Slacktivist or Activist: are YOU really changing anything?

This community conversation was hosted as part of Dysfunctions of the Decades & a Functional Future, a project which spotlights topics critical to building a sustainable future and culminates in a community-led pop-up arts and culture exhibit the evening of Earth Day, April 22nd at WOO Creative in Delray.  

What does real civil acton look like?

This was the key question from last week’s community conversation on activism. Everyone in the room agreed the state of our national politics has become a massive wake up call. It prompted several people to actively support candidates in the recent local election in Delray Beach, FL either by phone banking, canvassing neighborhoods or taking to social media to defend their candidates.

Nature of government and politics

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville

Whether we have a republic or democracy was one of the first questions we explored.  There is much cautionary and timely wisdom in de Tocqueville’s quote.  This topic is deserving of its own community conversation but needless to say, most felt we are not operating in a democracy.

Naturally, the values dividing us politically was also discussed. The possibility that conservatives, even though there are less of them, organize better because they are willing to “step into line” to hold the party vote unlike free-thinkers from the left.

Progressives Conservatives
  1. Change is a good thing
  2. It is better to keep moving forward
  3. With progress, the future can be better
  4. The past wasn’t good for the majority of people
  1. Traditional values keep us whole
  2. We need to go back to “the good old days”
  3. The present is lacking substance
  4. We need to hold on to traditional values tightly

To deepen our understanding of the differences that separate us, one of the suggestions made was to host a regular potluck meal SPECIFICALLY for discussing politics, a topic often deemed taboo for the dinner table.

To spark this dialogue we’re sharing this TED Talk and hope you’ll watch it and discuss it with someone who sees politics differently than you. No food fights, please.

Of course Millennials took a beating…

Millennials seem to be battered for nearly everything these days, including not being politically active enough. Young people historically haven’t been great with getting to the polls but as people get older and realize what’s at stake, they get in the game. What makes Millennials different is that there’s so many of them that showing up to the polls makes them significantly powerful in determining outcomes.

The Political System – is it over?

Are we amidst a political evolution? Is it time to overhaul the political systems? Perhaps we need to expand our conversation towards a more direct democracy and scrap the electoral college.  While we didn’t discuss this extensively, there’s certainly room for a greater conversation on how could technology aide in the future of governance.

Or is our Civic Nature Broken?

Blaming the system is easy but what role are We The People playing in the broken political system? The point was made that we’ve basically become helpless little lemmings waiting for the government to solve the problems for us. In order for real change to occur, people need to reach out into their community, roll up their sleeves and start collaboratively solving problems. It is time we wake up, act and innovate locally.

What can freedom fighters do?

Wake up and be informed.  Find out not only who your local and State representatives are, but also find out what legislation is at stake.  Stand for what you believe in by engaging in the following:

Call your representatives. We learned about the app 5 Calls from this community conversation. It turns your passive participation into active resistance by sending you a single email every week with the most impactful issues you can call about. Other than showing up outside of your representative’s office, calling is the most effective way to influence your representative.

Inform others about pending legislation by phone banking, organizing discussion groups and/or road trips to your State’s capital.

Consider running for a local office or serving on a local board to help shape the local agenda.

Learn and have your voice heard by participating in local Town Halls. If you live in Delray Beach, FL, here’s a list of upcoming Town Hall Meetings.

Click here to review the presentation from this community conversation.

Many thanks to all who participated, sharing your wisdom and perspective with us.  We are looking to hold a subsequent community conversation on the subject of Net Neutrality and how it impacts democracy and freedom.  Should you or anyone you know how have interest in leading this conversation, please email us at together@wisetribe.us.

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