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Harnessing emotions

One thing this election has shown me is that I understand only the broad brush strokes of our political process [“West Coast’s silver lining,” Opinion, Nov. 11]. As an adult, I still don’t understand how an average person like me can take some ownership in the civic process beyond merely filling out ovals on a ballot every couple of years.

So, I am learning. I have found out how to write my legislators and am now educating myself on the issues that matter to me — truly learning about these things and not merely speaking from my initial emotional response.

I am coming to understand that very visceral emotions I experience must not be my stopping spot nor can they form the entirety of my arguments. These deep emotions are the catalyst — they are the fuel, but not the jet itself. In these days and weeks, I am working to harness this emotional energy, to use it for the long game, to open myself up, to become more intellectually curious, fuller with knowledge and understanding — not to become smaller and more tightly held to my position.

May we all use our emotional upswell as nourishment for valuable action.

Amanda Ford, Seattle

‘Remember the plank in one’s own eye’

As an environmentalist, I am sad and angry that Initiative 732 did not pass. I’m disappointed in those who voted no without taking the time to learn about it. And I’m disappointed with the Sierra Club (because the ones you love hurt you the most) for failing to endorse the best piece of climate legislation that has ever been introduced in the U.S.

But at times like this, it’s important to remember the plank in one’s own eye as well. Last year, I gathered signatures for I-732, which pushed me out of my comfort zone. Later, when my schedule as a grad student and mom of two young children got “too busy,” I donated money to I-732 instead of time. But although I’m no salesperson, I could have and should have done more.

Now I vow to myself two things: First, I will never again hold my tongue because I’m afraid of making someone uncomfortable. Second, I will donate more time to this cause, even if it delays the completion of my economics Ph.D. What would be the point in making a career out of teaching students the elegance and efficiency of a carbon tax if I were unwilling to stand up and do something about it when there was an opportunity to enact one?

Amy Lastuka, Seattle