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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Seattle, WA
Member since: Tue Nov 23, 2004, 11:22 PM
Number of posts: 9,292

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I think. . .

On "our side" we generally do a terrible job of focusing on big themes and goals. We get mired in details. The focus is on the "doable," not the vision of what we can and should be as a people. The details do not engage.

Change requires a couple ingredients that too few of us have.

1. A belief that this is OUR government, and if we want something, we can make it happen.

2. A vision of what we can and should be grounded in moral principle and the aspirational values expressed in the Declaration of Independence. (Values we have allowed to be violated since those words were written. But, I do not believe that past is prolog. I think more of us can internalize the vision. And that’s the first step in the journey to ACTUALLY starting to build "a more perfect union." )

A vast majority believe political change is the responsibility of elected officials and "professionals." That is, “politics” is not for us "regular people." That sort of alienation from our own government sets things up for anger and resentment and apathy against this “alien” government thing that is failing us. It opens the door to the sort of demonization we are seeing. The truth, that WE are the real movers IF we choose, is the antidote.

I think we can do a better job of engaging our fellow citizens and rekindling belief in some of the fundamental values that drive change. We need to focus on building the foundation: a vision of what is possible and a belief in our power to acheive it.

Hope is contagious. We will never get “everyone" on board. But uniting everyone is not necessary. We just need to reach the “critical mass” necessary to get the ball rolling.

For example, in the fight for universal health care we have repeatedly allowed it to be shot down with "can’t afford” this or that detailed plan before building a consensus on basic principles -- principles that, when more generally accepted, demand implementation of universal health care. Where there is a will, there is a way. The principles drive the definition of the goals and then we can lobby for a plan that fulfills the goals – including a plan for paying for it. (Like a wealth tax – but that is grounded in another set of principles.).

Quite some time ago, I started building a little web site. I wasn't able to follow through with making connections and building it into the sort of activist "clearinghouse" I envisioned, but some of what I wrote I think conveys what I'm talking about.


I'm sure you didn't expect such a verbose answer to a simple question. Hope your not sorry you asked.
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