I came across the interesting idea that mankind basically has two essential needs in life: community and security. I always liked Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” as a means to diagnose my discontent but I suppose you could smoosh everything except self-actualization into those two categories. Security is a tough one these days. So many people buy into created threats but I think we need to first focus on our need for community. How well are we meeting our basic human need for community these days? How is that need being met in our screen facing lives? What have we given up for the convenience of our treasured gadgets? Is there a price to pay when we subjugate physical community with electronic connections? Any foray into the comment section of online news sites or social media will give us an idea.
I think in this divided time we need to focus on physical community. A friend reminded me yesterday of the expression, “Think globally. Act locally” that’s really what we have to do. Ranting on Facebook didn’t quite get it done for us this past time around. Did it? So the question is, how do we frame the message in a way to reach the hearts and minds of people who were unable to internalize the non-negotiable idea that we can never abandon those who feel at risk? How do we communicate what equality and brotherhood really mean? We have to start by engaging them in a way that they can hear us. We need to forego only talking among ourselves and talk to those we disagree with. By acting locally we will put ourselves in a place to be with people who may not share our worldview. I almost said “people who share our values” But as 45 voters are want to tell us, they aren’t racist. They aren’t misogynistic. Or homophobic. Or Islamophobic. They don’t understand that subordinating an others human rights for whatever reason, in our minds, proves otherwise. Those are not values we share.
When someone can not get past the idea that they can not say”all lives matter” until they can profess “black lives matter” the challenge is steep. When someone advocates that health coverage should be denied others because they hate Obama Care do they mean they hate many things about the ACA that has been a direct benefit to their friends and family? Do they understand how insurance companies, big pharma and hospitals are making record profits? Pick your issue. When you consider Trump policies and their design to maximize profits for industry or fortify the status quo of white male dominance you need to frame the conversation towards humanity to begin to erode support for his unsustainable vision.
Regarding Trump voters, am I suggesting we let them off the hook? No. That type of thinking, that trying to get along, got us where we are today. People who chose to disregard the things Trump said in the campaign and the things he has done in life must recognize they supported that by supporting him. But all politics is local. When you get a chance to serve on a committee to build a new dog park, when you join the library board, when you attend city council meetings you can converse with people with differing views. When you engage them, when you fulfill that need of human connection in them we begin to disarm them. Show your progressive values rather than condemn them. Get them to see you, to want to know you and then let your light shine through the darkness. While you do this you will be filling your own need for community and that sounds a whole lot better than engaging trolls on Facebook.
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