Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gardening and Politics 

For the past 10 days or so, an hour a clip, I've participated in the spring ritual of working in my garden. The flowers are planted on a small hill with lousy soil. The location sprouts buck thorn in the adjacent plots. The rabbits seem to think I'm Farmer McGregor and my indigenous flowers, which they are supposed to ignore, are there for their dining pleasure.

Over the years I've worked this glacial moraine soil, adding coffee grounds and egg shells beginning summer of 2005. Surprise, surprise - it's working. This year many plants appear to have a healthier start and the soil is being cultivated by worms. Now I can turn over the ground without stressing my wrist joints.

This spring I even split some lilies and iris - spread the plants for more blooms. I'm removing wild grass and chives that seem to grow in places I never put them.

Gardening is tedious, dirty and sometimes uncomfortable. But what hit me today was that gardening is like politics. You work the soil, make changes, add some new plants, keep out the riff-raff (rabbits and deer), and then enjoy the burst of color, smells, birds, etc. that come after weeks and months of work. When gardening, you cannot ignore the weeds; you need to adapt to the weather; you need to deal with the critters. You cannot go away and in summer hope for the flowers to bloom - you have to cultivate them.

Politics is like that. As much as we hate to take the time to learn what our various levels of government are doing, what is really true about who said what, we need to. If we don't cultivate our knowledge of our nation and politicians, slowly but surely the weeds and critters will take over. Insidiously government will creep into our lives; invade individual rights; sneakily raise our taxes; subtly control our kids, our lives, our language, and eventually us.

Just as my garden requires time, so does my job as a citizen. It is my responsibility to find sources I can trust - not ones with a mantra that espouse one side's agenda, not one that lays a guilt trip on me, not one that wants to run my life. Rather, I need to find those sources and politicians that have solutions, ones that let me keep my money, that think and believe in our nation. I would hope each of us would find an hour a day - radio, Internet, non-standard source to cultivate our minds so we control our government, not the other way around.

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