We Can Change Only Ourselves

A yard sign — I had hope. It might inspire action or at least questioning. In fact, my yard sign was a question: Do you know what your retirement earnings are invested in? The only response I got: “Nice lettering.” Now the yard sign is in the shed.

A bumper sticker —more visibility. I ordered one, same question. Didn’t expect this answer: “Who wants to look at someone else’s politics?” I canceled the order.

A letter to the editor — that has reach, but not if it doesn’t reach publication. My previous letter hadn’t. I felt certain Oregon PERS investment in assault weapons manufacturers was newsworthy. Once published, I believed PERS members would rise up en masse to demand divestment. We’d take to the streets if we had to. And then I remembered when I took to the streets to protest gun violence some years back. I attended a rally at the federal courthouse. I was fired up, wearing orange and bellowing: “Boycott stores that sell guns! Don’t shop at Bi-Mart, Big 5!” I felt empowered and influential — for about an hour. It was only a matter of time before I was back shopping at Bi-Mart and Big 5.

I’m finally understanding something I’ve said for a long time but not lived up to: I’m the only one I can change, though even that is questionable. But I’d rather die trying to be who I want to be than die trying to make someone else be who I want them to be.

Molly Sirois