WARNING! Grumpy, old lady post.
We live in Illinois, where our brilliant governor has decided to balance the state’s budget by closing many state parks and historical sites. Nice. We wouldn’t want people to enjoy the outside. We wouldn’t want our increasingly obese children to have the opportunity to take a nature walk. Or fish. Or paddle a boat. How much money will we, as taxpayers, have to spend to repair the damages to historic houses that are closed for a harsh midwestern winter?
Back to the main rant. I’m a leader of a Junior Girl Scout troop. The girls are 9-12 years old. At our last meeting, while discussing community service projects, some of the girls became interested in the effort to stop the closing of the parks. Coincidentally, we are working on a badge called Model Citizen, about being, well a model citizen. Fantastic! We can do something great for our area, learn about citizenship and the government, and satisfy the requirements to do our badge.
The girls decided that they wanted to set up a booth to try and gather signatures for a petition. This morning, I started trying find a location. What could be more civic than a bunch of girls gathering signatures to stop the closing of parks? But, oh, no.
I called Target, Wal-Mart, Schnucks (grocery chain), the mall, the local library. Here is what I was told. “I’m sorry, we do not allow anyone outside our establishment. We have to be politically neutral.” On a personal level, most of the employees that I talked to said they wished the policy were otherwise, and they would sign our petitions. But, corporate policy must be obeyed.
Politically neutral?? So, if they let the Girl Scouts in, they’ll have to let the local Vampires for Congress in? I fully realize, that it’s a lot easier for these stores to not deal with anyone. But, c’mon!
Is it any wonder, that so many people are disconnected from our political system. Let’s just all be neutral, then we won’t offend anyone? No, instead, we just don’t do anything.
Finally, I found a locally owned grocery store and a family owned orchard/pumpkin patch that is packed on the weekends.
Ok, I’m done. Go about your regular business.