The Unifying Story: What Are We For?
What are the values, the ideas, the vision that unite us? What are those “bedrock commonalities” that we can rally around to create a world that works for all of us and the Earth? We are now over 7 billion people strong and if we don’t work together we will all sink in the same boat. Hear what Fr. Richard Rohr says to us:
"While I pray President Trump leads with wisdom, compassion, and justice, we cannot simply sit back and watch whatever unfolds. We the people have a tremendous responsibility to work together, to speak truth to power, to peacefully advocate for the rights of all beings and the earth. This requires maturity and contemplative consciousness, empathy for the “other,” and courage to stand with those who are suffering. It is not a popular or easy path. But as human beings, we are called to be active participants in our salvation and mutual survival."
Over 3 million people worldwide participated in the Women’s March on January 21. People rallied for peace, justice, a sustainable future, and against oppressive policies. The march brought many separate movements together, which is what our current situation calls for. But we must be mindful not to circle the wagons so tightly that this broader goal, this vision of America, will seem to exclude those we are not “on the left,” or “progressive.” The broader goal to revision and restructure our economic and political system must always in view. We need to focus on a unifying story that can appeal to and include everyone!
What are we for? Clean water and air. Safe and healthy food. Clean elections. Health care for all. Educational opportunities for all. Meaningful, supportive jobs. Economic and ecological sustainability. Peace. Security. Human rights for all. Happiness for all.
What do we need to do? Connect with people. Organize and join with others about issues you care about. Resist policies ad behavior that exclude, denigrate, oppress, destroy. Participate in ways you haven’t before. Write letters. Go to rallies and demonstrations. Elect people who support life-affirming values as opposed to moneyed interests. Campaign for people or issues you care about. Volunteer to do what turns you on. Make one call a day (or 2 a week, whatever you can do!) to a local, state or national lawmaker to express your opinion. Calls count. Emails & petitions not so much.
No one size shoe fits all. The only thing common to all shoes is that now’s the time to put them on. We don’t have time for waiting and watching to see what will happen in the next four years.
Words of wisdom for dangerous times
I could go on and on with quotes from wise, effective, powerful people. These are the ones that popped out at me these last few weeks.
“What can we do? We have a voice, and hands. We can be agents and actors rather than victims. Simone Weil, who thought long and hard about how France could recover from fascism, once said: ‘I can, therefore I am.’ . . . The biggest story and struggle of our time lies in the nexus of climate, energy, economics, and environment. These connected crises have converged. Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group.
“Tiny acts have huge repercussions.” Martin Rutte, Project Heaven on Earth
“While there’s no doubt that we’re living in rocky times, if we address the perils with gloom and seriousness, we’ve lost the game already. Crushing the human spirit is oppression’s best weapon.” Caroline Casey
For more ideas about how to make your voice count, see “What You Can Do” on this website, and read my July 2016 column about activism.
Lastly, this is from a t-shirt I saw recently:
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