give opinions and make your voice heard? Can you accept that you are who the politicians are working for? Did you know that many politicians will readily admit that they don't always know how to make things better and are looking to the public for help in finding solutions?

Many years ago, my father died of lung cancer. I promised him on his death bed that I wouldn't stop talking about the dangers of cigarettes. I went out on a mission and alienated many people with my fight against second hand smoke. I can't tell you how angry people got with me for "sticking my nose where it doesn't belong." Fortunately, I was unwilling to quit and campaigned for many years in New York and then New Jersey, sending in letters and emails to whatever politician I could find., showing up at political events, and speaking at small business meetings. To my surprise, people listened, and albeit a small effort, I believe I helped change the smoking laws in NY and NJ.

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience and have not stopped voicing my opinions about wellness since. What would have happened if I and the other smoke-free advocates stopped fighting for you? What if we believed we could never make a difference just being one voice? What if none of us decided to stand up for our rights and yours? Basically, you would still be sitting in smoke filled movie theatres, planes, bars, and restaurants, getting sicker by the day from second hand smoke.

It only takes one person to start a revolution, but it takes many more to join in and create the change. I have no issue being scolded, laughed at, or even belittled for my work. For every one person who scoffs at me, there are many others who are happy for the effort. What I do need though, is for everyone who is on board with conquering the issues we are challenged by today to come forward and do something, however small they believe it is, so we can cummulatively create change. Write one letter, email, or make one phone call and give your thoughts and ideas to your local legislator. I promise and I know from experience that your ideas will be welcomed and most especially, will be heard. D.