I know that getting involved with local government is often the most effective way for an individual citizen to have a voice in his or her community, versus writing an all-caps rant in the comment section of a online news story, but it’s not exactly my idea of romance. So that’s my Valentine’s Day tip for you: avoid procedural meetings in city hall conference rooms– unless your significant other is super into local political issues, in which case it would perhaps be a delightful experience. Or maybe your community’s governmental proceedings tend to be unintentionally entertaining. Heck, one of Montana’s state legislators got some fairly broad national publicity a couple years ago for his heartfelt argument in favor of drunk driving. Sometimes these parliamentary proceedings feel like really, really bad open mic nights.

That’s the spirit of democracy, though. Sure, not everyone is a natural speaker. Yes, they all jump to hyperbole too soon, comparing every struggle, no matter how inane, to fighting the ghost of Hitler himself, but we all get a voice. That is, if we can be bothered to attend a meeting at 7 pm in room 108 at city hall, or maybe the nearest school.