Voting and the peaceful change in power is always an amazing day in any democracy. This week celebrating both our democratic system and Veteran’s Day always brings me a sense of gratitude for those who worked and fought so hard in the decades before me. However, we must understand what voting is, and what voting is not. Voting is a way for us to back up our own personal opinions and express those to our elected leaders. Voting is not a way to shift the tides, impact communities or society, make sweeping reforms or fundamentally change our ways of life. Instead we must look at our courses of action in our daily lives to see if we’re impacting things on that large of a scale.Many people in our society stress and have strong opinions on healthcare. Government run vs. privately owned, a right vs. a priviledge, etc. As much as we like to believe that voting will have a large impact on those decisions, ultimately it is out of our hands. So what can we impact? What can we control? Well…
- First we can be a supporter of local food sources and local farmers who are fighting the good fight to ethically raise animals and crops, bring them to market in a profitable and timely manner in order to better serve our community. Some of my favorite spots are Stover Farms in Powell and of course the Worthington Farmer’s Market.
- Second, we can support our local foodbanks, especially as we come upon the Holiday season, by donating quality food as well as our time. Mid Ohio Food Bank is who we have supported over the years, but each community has their own needs and organizations.
- Third, support local gyms, coaches, trainers and people who have taken a massive risk to open something that is contrary to the big business of commercial gyms. We created these communities with fewer members, a harder business model, long hours and no franchise net so that we could give a more personalized service to our local community members. Our rates of success are significantly higher (at Friendship we see over 97% retention and over 95% of our clients come through our doors each week) and the support you give these facilities will help bring more and more people to the realization that we control our own healthcare fate, not big government.
- Fourth, be active! Your community is likely running all sorts of events each week and weekend that you can get involved with. Many of these events involve supporting local charities — My favorite is the Go Ruck challenges. These support the Green Beret Foundation which is near and dear to my heart, and a great organization that has even helped Friendship and other veteran owned business in the past!
- Fifth, involve others. A community is a group of people who support each other. If everyone in America who was extremely fit and active brought 2-3 friends with them on some of their activities they enjoyed, it could start a huge ground swell of activity! The problem is, most people skip out on having real, difficult conversations with people they love about their own health and fitness. To me, this has just never made sense — Voting for healthcare change, and hoping that Congress or the President will maybe turn things your way, while not taking the most obvious and local step seems counter-productive to me.
These are just things you can do locally to support healthcare change. The same arguments can be made for any politicized or voting ballot issue — education, marijuana, corporate interests, etc. all have their own list of ways you can get involved, and make meaningful change that will have an immediate impact.The bottom line is that relying on our elected leaders to carry out tasks could take years, even decades. Even then, it might not turn out the way you want, because maybe 51% of the rest of the country doesn’t agree. None of those facts should affect the change that you make on a local level each and every day. Once you realize the impact that one person, one voice, one conversation, one friend signing up for something, one parent agreeing to join you for a workout can have then you will shift far more of your attention onto things you can control. The best part is, you don’t need to wait every 2-4 years to get worked up about this stuff…you can start today, you could do it again tomorrow and each day thereafter.So I hope your actions aren’t solely focused on the state and national level today. I hope you take a moment and appreciate voting and democracy for what it is, but remember the freedom that we all have in capitalism, freedom of choice and speech to support the businesses and charities we want, how we want, when we want, ultimately has a far greater impact than voting will ever have. Go vote, but in your commute both ways call someone and get involved with one of the things listed above!