Democracy works! I know, I was surprised too, and quite thrilled to have made that discovery last year.
Here’s how it happened: Recycling services in our area were really quite poor. The council collected paper, cardboard, glass and green waste, but most of us could never remember what was being collected which week, and what colour box or bag it was supposed to be in. And they didn’t collect cans and plastic bottles. Being a responsible sort of soul, each time I visited friends in the next borough (where they do have collection facilities for such items) I took along my empties. I was extremely popular, as you might imagine, arriving with three noisy children and four bin bags full of mouldy tins and festering milk bottles, then eating all the cheesecake and going home leaving the smelly rubbish, and occasionally a child or two, behind.
But last May I actually took the time to read through the “Vote for Me” leaflets which came through my door from potential local counsellors. You know the type – community minded individuals who have served on every local PTA, planted 50 trees, scrubbed graffiti off the village hall and raised £500,000 for the local hospital before lunch. One of them was promising that, if elected, she would improve recycling collections. So I voted for her. So did everyone else, it seems, because she won. And so now I can proudly put out my pink sack containing paper, cardboard, glass, cans and plastics, all mixed up together, safe in the knowledge that a gleaming yellow truck will come and take it all away to be recycled.
What this has taught me (and I know you knew this already) is that if enough people want something, and are capable of saying so, then it has a very good chance of happening. Now, I don't live in California (although I would love to) but I did follow all the fuss about proposition 8 with mild interest, and I'm finding it all the more interesting that those of us (well, you Californians, actually) who believe in the sanctity of God-ordained marriage between a man and a woman outnumbered those who don't. Democracy demonstrated this, and those who are making clear their unhappiness at losing need to understand that they can't have it both ways. If you live in a democracy you have to succumb to the will of the majority. Sometimes, that majority will include you, and sometimes it won't.
Right now I live in a democracy where marriage is only between a man and a woman (although the Government did rather sneak the whole Civil Partnership thing through the back door) and where my recycling is collected alongside my rubbish. So actually, I'm quite liking this whole democracy thing. And hey, isn't your new President cool!