The eyes of the political world are watching our every move in an attempt to predict how we will vote on March 4. But what happens the following day? How will we, as Central Texans, respond to the letdown that inevitably comes when the spotlight is snuffed out?
The next president won't have a chance to directly address the issues we care about for a year or more. If ever. But we can all make real changes in the lives of our neighbors the moment we decide it's important enough to do so.
As president of United Way Capital Area, I'm all too aware that the problems we have on March 4 will still be there the next day. More than one in five students entering ninth grade still won't graduate on time. The poverty rate will still creep upward. Access to quality health care will still be an impossible dream for many. And the gap between those who are getting ahead and those who are falling behind will still be far too wide.
But starting March 5, we can vote again. Starting March 5, we can become mentors to young children who don't have a reliable adult to look up to; we can volunteer to clean up a child-care center in East Austin; we can sign up to teach literacy classes to adults and nonnative speakers.
Starting March 5, we can decide that "change" isn't a hollow buzzword but instead something we can seize ourselves.
Voting is vital. But you make an even more audacious statement by giving your time, talent, and treasure right here in Austin. Want to get involved but aren't sure how? Visit Hands on Central Texas, the volunteer center of United Way Capital Area, by visiting www.handsoncentraltexas.org
or dialing 211.