Let’s be clear: presidents can talk about what they are going to do, but unless they have a strong foundation their talk does not translate into effective action. Grassroots support is necessary for effective action,” writes our Joan Blades in her article “To protect our democracy, Americans must work now to bridge divides (usatoday.com).”
Our partner Chris Collins, writing about leading Living Room Conversations through the Different Together project at GLIDE Memorial church, agrees. “We can’t outsource the work to heal America’s divisions; not to a president, nor to anyone else in the halls of power, he writes in his piece “Biden Can’t Heal America By Himself. Here’s How to Help – YES! Magazine.”
“This is our work, our responsibility, Chris continues. “For those who want a healthy, peaceful democracy that solves seemingly intractable problems, this is our moment.”
Both of them understand just how critical timing is in social change movements. The impact of MoveOn.org, which Joan co-founded, was so huge because on multiple occasions they got their timing right.
She writes about the concept of punctuated equilibrium, which helps us understand that progress isn’t a linear, steady march forward. Whether it’s nature or politics, Joan writes, “there tends to be times of significant change and times of relative stability.”
This is a moment where “there is a massive yearning for positive change in this country. The ugliness, anger, distrust, division and now violence that seem to characterize our political life is almost universally unpopular…so now is the time to show up with love, hope, curiosity and a refusal to continue as usual.”
Joan urges us all to step boldly into this moment. Acting now is “the difference between success and failure. If we do not create a strong movement to shift our political, media and personal culture in the first part of this year, we will have let the best opportunity for transformation slip through our fingers.”
We hope that, like Chris and Joan, you are also feeling the urgency of this moment. If you’re new, please join our weekly offering, “Introduction to Living Room Conversations.” You can register for tomorrow’s call HERE.
Chris sees bridging conversations as a civic duty, and invites us to take part in building a better future. “I accept this work as my responsibility, a way to give back to my community and country. You and I can do this together. Our ripple effects, our joint efforts—no matter how small—will make a difference.”
Here’s to working together to make the greatest ripple effect imaginable,