Many activists are engulfed in the impeachment hearings. They want Trump impeached and gone. But I got a sober reminder recently that highlighted our reality. Every year I participate in the Annual Human Library, a project of the Civic Engagement Committee at Lonestar College-North Harris County. Many students start at these community colleges for their first two years to dramatically reduce their education costs. This lends itself to the reality that you see a vast cross-section of people of all ages and ethnicities from various socioeconomic groups.
Several professionals in their craft are invited to tell their stories to the students. As students populate a table with 2-12 students a professional in their field sits at the table and tells their story. I condensed my story to four minutes or so and then I threw it back at them. I wanted to take this opportunity to get to their core. I addressed each one and asked them to just talk about what is on their minds. It shocked most but man, when they opened up the stories I heard were astounding.
The common thread was that they all wanted to succeed. That is not hard to imagine given that we are at a college, but most wanted to succeed in their family at all costs. Some wanted to just make a difference to people in society. The part that saddened me was they all felt they had no control over what is going to happen. Not one of them saw any purpose of being politically active. Saying they were apathetic is an understatement.
I found two stories that connected very well with them. I pointed out that their demographic, if they voted, is the most significant. When I explained the correlation between education costs when I was in college relative to theirs and tax-cut policies, they all came to attention. They realized that if they work together they can force politicians to address their concerns. Many of the students wanted to be teachers. When I pointed out the true power of teachers if they ever decided to assert it, the interest was there as well. It was all about finding what spoke to their realities, a sort of personalization.
Trump came up one time. One person mentioned the impeachment hearings in passing. It seems everyone is aware of “some kind of impeachment talk,” but I do not find many very closely engaged.