posted on Dec, 25 2013 @ 05:02 PM
I've been considering an answer to this post since I saw a day or so ago. I can't tell anyone else what they should do but since 1970 I've been
involved in trying in my small way to make my world (community) a better place. This is how it began:
It was a beautiful summer day and I was taking a walk to the back of the farm, along the creek, heading for the "swimmin' hole", a deeper part of
the wet-weather creek where you could usually find a nice pool to dip your feet into on a hot day. As I approached the site I was assaulted by a
stench that literally made my eyes water. I knew exactly what it was---sewage---but where on earth was it it coming from? When I arrived at the
creek bank there was no doubt of its origins---the creek looked (and smelled) like an open sewer. My first thought was that someone had pumped their
septic tank into the creek. I was curious so I went upstream to try and find the source. It wasn't hard at all as it turned out.
A fellow who was a well-known slum lord in the local college town had bought half an acre of ground on the creek opposite our property and set up 4
house trailers to rent to college students. I found four pipes emptying every bit of waste from those trailers into the creek.
I was only 16 years old and didn't know a whole lot about the law but standing there seeing and smelling that mess, I knewit was wrong! I
had no idea if it was illegal but I knew it was wrong. Needless to say, the "swimmin' hole" was a sewer as well and I was REALLY ticked off.
I hurried home and told my Mother. She was shocked. She said she believed it was illegal to do something like that. She advised me to talk with Dad
about it when he got home---but to please, please wait until after dinner to bring it up. So I did.
My Dad was a bit skeptical of my claim that all those trailers were straight-piped because, he said, "That fellow knows better than that, he knows
it's illegal to do that." So off we go, to let my Dad take a look. Before we even reached the point where we could see the creek, he knew I was
right because he said, "You must be right, only raw sewage smells like that." All his doubt fled when he saw the actual mess lining the creek bed.
My Dad was a pretty laid-back fellow overall and there were few times in my life that I saw him in what I would call an incensed anger but this was
one of those times. He used words that were not normally part of his vocabulary, words that decency prevents me from repeating but the gist of was
that this guy wasn't happy with the slum conditions he created in the town but now apparently wanted to move his slum to the country and didn't
particularly care if he made life miserable for neighbors.
We headed for the house that was immediately downstream from the brand new "trailer park" where a cousin of my Mother lived. They welcomed us in
and apologized for the awful smell. My Dad explained that the smell was the very reason for the visit. He inquired as to whether they had contacted
the authorities. I could tell he was surprised when they said, "Oh, well, he's a rich man and there's nothing we can do. It's his property."
My Dad pointed out that straight pipes are illegal in our county and additionally, he was polluting the entire creek, half of which we owned since the
deed reads "to middle of the branch known as Farley creek." After a few more minutes of talking with them even I could see that they were not
going to do anything except sit and suffer. It was puzzling so as we made our way home I asked my Dad what we could do to get this stopped. He
explained that the authority he had mentioned was the health department. They needed to be contacted but it had to be done during the daytime and he
had to work tomorrow. As it happened I was off from work the next day so he suggested that since I had discovered the problem, was directly affected
by the problem and was perfectly capable of describing the problem, I should go to the health department and make a complaint. I'd never done
anything like that in my life so I was hesitant and full of "what if?" questions about the process. Daddy sat me down and told me that the people I
would be reporting to worked for us, to ensure our safety in matters of health. This problem was a health matter and would have to be investigated.
"Just tell them what you've seen and what you've smelled and ask them when they can come and take a look at it. Now, all that "rich man"
down-in-the-mouth stuff you heard from your cousins; this isn't about rich and poor, this is about the law and it applies to rich and poor. Just
tell them what you saw and smelled."
I did it! I walked in and told the secretary that I wanted to make a complaint about an open sewer resulting from 4 trailers being straight-piped
into a creek. (Yeah, my Dad had told me to use those words, "straight-piped" to get their attention because at that time there were efforts to get
a state-wide law against the practice.) It did in fact get their attention. I was shown to the office of the department head. By the time I
finished giving him the facts he was getting out of his chair and asking to be shown this mess.
I accompanied him to the site. He was shocked. He assured me that I had done a wonderful thing to come to him and that I could rest assured that it
would be taken care of. Within three days he called to say that he had found the owner of the property, contacted him and that he had 60 days to
bring his property into compliance with the law.
The very next week construction equipment appeared and legal septic systems were installed. My activist life began and from then until now, I've
acted and I've made a difference.
I've won some battles.
I've lost some battles.
I'm still fighting.
I've written letters.
I've organized campaigns.
I've contributed time and money to causes in which I believe.
I've been able to have an impact, mostly local, sometimes state-wide and perhaps even a tiny bit on the national scene.
I've run for state-wide office on a third party ticket, devoting a year of my life to traveling and getting to know the people of the Commonwealth of
Kentucky. I did not seek this candidacy, I never even dreamed of being asked to be on a slate but my running mate sought me out. We didn't win that
election but we garnered the most votes (percentage) a third party candidate has ever gotten in a general election.
I'm proud of the changes we made by simply being in the campaign and bringing up subjects that the two parties wouldn't speak of. I've watched
many of our proposals move into the mainstream. I could go into detail but this post is way too long already...
Perhaps it was my Dad's influence at that impressionable age, perhaps it was genes. My great-grandmother was known for her activism in the
suffragette movement. Perhaps it was my 8th grade history teacher, for it was in his class that I remember hearing the quote, "All that is required
for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."
I'm a prepper in the same sense that my grandparents and parents were preppers. I'm not a gloomy-doomy person but I have serious reservations when
I see not only what is happening to the country as a whole but to my very own family.
So, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
Take it one day at a time, pick your battles, do what you can do and never bow down to the "little tin gods."