A nagging desire to get involved

by Meg White

Though my family wasn’t necessarily the most politically active one on the block, it was always impressed upon me that part of my duties as a citizen was to be an informed voter in every election, no matter how minor. As a result, I can’t remember an election when I didn’t vote. I also can’t remember an election when I didn’t cajole at least one friend or acquaintance who expressed a reluctance to vote to just do this bare-minimum task. What can I say? I’m a democracy nag.

I’ve taken a few other actions that might give me some increased political involvement cred: I ran communications for an aldermanic campaign once, I’ve been an election judge in two different states and I’ve written my fair share of “concerned citizen” op-eds. But overall, I’m pretty average in this department.

I’ve never run for office, convinced developers and officials to invest in my neighborhood, or petitioned for zoning changes or traffic rearrangements. These all seem like daunting, potentially exhausting activities, yet they’re all actions that have been taken by the otherwise relatively ordinary real estate professionals in our cover story. And I’d like to take this moment to commend them for it.

The thing is, none of the brokers we talked to for this issue felt that the time they spend being politically involved detracts from their business. In fact, quite the opposite: One agent even told me that her deep commitment to the community means she doesn’t have to spend time prospecting for new business, because she’s well-known enough that it comes to her organically. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

So even if you’re not ready to run for office, I hope this issue inspires you to attend a community development meeting or get in contact with your alderman about something that’s been bothering you and your neighbors lately. And if you do, please tell me how it goes! I’m reachable at [email protected] Just don’t be shocked if I hound you to vote next election day.

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