A government that truly represents these Americans - that truly serves these Americans - will require a different kind of politics. That politics will need to reflect our lives ast they are actually lived. It won't be prepackaged, ready to pull off the shelf. It will have to be constructed from the best of our traditions and will have to account for the darker aspects of our past. We will need to understand just how we got to this place, this land of warring factions and tribal hatreds. And we will need to remind ourselves, despite all our differences, just how we much we share: common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Learning how to speak
I'm in Chicago, learning about the difference between talking and speaking.
We learn to talk when we are infants. We learn to speak when we mature.
Say the word abortion and, depending on the person to whom you are talking, they will either shout "murder" or "justice". Both will be absolutely certain that they are absolutely correct.
Talk with someone who is trying to move the conversation forward, and they will not linger long at either end of the conversational spectrum. Instead, they will calmly, confidently, authentically, invite you to consider the research on medical facts and statistical, bipartisan polls.
They will not make firm pronouncements but, rather, ask open-ended questions into which they will ask facts. They will speak from their own experience and the experience of those in their care as the source of their authority to speak. They will tell stories - true stories - which weave together golden threads of The Truth.
No matter where you stand on the issue, it is holy, sacred work, this business of reproductive justice, the point being to find the place of God's truth about who decides about the beginning and end and quality of life. And, what is important about life - the definition or the reality; the potential or the actuality.
I am in awe of the present generation of justice workers. They are clear-eyed, smart, compassionate and passionate. They are less concerned with winners and losers and more concerned with finding a place where each one can stand at peace with him/herself and their God and their understanding of what is good and right, noble and true.
I feel as if I am in the midst of a renaissance of the political process. I seem to have forgotten the essentials in the midst of the progress we've made, which may well be the reason we have lost ground.
I've been re-reading Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope". It's easy to pick up a paperback copy of his book, written while he was Senator of this great state, just about anywhere in Chicago.
The work I seem to find myself in these days, is creating a place where we may nurture an environment where we can remind ourselves of these common hopes and dreams and bonds that will not break.
It requires learning how to move from merely talking to speaking with intention.
Time to grow up.
It happens to the best of us, eventually.