I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan lately – more so than usual, I mean.
One thing I’ve always admired about him, besides his overall obvious genius, is how timeless his music is, but I wonder if that’s something Dylan can even take credit for.
When Dylan was penning “The Times They Are A’Changing,” did he know how relevant his words would still be 30, 40, or 50 years later? Did he understand how resonant his music would be for future generations as they battle the same struggles that he once endured?
The times are changing, yes, but there is a solidarity with the past we can rely on. We can look to our past digressions, decisions, and the consequences thereof to guide our actions and thoughts going forward.
That’s the beauty of studying history. It repeats itself because human nature is largely unshakable and predictable. However, that doesn’t mean that improvement, enlightenment, and advancement are impossible. It’s doesn’t necessarily need to repeat itself.
There’s a thing that I’ve noticed is happening more and more around the country, especially within the past year. People are frustrated with the current political situation. The frustration, on its own, is nothing new, but it goes beyond passionate comments at the dinner table. The difference is that now, people are starting to see what they can do about the things they don’t like. They no longer trust their government to take care of them, so they’re seeing what they can do to help themselves. And so, people are finding ways to get involved in their communities and political systems, especially on the local level, and they’re engaging with their leaders in ways they may not have thought to before.
Some people are even considering running for office themselves, because…why not?
Our nation is full of educated and passionate individuals who represent the diverse backgrounds of people we all live amongst. They’re active members of the communities they live and work in, and their personal concerns reflect those of the general collective.
So from these ranks, leaders are starting to emerge. They’re people who have had success in their chosen fields, and now, they’re ready to give something back. They’re recognizing that they’re in positions to impact change, and they’re rising to the occasion.
Because someone’s gotta.
And when they need to, the people rise up.
One good thing to have come out of the previous presidential election is that many Americans, having been disheartened by the outcome and the subsequent farce that has become our everyday, have started to look for solutions to something they consider to be a problem. They weren’t happy with the guy who was elected President of the United States, they didn’t understand how the electoral college works, and they didn’t feel as if their vote even mattered in the first place.
The nature of our so-called democratic society is that it is fueled by votes. If people don’t vote, then the people you don’t want winning elections end up winning elections. The sentiment from there on, and a flawed one at that, is that if you didn’t vote, you have no right to comment on the state of things – if you didn’t contribute, your opinion doesn’t matter.
I get it. It’s frustrating to hear people complain about an issue and do nothing about it. Or when they had a chance to do something about it, they chose not to.
But you can’t blame people for being disillusioned by the whole process. It’s so complex and sometimes backwards that you have to have a basic college-level education to grasp any kind of understanding about it, because God knows they don’t teach this stuff in high schools…at least they didn’t back in my day. Additionally, when you consider that your single vote is trying to make waves against millions of dollars from private donors and the incessant pull of lobbyists in Washington, you can’t help but feel a bit insignificant.
People want change, though. They want to see what they can do to help. They’re educating themselves.
And where do their searches and inquiries lead them?
To the midterms.
And so we meet Roel Garcia, an attorney who grew up in the 29th district of Houston, Texas. He’s a young guy, full of charisma and drive, possessing the desire and know-how to represent his district in a meaningful way.
Let’s talk about the 29th for a minute.
I’m not sure who draws these congressional districts, but this one is…oddly-shaped. Still, it’s not the worst I’ve seen. It covers a substantial part of the northern and eastern sides of Houston, within the big loop, spanning from the north beltway and 45 down to parts of Pasadena. The district’s population is about 77% Hispanic, 11% black, and only 1.5% white. The median income sits at around $35,000 a year, and about 10% of the population graduated from college.
Garcia, a Hispanic-American product of the 29th, is hoping to embody the notion of a “representative government.” While his education, work, and life experiences have taken him across the country and around the world, he now finds himself in a position to give back to the people who have done so much for him.
One of his goals is to show people that their government can and should affect their lives – but they’ve got to get out and vote. He believes that if people are better educated on the functions of our government on the local and federal levels, they’ll be able to see the crucial role they play within it.
“People want to shape the world they live in. I think people know that politics does affect their lives, but they don’t believe they have the power to change it. We need to focus less on the ‘one vote’ and realize that as the collective, we can enact change.”
The Hispanic community, especially, has felt the effects of the current administration. Many of them are frightened about where the wave of Trump will take the country and what that could mean for their families. They are not adequately represented in the federal government, and even if they do have a champion or two, it really isn’t enough. Another three years of their protections and social programs being threatened, underfunded, and dismantled is not acceptable.
Everyone wants a voice, or at least someone they can stand behind. Everyone wants to know that their interests are being considered and that their plights are being respected.
Garcia understands the importance of being part of a community, and he feels that it’s his duty to use whatever skills and resources his life thus far has afforded him to improve the state of things for the future generations. Having spent time on both coasts amongst people of various economic and educational backgrounds, he has a well-rounded perspective that is hard to duplicate or imitate.
Throughout his career, he’s spent time working with indigent people in the Bronx and Manhattan, walking the line outside of the Kanye West concert registering young people to vote as a deputy registrar, reading to children in local elementary schools as part of the “Real Men Read” social program, and working with iEducate to help people who are re-entering the job market. And so much more.
He is America.
People like Roel Garcia are game-changers. They’re passionate, smart, and driven. They exemplify what it means to live the “American dream,” while also understanding that the notion of that same dream is becoming less and less of a realistic possibility for many Americans. They’re young-blooded and fiery, in the best way possible, and they represent more than change, more than balance – they represent a way forward that’s guided by virtue, compassion, and education.
So, as Bob Dylan said,
“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call…
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.”
Times are always, changing, yes, but we have the power to determine the direction of those changes.
Be sure to follow Roel on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoelGarciaLaw/
Also, visit his website: https://www.roelgarcia.com/