We The People Project: Introduction

I’m late. I’m behind on this project for the usual reasons a writer is behind on anything: 1) I’m busy with other Very Important Things 2) I’m terrified.

Not long after the election, I saw this meme on facebook, posted by one of my relatively small number of moderate-to-conservative friends:

I chuckled ruefully, and my left-leaning heart bled a little extra, especially when I read a comment from one of his friends, remarking on the hateful vitriol coming from people on the left, and the hypocrisy of same. It inspired me to devise a project.

The premise of the project is simple: interview acquaintances of various identities and political leanings, and paint a word portrait of them. Create a mosaic of Americans. Or a quilt. Patchwork quilts are quite American.

That’s all I know for now. How explicitly political the posts are will vary, by how well I know them, what we end up talking about. Conversation is a priority, conversion is not.

I posted on facebook stating my intention with this project back in mid-November (busy, terrified). The uncharacteristically long post received plenty of ego-boosting likes and loves, as well as a couple comments from friends who may agree with my politics but not my approach in this project.

So, a note on why my activism in favor of equality, liberty, and justice takes the shape of reaching out to my so-called enemies – people who are “separate” or “different” from me, either ethnically or politically:

As challenging as it is to forge and maintain relationships with people with different identities or opinions from one’s own, giving in to polarization is a tactical error. In such soil grow dictators and corruption. Divide and conquer. Divide, DISTRACT, and conquer.

One of the many times I was doubting myself with this project, I read this Washington Post editorial about the rise of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, and the last three paragraphs in particular resonated and spurred me onward. Turns out I’m rather fond of democracy, now that it’s under threat.

Once the dictatorial weeds invade, they’re hard to get rid of. Now seems like a good time to be finding common ground with my fellow Americans, so that we together can demand that our government officials return to being public servants – operative word serve. May they be held accountable for serving a diverse populace and for continuing to strive toward liberty and justice for all.