Make a Difference

People are wingeing all over my Facebook feed about this carrot-hybrid we elected to be president.

Well, get used to it. I’m pretty sure the president-elect hasn’t friended you, or if he has, he’s not reading your posts, except to amuse himself at your futile flailings and puny ambitions.

I know you’re high-minded (or maybe just high), but if you want to effect a change, it’s more effective on a local scale than to rant about what’s happening in the halls of the national government.

So volunteer. There are hundreds of local organizations where your efforts can make a real, sometimes life-or-death, difference in people’s lives.

Or maybe volunteering in an organization looks too much like a regular job to you. There are other ways you can contribute to your community. Help you neighbors paint their house, or take out their trash, or start a garden. Help that little old lady lift her suitcase onto the conveyor belt at Customs. Bake some cookies, or a loaf of bread, and share.

A small kindness can make a difference in someone’s day.

And vote. And encourage your friends and neighbors to vote, too. Get involved in the local election process.

But if you’re going to vote, for God’s sake exercise some critical thinking skills. Don’t just accept what our “leaders” are telling you.

Ask, for instance, how a downtown arena is going to create an economic renaissance in El Paso. Lots of towns have arenas. Lots of those towns with arenas have arenas downtown. Why would a company choose to locate in El Paso just because we have a downtown arena? How would a downtown arena make El Paso more attractive for a company looking to relocate than a city like San Diego, for instance?

Publicly traded companies have an obligation to their stockholders to maximize profits. Privately owned companies are usually likewise motivated, or they fail. The existence of an arena is way down the list of considerations when companies choose to relocate.

Critical thinking skills are not just important in the voting booth. They come in handy in your private life, as well. You should try it sometime.

And try to remember that life isn’t all about a paycheck. Check out this story from

“The conversation that we need to initiate in the schools and the colleges and the religious institutions is what it means to live the good life.”

. . .

“Defining humankind as consumers belittles our dignity as human beings,” he told me. “We are made in God’s image to share in the ongoing work of creation: living in faith, building, trusting God for the gifts that make for life and the renewal of life.”

You don’t have to be religious to recognize that riding the elevator up to your cubicle every day is not how you should live your life.

All you need is a little critical thinking.


  1. Absolutely! We need to question everything that we are being told. If El Paso is truly going to move forward and become “revitalized” it’s going to be because hard-working and committed El Pasoans are ready to do what’s needed. It starts with each person making his or her own home and neighborhood attractive and welcoming. It starts by learning about what makes El Paso unique, for example, the Mission Trail and our nine historical districts. It takes feeling pride in our history.

  2. For some reason this reminded me of Thoreau –“If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”

    That wascally wabbit taught me nothing and everything about contradiction — “While my townsmen and women are devoted in so many ways to the good of their fellows, I trust that one at least may be spared to other and less humane pursuits. You must have a genius for charity as well as for anything else. As for Doing-good, that is one of the professions which are full. Moreover, I have tried it fairly, and, strange as it may seem, am satisfied that it does not agree with my constitution. Probably I should not consciously and deliberately forsake my particular calling to do the good which society demands of me, to save the universe from annihilation; and I believe that a like but infinitely greater steadfastness elsewhere is all that now preserves it. But I would not stand between any man and his genius; and to him who does this work, which I decline, with his whole heart and soul and life, I would say, Persevere, even if the world call it doing evil, as it is most likely they will.”

    Ps: Where’s my bread, bro?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *