October 10, 2002

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A tradition thrives

Ohio’s 7th Congressional District is a big district, covering parts of seven counties. So it’s surprising that in the upcoming race for U.S. Congress, two out of the three candidates — Democrat Kara Anastasio and Green Party candidate Frank Doden — live in the same tiny town, Yellow Springs.

Ohio is a big state, with an abundance of big cities. So it’s even more surprising that, of the state’s three candidates for governor, one — Natural Law candidate John Eastman — hails from the same tiny town.

What is it about Yellow Springs? Something in the water, the air?

Whatever it is, it is heartening. The past few years some have worried that this town is losing its values, becoming less funky and quirky, more homogenized. Some have worried that Yellow Springs is losing its unique character and traditions.

But the tradition of political activism seems to be thriving.

Not only has Yellow Springs produced, in this election year, three candidates for state and national office, but the town produced three candidates of ideas. All of their campaigns are longshots. No one’s in it for money or fame. Rather, Anastasio, Doden and Eastman seem to be stealing time from already busy lives to promote ideals they hold dear, ideals like participatory democracy and community.

Other recent examples of local activism abound, such as those who organized last Sunday’s protest against the Iraq war and those who took part, those who take time from their lives to attend Village Council meetings, and, of course, Yellow Springs’ own U.S. Senator, Mike DeWine, who visited his hometown last weekend.

So perhaps a tendency toward activism is in the air, or the water, or trickling down the Yellow Spring in the Glen. More likely, that activism grows from the examples villagers set for each other, examples of people living engaged and empowered lives, people who believe they can make a difference. And so they do.

—Diane Chiddister