Last night, I posted this to the Coffee Party facebook page:
It's tempting to think that the main problem with politics in America is extremism. I think it's a combination of extremism and the silent, browbeaten, apathetic, exhausted, cynical, disengaged and marginalized majority. That majority must now stand up with a roar to reset the course for America.
It generated quite a few comments and several people asked me to clarify what I meant by a "roar." That is, of course, a challenging question because it is a question about what are the best methods and tactics for change given that our political process appears to be so broken. What can citizens really do? What will it take for the majority to be heard over the din of the loud and divisive minority?
This is my reply for now, but I'd like to continue the discussion with you because there is no definitive answer.
- Communicate to our lawmakers, the media and to each on a daily basis. Call, write, meet, email, Facebook, tweet and let our representatives know that we're watching them and we'll hold them accountable.
- Run for office.
- Recruit people to run for office and support them.
- Vote for all elections including local ones and help get out the vote.
- Be informed and help others become informed.
- Reject "truth" by repetition and engage in critical thought.
- Be civil but fearless.
The theory of change here is that if the majority were informed and engaged, we would have better politics and policies.
Some of my friends, especially those in the Occupy movement, would argue that these engagement tools just don't work anymore because our process has been so compromised and rigged.
That could be. But, I'm an empirical person and I would argue that we haven't had the the quantity and quality of engagement in recent years. Furthermore, I'd like to argue that the process has been compromised by a combination of disinformation and the disengagement (by design) of the majority. What if we were determined not to be disinformed and disengaged and did not submit to those tactics?
Let's give it a try. Let's roar, friends.
Annabel is a filmmaker and the founder of the Coffee Party. Her new documentary project is Story of America: A Nation Divided. You can follow her on Twitter @annabelpark and subscribe to her Facebook updates.