While the inhabitants of Washington, D.C., sit in the worst political gridlock the nation has seen in a lifetime, amazing things are happening all around the country — without the blessing of those who get paid to do the public’s bidding.

Community service projects call to people of every conceivable political stripe to come together for a day to get something done: paint a library’s well-worn walls, clean up public parks and other such amenities, adopt a neighborhood that needs a little tender loving care, or tend to a stretch of road that gets a lot of litter and no respect.

When you look at the two realities side by side — communities taking care of business, and professional politicians taking precious time to accomplish nothing — it is truly amazing. It’s enough to make good-hearted citizens wonder why and wish for a better day.

The contrast is even more compelling when you factor in how people rally each other to take care of business. Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are the social media choices of concerned citizens and citizen-activists who know that a straight line is the shortest distance between any two objects, including a problem that needs to be fixed and the best solution to it.

— The Town Talk,

Alexandria, La., Nov. 8

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