I'm glad to see that so many people are motivated to want to do something in response to Donald Trump's pronouncements and behaviors in the first days and weeks of his being President. It has been a long time since so many have been roused to political action. Many of my friends have been urging me to join them in calling upon our Congressman and I am happy that they are acting on their feelings in this way.
Personally, I have no interest in calling or visiting with my Congressman because I don’t think he gives a damn about what anyone thinks unless they are in agreement with his own thinking. He has stated that it is his policy that if 50 or more people want to meet with him over an issue, he is willing to do so. But I think this is more a political tactic than a desire and openness to hear from his constituents. I have heard of no case in which he has been reported to have changed his mind after such meetings.
The problem is that it really isn't about thinking or ideas. It is about values. People can and do change their minds fairly easily, but changing values is another matter altogether. My differences with my Congressman and Donald Trump are a matter of conflicting and contradictory values.
I am certainly open to taking whatever action I think will be effective in obstructing the capitalist, oligarchic, plutocratic agenda being promoted and getting this society headed in a direction that serves values that promote the common good, commonwealth and the health of the planet. My problem is that I don’t yet see a common or public way to that sort of action as yet. What I am hearing and seeing now seems very reactionary and defensive rather than strategic and driven by positive values and a long term vision.
I see many activists trying to whip up 60’s style street marches. But I am not alone in thinking that protest marches are much less effective than in the past (recall how much effect the huge marches against the invasion of Iraq had on the corporate/political/military powers). How truly effective was Occupy Wall St? Obama was so effective in snuffing it out that few people realize that he was the one who defeated it. Contrary to what many say, I think Occupy was a failure.
In my experience, the effect of public demonstrations is directly proportional to three observable characteristics. The first concerns how many people are demonstrating. We humans are impressed by numbers. The greater their numbers, the more intuitive credibility will be given to the demonstrator's cause. The other two factors are solidarity and commitment. Demonstrations that present themselves as a united group sharing a common loyalty to each other, their cause and to values held in common with those who witness the demonstration are better able to reach the public on an intuitive level.
The situation we are in calls for much more from us than we have ever before needed to summon up… and we are running out of time. We have to become much more self-aware, conscious, creative, penitent, understanding, receptive, forgiving, loving, and driven in service of altruistic values and vision than we have ever before demonstrated as a species. Nothing less will do.
This is what Opthē is all about.