Connecting The Dots
Connections Help Us

Between the elements of our program, success reinforces success in a virtuous cycle. Promoting democracy, seeking reconciliation, and protecting homes and communities reinforce each other and resonate with America's deepest values. When the spirit of liberty and democracy infuses what we feel and say, when we understand that our heritage from those we revere as the founders of our country and the authors of our constitution commands respect for those on both sides of all debates engaged in good faith, when this spirit and this understanding suffuses the political actions we take, we can harness this virtuous cycle to help us.

If we create a process where success reinforces success, we could push hatefulness and bitterness into a smaller and smaller space in our democratic life. But just as improvements connect synergistically, so deterioration would also be mutually reinforcing. Connections can help, but they also can hurt. It seems our democracy will either be busy being born or busy dying. Our successes will lift up each other, or our failures will drag down the whole.

Connections Follow The Heart's Path

Most learning happens when the mind follows the heart's path. We take note of what we care about. We remember what we care about. We talk about what we care about. We assemble our worldviews, our mental maps of how things are connected, around what we care about. Deep changes in how people view the world will evolve inside of that process.

We must first understand and then act politically on the understanding that all of us, across the full spectrum of views, care deeply about our homes and our communities of the heart. "Us" versus "Them" must become smaller, and the single circle of "Us" must become larger. You remember, don't you? "One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

One of the great ironies of our time is that while the more positive path described above sounds hopelessly, ridiculously idealistic, this path is in fact our only practical hope to thrive, and perhaps even to survive. Cooperation has always been the primary path of our success, and it remains the primary path today.

The advocates of that view have one great advantage over those stuck in a world of never ending battles. We are much better at looking for, finding, and then understanding the importance of the connections between things. This means we can use virtuous cycles to promote essential change, and it means that we can position ourselves as activists to promote very broad cooperation because we can see and articulate its many compelling benefits.

What About Those Who Still Want To Fight?

If we want to heal our country, we who feel that desire must begin by establishing ourselves as allies instead of enemies of those who don't yet want to abandon having enemies. That likely means absorbing some blows without hitting back. Consider it turning the other cheek, if that language appeals to you. Somebody has to go first. Or, if you prefer, blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Or we could just remember the words of an American leader many admire:

"There are few, if any, issues where all the truth
and all the right and all the angels are on one side."

John F. Kennedy
Atlantic City, February 19, 1957

But What About Global Threats?

It is reasonable to question the relationship between local activism and our biggest global challenges. The question, however, obscures the underlying reality that global problems hit home in communities, and how communities respond either feeds back in to make the problem worse or contributes to a virtuous cycle contributing to global solutions. It becomes clearest if we picture what a sustainable society would actually look like. If you do that, you'll quickly see that the images that come to mind are all changes in our homes and communities, in how people live, work, play, raise families, and everything else. The sweep of change needed is so great that it cannot be designed and imposed from the top down. To actually work, families and communities must be the authors of their own reimagined futures.

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