I'm coming out...to be part of politics...where my mind and heart lead me. A paradigm is the overview that everyone has of their lives (and a culture also has one). My current one is very comfortable, and it's time to tear some corners off, and move into looking at things differently.
That was the result for me of a discussion about diversity, where the participants represented mostly the same opinions. There was the personal question of how do you really act/feel when around people with different race/religion/abilities/sexual orientation/etc. Having race as the diversity issue that brought this up, our mainly white group diverged early in how these "tolerant people" may have to find boundaries as to what they can and cannot tolerate. (They probably already have them, the question is will they consider moving these boundaries as a result of this discussion.)
For me, the leap will be to get into current events again. I want to remove my rose colored glasses and stop protecting myself from knowing about, thinking about, and feeling about the political climate. I've been hiding where I was "safe" but realized I had no power, no voice, and no representation, so just wouldn't think about things. My goal isn't to be able to speak or not, but to begin to listen again to the most unpleasant avenue of discourse.
I am choosing environmental issues as the platform on which I will begin my baby steps in this walk into the "room" where our democracy is in action.
I haven't chosen which issue to begin with, but am starting by looking at sites that cover the gamut of environmental issues, as well as letting the "news" back into my living room. It won't be the 6 o'clock news however. I am not watching TV at this point, where I waste time either muting commercials or not paying attention to news about "fluff events". I will stream different shows on my computer, choosing those topics in which I think I can listen, make my own opinion, and perhaps make an eventual stand.
I have always supported my friends in their social action. I just haven't taken part beyond my backing of issues from afar. I'm pretty lucky to have these friends who know a lot about different things. They will be invited for tea or coffee and conversation, so that I might learn what has been done locally, and by like-minded people.
But the like-minded-ness is also something that I wish to move a bit away from. I believe (at this moment in time) that I need to communicate/listen to those who don't think the way I do, who might disagree with me. There sure are a lot of them, I'm positive. And I feel that they have a lot of political clout at this time. That's why I want to look at the issues that impact me that politicians are attempting to manage. Water quality and rights of use. Mining, drilling, etc of metals and non-renewable resources. Air quality standard changes. What's happening abut renewable resources. What's happening about endangered species? What's happening about nuclear power? Health issues related to what? Global warming taken seriously how?
OK, this is lots, and as I said, I want to focus on one thing at a time. I'm glad to have Sarah Vekasi as my friend, since she's not only an activist, but an Eco-Chaplin, looking how people who are environmental activists need to take care of themselves. (Check out her website here.)
This decision of mine is not to just live more environmentally-consciously. This is an attempt to move beyond a comfort zone regarding a particular environmental topic into one where controversy exists, where I can feel passionate about taking a stand, and maybe understand that this one-as-yet-to-be-chosen-issue is worthy of my time and efforts.
I'm listening if you have something you think I should really know about...