Why am I Politically Active?
By Michael Kerstetter KEA Secretary Treasurer
I have always cared about politics. I’m a child of the fifties and sixties and I took it seriously when our elected officials were declaring wars that I thought unnecessary while at the same time, they were breaking rules and laws established to keep politicians in line. I have voted in every election held since 1971, the year I turned 21, the voting age at that time. Over the years, I have tried to stay informed, even though at times it was difficult, due to the nature of the press seeming to support a status quo that was sometimes unsupportable. I have encouraged others to be politically involved; family members and friends who needed to be cajoled (or worse) into wanting to vote and I’m sure at times I have convinced some to vote against whatever I was for, but I tried. As time has passed, my views have remained relatively constant, though my rhetoric is less shrill and hopefully I come across sounding more reasoned than when I was young. Still, the message must be stated: You are in control of your destiny and what you do at the poll (now the mailbox) is important and counts. The election of 2004 for Washington Governor is a perfect example: At one point, Dino Rossi led Christine Gregoire by 261 votes, which was reduced to 42 by a machine recount. After a hand recount it was found that Gregoire had won by 125 votes. Your vote counted then and it may need to count even more loudly again.
Why am I politically active? Because at this moment, we are staring at an extremely well-funded, aggressive privatization movement the likes of which has never been assembled, that is intent on taking away hard-fought and long-held rights that will affect every aspect of our employment if they prevail. Collective bargaining is on the block. Our health care has been under attack and will be again. The curriculum we teach is under scrutiny and is about to be redefined by politicians. Our wages, benefits, class sizes; seemingly everything is controlled by politicians. You can affect this process in one very important way: Find out who the candidates are that are really pro-education (not just the ones who say they are; they ALL claim that title) and work to see that they are elected. Talk to friends, talk to associates, talk to people at the grocery store, at Little League, at soccer, at PTA. Take an afternoon to find out when and where the doorbelling and phone bank campaigns are happening. Volunteer. This is worth your time.
Why am I politically active? Because politics has always needed me and it has never needed me and you more than now.