Saturday, June 23, 2007
Conversations and Change
As you continue to work with FCNL for new policies in Washington, we offer some suggestions for effective conversations with your elected representatives or with people in your community who, like you, might be in a position to influence your elected representatives:
Begin at the center. Embrace the issue that you care about, ask yourself what are its most essential elements? Why? The answers to these questions will inform your conversations.
Make time for a conversation. Whether you are talking with an elected official, a next door neighbor, a classmate, or a member of your meeting or congregation, find a time when you can meet personally and hear the other person.
Ask. Maybe you know how the person feels about the topic that you are concerned about — but maybe you don’t. Expect to learn from the reasons or experiences that inform her or his ideas.
Offer. Contribute your own perspectives, worries, and experiences to the conversation — not as arguments for your point of view—but as simple human exchange.
Ask. Maybe the other person shares your sense that a solution is needed — maybe even the solution that you propose or support.
Stay in touch. You have begun a relationship that makes room for change. Find ways to keep the relationship open and lively.
Watch closely for change. Real change usually hides somewhere behind drama, beneath the headlines. Affirm the small changes you see in language, in acknowledgments, in understanding. You'll see the larger changes — like changes we've seen in Congress this year — built on the relationships you have created.
Reprinted from the Washington Newsletter (June 2007) published by the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I'm taking a lot of reading material, and hoping they don't show an annoying movie. I know they have to be "G" rated, but c'mon. Does anyone watch the movies when they're on Jury Duty? Or is it just my bad luck to get movies like "Music of the Heart"? (That was my last time.)
On my walk I started thinking about the state of helplessness. I mean, I know — I post a lot of stories on here that can make a person feel like the world is just a huge mess. But really, I think there are two kinds of helplessness. The first is when you truly have no control over circumstances. Like that time I was at the doctor's office in the middle of getting a pap smear and the fire alarm went off. The momentary look of panic on the doctor's face was not exactly reassuring.
In that situation, you really do have to trust in a higher power. Ladies, you know what I'm sayin'.
But the other feeling of helplessness is more of a feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of problems. There are solutions, and you do have power, but sometimes it can begin to feel like too much. But that is exactly the point of an organization like One.org, which is trying to make change one person at a time. And writing an email to your Senator or Representative to let them know your feelings on the war in Iraq, hate crimes legislation, or any issue is really not hard to do. If you're sitting here reading this blog, you have the skills and ability (and time?) to do it.
To quote Theodore Roosevelt: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
On May 3, the United States House passed the federal hate crimes legislation with bi-partisan support (237 - 180). The legislation now heads to the United States Senate, where it has been renamed the Matthew Shepard Act. In response to this, Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, said "I can’t think of a better way to honor Matthew’s memory. He was a 21-year-old college student just living his life."
We need your help to ensure that this bill is sent to the President to be signed into law. Call now and ask your Senators to Support the Matthew Shepard Act
Call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senator's office.
Thousands of people are attacked every year because of their sexual orientation, and there's still no federal hate crimes law to protect them.
Be the one to protect all Americans. Call.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
There is a range of blogger experience in our readership at Madwoman. Some of you are first-time blog readers, some maintain your own blogs. I encourage all of you to click on the Comments link at the bottom of any story you read here and share your thoughts with everyone, no matter how brief or profound. I have changed some settings, and you can now post anonymously, without a google account.
Again, thanks for reading.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
In a Glamour exclusive, America’s most famous female soldier straightens out the “war hero” controversy once and for all
I was told that he posted a statement on this at his website, but I can't find it. If someone else knows where it is, please help me find it. But here's an article discussing his response to his campaign's actions. And another here.
I'm sorry, but so far I'm hearing way too much denial of involvement from him on way too many topics. Here's a nice summary, that doesn't even include this latest campaign gaffe. I'm waiting for him to start taking some responsibility before he gets my endorsement for president.
We've already witnessed the damage that occurs when those in power refuse to take responsibility. Just ask Scooter.