Hoist Your Flags High, Mateys
Surfrider Pier Paddle 2008

I've been thinking about causes, lately, and how they seem to define so many of us. This election year, it's inescapable: Democrat? Republican? Environmentalist? Pro-lifer? Choose your patch of grass, plant your flag, make a stand.

People wear lots of badges - pins, bumperstickers, t-shirts - to provide a sort of shorthand to define not just their opinions, but who they are as people. To be a part of something larger. To connect. 

I've been wondering, as I drive around with my Obama bumpersticker and attend political and environmental events, if it's enough. Maybe I need to have a 'Bring a Republican to Dinner' night. We won't talk politics, values or religion - but we could share our love of meatloaf. Meatloaf: The great uniter.

2008_Shan_SurfPaddleThe Varmint and I definitely have our causes. We go to Surfrider's Paddle for Clean Water (that's The Varmint looking oh-so sexy at this year's gig), give to The Nature Conservancy and offset our carbon footprint every year. We try to live cleaner, recycle, and support the people who are giving loads of time in support of their causes. (People like my friend Laura, who's walking 60 miles to fight breast cancer. People like Donna, who rides hundreds of miles to fight leukemia. You go girls! You make me proud.) We give moolah when we've got it; we join in.

But honestly? You never really know for sure whether you're making a difference. How would you even measure that? It's an act of faith. Nearly a miracle, really, considering that any donation of time or dinero will have sprung from the tight fists of a couple of grizzled old atheists.

So to answer a few recent email quest-u-sations I've received: Yes. The Varmint and I are indeed liberal-leaning suburbanite treehuggers. We're leaning so far, you'd think we had matching club feet. We're also probably the exact sort of people you'd find on Stuff White People Like. Guilty as charged, and then some.

We figure we'll keep living the cliche, amiably tolerate the mocking, and keep our bleeding hearts bloody in the hope that tomorrow sucks less than it does today.

If that ain't believing in a brighter future, then what the hell is?



  1. christy said on September 23, 2008 18:27

    Did you coordinate your charity/cause awareness post with Ant's current pin post? :-) Wow. We are just two couples united by more than just Facebook... take a look: http://dailypin.blogspot.com/ BTW: every entry on stuff white people like matches things I like. Go figure, he he. C.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >