Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Operation Preaching to the Choir

I have always been political. I grew up at a time when people became polarized over Viet Nam and it made me very, very political. My leanings in college were radical activist, but I tempered them when I joined my first political campaign - I was one of the "Clean for Gene" McCarthy supporters. I recall a bus trip to Scranton to identify McCarthy voters. After I dropped out of college, I moved to Israel, and lived on a Kibbutz for a year. I got married, we moved back to the States, and I became active working for former Congressman Abner J. Mikva in some of the closest Congressional campaigns imaginable. I remained active, but in lesser capacities, until I moved to California and found myself living in the Beach Cities where I was surrounded by Republicans; some wealthy, some skin heads, some just too confusing. After 9/11 I found myself unable to speak my fears because of the people who surrounded me.

Then I got an email from my friend Alicia about her experience singing on Neil Young's Living with War album. I started tentatively to blog, and found more people who shared my fears, and voice. Now, Alicia has done it again with a new blog, Operation Preaching to the Choir. Here is her comment: "I have come to understand that there is a large segment of the population that, because of their emotional need, will follow this administration wherever it goes; that there is nothing awful enough that would change the minds of these people, if they have chosen to believe in these self-appointed authoritarians. If George Bush says black is white (and he does!) then that's what they'll believe. Facts, logic and reality have no place in their worldview. As Richard Pryor once said, "Who are you going to believe - me or your lying eyes?"

But I also understand that this segment is not the majority, and I am not going to attempt to change the minds of these people. The ones I'm concerned with right now are the people like me - the ones who believe in peace, in social justice, in America as it was intended to be, but are not active because they don't understand that it is necessary. I want to 'preach to the choir'."

This is so simple - one method she suggests is to carry around whatever book you are reading as a way to open conversation. That's so non-threatening, but it also makes people aware. Already, I am seeing changes and inroads. My formerly Republican friend was just back east for a wedding - she just called me, we're meeting tonight for dinner. Her big news? She went, with her Republican sister-in-law, to hear Al Gore do his presentation. She said they both walked out energized, convinced they have to take action!

One person talking to another, in conversation, to find solutions. Let's get out there! Let's preach to the choir that hasn't found their voice.


Alicia said...

DJ - thank you so much! This is the way this will work - from one person to another. I'd like to invite you to guest post if you'd like to - your story is exactly what I'm taling about.

Tina said...

Excellent idea about taking a book with ya and then starting a conversation... hmm... I have a doctor's appt on Thursday, and the wait is always eternal, so I believe either John Dean's Conservatives w/o Conscience ot Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy will be taken.

And I agree that on some issues that we (the lib/Dem/progressive) community may not agree on everything/ all issues or see each other's point of view, but I think this is exactly what separates US from from THEM: We always want the freedom for all of us to be able to express our pt of view. Besides, I know for a fact that when someone expresses a different pt of view that we are able to learn. For example: When you commented on a comment I had made at Karena's blog about Zionists, I had absolutely no idea that what I said could or would be taken as anti-Israel b/c I assumed that it was automatically a given that you would know what I meant. B/c you pointed that out to me, I am now aware of it, and make a point to clearly state what I mean. But if we stop talking about things, and stop giving another point of view, how does anybody stand a chance of seeing another side?... especially since on most issues, NOTHING is white OR black. We can leave categorizing issues as all white OR all black to THEM, not US... it is oftentimes, what they do best.

DivaJood said...

Alicia, would be happy to do so. Thank you for the honor. You have created an important forum, and if it helps people find their voice, and their ability to act, then more power to us all!

Tina, I absolutely agree - and it is the entire process of conversation and listening that makes change. Nothing is black or white, and we have to find common ground to solve this national nightmare.

betmo said...

this is great! it is all about finding a common ground with people and building on it. that's the way change happens- one person at a time. your friend is so right!

Helen Wheels said...

I would love to preach to my friend who can't admit she IS a republican... but she puts her hands over her ears and says, "Can't we all just get along?" She runs out of the room if I say anything poiltical. She claims to be anti-shrub but I have my doubts.

Anyway, maybe I'll try Alicia's methods to get through to her. Oh and she refuses to see AL Gore's movie. OR VOTE!!! UGH.