When I open up my computer and check the latest social media news feed; flip on the TV to watch a political candidate debate; or catch a radio newscast at the top of the hour; the content is nothing but yelling and screaming, finger pointing, repositioning, pivoting, and general noise.
It’s estimated that over 5,000,000 people participated in the first Women’s March on January 21, 2017.
Following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on March 24, 2018 there was an estimated 800,000 who showed up at the March for our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
As far as I know, women still don’t have equal rights, domestic violence is still happening, and little has been done to curb gun violence.
If “liking” facebook posts; ranting, chanting, raving and waving signs at rallies aren’t your brand of activism, here are a couple approaches, You+1 and Living Room Conversations, that are direct actions building quiet alternatives to reacting to what’s happening in the status quo.
You+1 is described as “A civil movement of quiet involvement and individual diplomacy.” It’s very simple and here’s the motivation behind the movement:
“I care about this country and the people who live here, and yet, it is quite likely that I will choose to become uninvolved with a political campaign that is too loud, too noisy, and too bullying for my sensibilities.
“It occurred to me that others might feel the same way. So I did some research. Did you know that 43% of eligible voters, 100,000,000 people, did not vote in 2016?
“What if each of us made a personal commitment to find one person who didn’t vote in the last election… and if individually, we made the effort to connect with that person, to listen, to build a bridge… And what if we were each able to bring one additional vote to the polls in 2020?
“If we did that, we would change the outcome of the election. Not through grandstanding, but through caring, quiet involvement and personal diplomacy.
“One vote can feel like a drop in the bucket. But amazingly, if we each bring just one more person, just one, there will be more than enough votes to elect a truly representative president and congress.
“Can we do it?
“Yes. The math is simple and it makes sense. The individual effort is small and rewarding. But it will take a lot of people. I am not discouraged by large numbers, because I believe that many, many people care. We just don’t know what to do. Or, worse, we believe that doing something won’t matter.
“You+1 is a way to do something that matters. It is not about: Campaign donations. Negative advertising. Name-calling. Or, who can shout the loudest. Instead, it is about individuals taking quiet, meaningful actions to change our country.”
Living Room Conversations is another face-to-face means of quiet civic engagement. Living Room Conversations are a conversational bridge across issues that divide and separate us.
They provide an easy and safe structure for engaging in friendly yet meaningful conversation with those with whom we may not agree.
These conversations increase understanding, reveal common ground, and sometimes even allow us to discuss possible solutions. No fancy event or skilled facilitator is needed.
“Major disagreement on important issues is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to create insurmountable divides. We hope for a world in which people who have fundamental differences of opinion and backgrounds learn to work together with respect – and even joy – to realize the vibrant future we all desire for ourselves and our families.
“Through applying and adapting our conversational model, we hope participants will build relationships that generate understanding and enable collaborative problem-solving.
“Living rooms used to be the place where people would gather to socialize and relate with each other. Inviting someone into your home was to treat them as valued and worthy of respect.
Living Room Conversations can take place anywhere, which these days includes the virtual world. Video chat allows us to bring each other into our homes, with all that represents, at a scale never before imagined.”
You+1 is a great follow up “next step” after participating in a Living Room Conversation.
Regardless how you involve yourself, get up off the couch and SHARE!
By: Alan O’Hashi