Saturday, May 14, 2005

How to Make Real Change in the World

No, this is not like those hilarious old SNL commercials for "The Change Bank" (we can give you 2 dimes and a nickel for a quarter; or we can give you 25 pennies; it's all up to you; the secret is volume). But there is a connection between change and change.

What I'm talkin' 'bout is that other kind, that theoretically we all are for--the kind where every child goes to sleep every night with a full belly and a full heart.

For over a decade, I've advocated national health insurance. For most of those years, I was lucky enough to have been paid to fight for it. Now I sit at home and blog. Have I given up that dream?

Au contraire, mon frere. Dr. Quentin Young, , a great Chicago progressive and one of my heroes in the fight for single payer health care, once said to me, "Sara, if you're not serious about money, you're not serious about social change." That sentiment has stuck with me--ever since he said it, I can raise money for anything that I care about and feel great about it.

I'm working on two things right now very very hard: making enough money to make a difference, and making enough difference to make the money. The latter requires more explanation than the former.

In addition to lack of money for "the good guys" there is another problem, so scary we good guys are loathe to recognize it, let alone tackle it and that is the definition of "good guy." We think we know the answer. Scratch that. We're sure we know. It's us. And it's not them.

What I am working on right now is re-examining everything I thought I knew about good guys/bad guys, us/them, Democrats/Republicans. Believe me, for a pink diaper baby like me this is painful upsetting work roughly akin to re-examining the belief that the sun rises every morning.

Could it be that there are Republicans who have equally good hearts and minds as mine and don't eat their children for supper?

Could it be that this great divide that we feel in this country between blue and red is illusory? That we mostly care about the same things?

Could it be that instead of focussing most of our intention and resources on making more of us and less of them and focussing on winning a margin of seats or electoral votes we should be focussing on redefining the us to include all of us and doing a lot more listening than talking?

This is what I hope and pray for every day: that I will heal myself so that we might heal the country so that we might together heal the world. Still not political?

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