It's funny you just posted this, today at lunch I picked up the new issue
of Orion (which I just discovered a few issues ago, and is now one of my
favorite magazines) and she has an essay in this issue, the first in a
series of three on the Open Space of Democracy. They have an abridged version
of the article on their website.
yes. but… right now I find I am struggling with the whole idea of
conversation, even surrounding issues that are deeply important to me. It
seems (and certainly blogging is part of this experience for me) that there
are plenty of people saying plenty of things. I want to vote with my "whole
influence." But right now that is mostly asking "has this already been
said?", "does this need to be said?" and "does this need to be said by me?"
The Open Space of Democracy
I run into the writings of Terry Tempest Williams for most of my life.
Her background is similar to mine and her articles end up in journals
that I frequent. That's why I was especially pleased when Chris
pointed me at a speech she gave at my alma matter, entitled,
The Open Space of Democracy.
I especially love this quote:
How do we engage in conversation at a time when the definition
of what it means to be a patriot is being narrowly defined? You are either
with us or against us. Discussion is waged in absolutes not ambiguities.
Corporations have more access to power than people. We, the people. Fear
has replaced discussion. Business practices have taken precedence over
public process. It doesn't matter what the United Nations advises or
what world opinion may be. America in the early years of the 21st century
has become a force unto itself. The laws it chooses to abide by are its
I know many people who echo the sentiment to carry "a healthy sense of
indignation within." My problem is not to get overwhelmed, and as she says
not to "fall prey to the cynicism of our own resignation."
I've always like this quote from Thoreau's Civil Disobedience: "
Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence
Of course, the question to each of us is what else we can do…
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