Grinding On In Hope

(This column is posted at, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort.  Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my

2022 seems to be a line of unmitigated tragedy.  COVID continues to rampage, Russia invades Ukraine, the economy teeters, the news is full of bullshit, and there are multiple school shootings.  Even though we see hope in Ukraine, the other issues wear on us.

I’m sure you feel that grinding awfulness, and in time you want to give up.  I can offer you this advice – don’t.  Take a rest, take a break, get away, but don’t give up.

The one thing we can do is keep going in the face of all this awfulness.  We can fight for what matters, we can stick to what’s meaningful to us, we can not quit.  Quitting is the one thing that guarantees a worse world.

This isn’t just a moral statement, it’s a statement about meaning in our lives.  When we give up then we’re no longer ourselves, we’re a shadow waiting for harsh light to erase us.  In motion there is hope that what matters to us can continue to matter, to sustain, to grow, to return.  We need this motion not just to be good people but to stay sane.

Humans are a process.  When we stop, we’re just not people, just not ourselves.

So as hard as things are now – and I know they’re hard – don’t give up.  Keep going, even if “going” involves a rest for now.  Keep being you – that you, that process, might just get us out of this mess, or at least you.  Until we get out of this, at least you’ll be yourself when you’re in motion.

Steven Savage

Civic Diary 7/2/2016

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



Still watching the fallout from the Brexit.  It seems to have been a sadly obvious con, and one where opportunistic a-holes manipulated and scared people.  It’s a hideous synergy of crap news and awful people who got people to vote for destroying their economy and their country’s reputation.  Honestly, even if the UK doesn’t leave the EU (and I’m leaning to it won’t now) this makes people trust the country less.

It’s also a reminder that something may be imperfect, but may be a hell of a lot better than the alternative.  Which, politically, is what we should consider “good” to “excellent.”

So my big civic lesson from the Brexit is to keep up more on news.  I did anyway, but I sort of went back to my “news rituals” in force as I’d slipped on them.  That involves:

  • Checking my newsfeeds at least once a day in an app.
  • Reading long-form articles from reliable sources (I use the AP and Quartz) from said feeds.
  • I added Politifact to my news scan since it’s useful.
  • Doing my usual Twitter news scan.  Remember I have one list just for government, politics, and activism that helps me stay up to date.

You can’t know everything; you can work to stay informed.

Political Engagement:

Now that I’ve got some leads on political orgs fitting my interests, I’m slowly gearing up.  That takes time as people are busy, but I’ve got an actual (almost sure not to be cancelled) political meeting coming up and am in contact with other volunteering options.

As noted my interest is voter registration right now, but as also noted I’m asking what my long-term interests are in political engagement.  I’m thinking beyond that education and communication.  It’s sort of exciting to think I can apply my hobbies and my career experiences to something.

Political engagement doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be boring.  Look for what fits you.


– Steve

Civic Diary 4/7/2016

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

So remember my post on Citizenship? Where I’d post monthly or so on my experiments in being more civicly engaged? Taking it in a slightly different direction.

Welcome to the Civic Diary.

I figure as opposed to a monthly roundup, I’d share my experiments sort of whenever. That way I can get feedback and ideas and it may inspire others to do likewise on their attempts to be more engaged citizens.

(I also figure it adds structure to the whole endeavor).

I should note this is not an attempt to show off – nor should it be for anyone. This is more chronicling a journey to see if it helps anyone – but it is a journey, since I’m not there yet.

So what did I learn since last time:

  • If your town/city or whatever has a Twitter, Facebook, newsletter, or RSS feed get it. A lot happens locally that can affect our life and the lives of others, and there’s often many chances to get involved. It also keeps you aware of issues from the bottom-up. Here in Silicon Valley just one week into following my town I already feel more educated.
  • A lot of citizenship seems to be about the power of weak links (just like networking) – many small, not really strong connections that you leverage when needed or that add up. In the case of citizenship that combination of friends, RSS feeds, retweets adds up. No one little bit of citizenship-connection is going to be The One that makes you some epic civic wonder – its having many options and inputs.
  • Libraries – if there’s a local library get their newsletter, check their page, etc. Libraries provide a lot of social services – you can find a class, keep up on community news, or even do presentations or each.
  • Keeping up on news is invaluable to citizenship – on all levels. That seems obvious, but when you’re thinking “how do I be a better citizen” regularly (say, in making an effort like this) you see how valuable the news is.
  • Everyone has their own “news rhythm” that keeps them informed. Maybe you check once a day, maybe regularly, whatever. Just develop one.

Finally, I also find keeping a civic diary like this helps me think about how to be a better citizen. So hey, why not try your own.

– Steve