Six months ago, I got together with some Forest Park friends who were feeling discouraged over political trends in this country. We started meeting on the first Thursday of the month at Molly Malone’s. Nine residents came to the first meeting.

Since then, we’ve dwindled down to three or four. Still, it’s been encouraging to discuss national and local issues with some like-minded people.

I was further encouraged by a song by rocker Steve Earle, “The Revolution Starts Now.”

Apparently Earle feels the same way we do: “When you rise above the fear, and tear the walls around you down; the revolution starts here. In your own backyard; in your own hometown; so what you doin’ standin’ around?”

So, rather than continuing to stand around, we decided to see if any political parties shared our views. We found agreement with values espoused by the Green Party.

Who can argue with valuing ecological wisdom, social justice and grassroots democracy? We also liked the Greens’ slogan, “Think globally, act locally.”

We’ve learned through discussion that many of the problems affecting the nation are reflected right here in Forest Park. We also couldn’t help noticing there had been a major political upheaval in our neighbor to the east. The political party that had dominated Oak Park for fifty years was suddenly out of power.

So, we invited a spokesman from The Greens of Oak Park to address our group at Molly Malone’s. Bruce Samuels couldn’t make it on the first Thursday, so we scheduled his presentation for Thursday June 16th.

By a happy coincidence, this is also the date the pub is celebrating “Bloomsday.” So regardless of a person’s politics, they can still raise a toast to Irish author James Joyce.

Beginning at 7:00 p.m., Samuels will talk about the Greens and the influence this party can bring to bear on local and national policies.

The Green Party has not yet had much impact on American politics but it’s been a force internationally, especially in European countries.

I don’t know whether Green politics would be a fit for Forest Park. Some residents are wary about organizations with “Oak Park” sensibilities. There’s also a sense that the status quo is just fine in Forest Park, what with real estate values continuing to rise and owners upgrading their properties.

However, not everyone is comfortable with our commission form of government and with our elected officials. They are seeking more transparency in our village council proceedings and more citizen input into the future of Forest Park.

As for disillusion with the direction of our country”you don’t even want to get some people started.

Meetings like this cannot just consist of criticism.

We have to find positive actions that we can take to improve Forest Park. I know this all sounds nebulous but it beats sitting around being discouraged.

As Earle sings, “I was walking down the street in the town where I was born. I was movin’ to a beat that I’d never felt before. So I opened up my eyes and I took a look around. I saw it written ‘cross the sky. The revolution starts now.”

Join us on June 16th ” it might open some eyes.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.