Friday, June 23, 2006

Bus Project Partying, Brading-ing This Weekend

It's a big weekend for the Bus Project and BusPAC, the groups that toss young people onto a biodiesel bus and descend on an unsuspecting community with a mass canvass for progressive candidates. This weekend is one of the biggies--"License to Drive" will actually not use the bus, as folks drive themselves to east Multnomah in support of Rob Brading for District 49. Brading, as many know, is seeking to upend Speaker Karen Minnis and spearhead the effort to retake the House from the Republicans. I'm hitching a ride and heading up that way to help out; I'll let you know how it goes.

That's the service work. The payoff event is DRIVE, a fundraising gala to close down Machineworks in the Pearl. It's pretty cheap if you're a student, reasonable for a charity event even if you're not. The Retrofits, who I was unduly harsh on for their pre-performance at Candidates Gone Wild, will be part of the entertainment. (Honestly, I loved their actual participation in the event, carrying the show musically along.) The last couple years have purportedly been some fairly packed and happening shindigs, so check that all out if the mood strikes.

There's also a longer term, more mundane but crucial project going on at tBP. Willy Week reports web-only on the 1,000th new young registrant signed up by Building Votes, another Project affiliate. The idea is to use "block captains" to register their immediate neighbors, particularly in areas with secure access. As with most everything else the focus is on getting young people interested in politics--getting them hooked so they become lifelong public citizens. There is so much disincentive to be involved right now, it's imperative not to lose hope and create a generation of truly jaded and jaundiced non-voters. Bus Project succeeds by making politics both real and relevant, and empowering to people still trying to find their niche and voice in society. The programs remind me for some reason of the chorus from the REM song These Days:
Fly to carry each his burden
We are young despite the years we are concern
We are hope despite the times
All of the sudden, these days
Happy throngs, take this joy wherever, wherever you go
But you don't have to be young to participate. As I said, I'll be there Saturday, and there are plenty of opportunities to be only marginally put upon for work, but with great impact. Do yourself and everyone a favor, and think seriously about getting personally involved in the 2006 elections. If you think things suck as they are, you have to work for change.