Civic Diary 6/3/2016

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

Hello everyone, it’s the latest Civic Diary. As noted I figured I’d post this late or not at all considering the weekend, and I figured I’d just do one this week. Not exatly what I’d want to do, but I do acknowledge my limits.

So this weekend I attended Fanime 2016. I do a lot of conventions where I speak – but this time it was just recreational, cosplay, and hanging out with friends in a mini-reunion. This got me thinking.

Lately my usual work at a museum doing accessioning has been on hold due to remodeling. I just had my first event I haven’t spoken at in years. So having a sudden spate of not doing “my community thing” was insightful. I felt like something was missing, a visceral sensation.

That sensation is a guide to Civic Engagement that trully is something from “you.”

There is something we humans crave in engagement, the desire for meaningful activity that ties us together. Having a rare moment where I did not have my museum work, did not have speaking, made me aware of that lack.

It led me to rethink – and appreciate – my various forms of community involvement. What was important? What mattered? Why did I do it? What more can I do. I’m going to be re-evaluting my civic engagements in the weeks to come now that I have this “gut feel” about what’s important.

I think I need to sort of write up my “system” for civic engagement if that makes sense. This is, of course, part of it.

What else is up?

  • That local political meetup?  Got cancelled.  So I need to find out where the next one is.  I’m annoyed, but thats the way it goes.
  • With all the eventful activities I got behind on “The Little Book Of Revolution” – I’ll try to finish that soon. Its kind of a heavy read to be blunt – plus right now I’m not in the mood to learn to Change People’s Minds.
  • I’ve been thinking over my idea of Strong and Weak links in Civic Engagement -and I hate the terms. I’m thinking of them more as Strong and Diffuse links – do we build specific powerful structures or more of a networked system. Voter registration via a political party is a Strong form of Civic Engagement. Charity work to distribute food to the needy is more diffuse. Running an anime convention is Strong, running a general writer meetup is Diffuse.
  • People really, really should appreciate the power of their fannish groups, game clubs, and more. Those connections provide a lot of support and social structure – as my own experiences at Fanime reminded me.
  • I’ve gotten behind on writing my representatives – though I wonder I’ve overfocused – since usually as of late I write them on trans rights. Do I keep mailing on the same thing or try to keep discussing different important items? For instance, this time I wrote them on voting rights.
  • I keep forgetting my state reps. I really need to remember them.
  • I’ve seen a county political party encourage letter writing to the media. Does that work? I admit the media is a pretty giant mess but I wonder if, much like me writing my reps, it at least has a chance to work?

Thats it for now. More next week!

– Steve