Home Virginia Politics Recruiting Tool: A Way to Motivate the Upset-but-Inactive to Take Action

Recruiting Tool: A Way to Motivate the Upset-but-Inactive to Take Action

612
0

It’s great to see how this “Blue Wave” is gathering momentum, as each special election seems to bring good news, often turning districts from red to blue in dramatic fashion.

But America is in so deep a hole that — to extricate ourselves –we will surely need as powerful an effort as we can get.

It has been great to see how many people who previously have been politically inactive are rousing themselves to take action — from the Women’s March the day after Trump was inaugurated, to groups like Indivisible, to the rallies against policies of madness on guns.

But the number of people who are upset by what they see happening in Trump’s America still far exceeds the number of people who have taken the step into being activists in the cause of rescuing the nation.

And so the question arises: how can the upset-but-inactive be motivated to take the next step and become part of the force to turn things around?

I’d like to commend to the attention of anyone here who is working to build some sort of activist force — whether for an electoral campaign, or something else — a possible “recruiting tool” that was published here in early February.

The piece, by my wife April Moore, told about how — by an “emotional alchemy” — the pain she felt about what’s happening in the world could be turned into joy by joining with other people to take action to advance their shared purpose.

In her case, the pain is about the destructive process of climate change. And the action she was writing about — the occasion for “joy” — was a “Polar Bear Plunge” into the Potomac, organized by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to raise funds to campaign for responsible policies to combat climate change.

She wrote:

By acting with others to protect my beloved, the earth, I gain relief from the pain…

Knowing that in America right now a huge number of Americans are feeling pain of that sort right now, April commended that “emotional alchemy” to them, saying that taking relevant political action

can be a gift for many who, in these days, are feeling pain at what they see happening now in America, with Donald Trump as President… So I  encourage anyone who is feeling that kind of pain to use it to become a force for good.  Joining with others in effective action will not only move the world in a good direction, but it will also lift your spirits.

Nowadays, I do my campaigning with my (figurative) pen. But if I were running a campaign, or if I were a Democratic chair in some county in Virginia, or if I were organizing political action around some issue, I would send out that piece (with a suitable introduction) to the people on my mailing list.

After all, if one is in pain from the darkness of one’s times, what could be better than the two-fer of bringing more light to that darkness, and replacing one’s own feeling bad with feeling good?

(Here’s the text of that piece:)

Just over a week ago I joined with about 150 people for a bracing plunge into the Potomac River near Washington, DC!

No, we were not insane.  At least not mostly.  We were raising money for the organization international climate leader Bill McKibben calls “the best regional climate organization in the world,’  the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).

All of us ‘plungers’ had reached out to family and friends, asking them to support our plunge by making a donation to CCAN.   And collectively, we raised more than $125,000, enough to make a difference.

Fortifying ourselves and each other with whoops and hollers, we all charged out into the frigid river.  And it was our willingness to discomfit ourselves by plunging into the cold water that inspired our friends and family to make their own sacrifice (in financial form), in the service of a cause we all believe in. 

What a joyful day that was for me!  And a great gift to me to be able to experience such happiness, especially in relation to climate change, which is one of my greatest pains.

Grief about what we’re doing to the earth is my all-too-frequent companion.  I anguish over the fact that we are in the process of condemning our children and those who come after them to a life that is much harder than ours because the planet on which they live has become destabilized.  It breaks my heart to know that we are in the middle of a huge wave of extinctions, caused, in part, by global warming.  And then there is the deep frustration I feel because Donald Trump has made our country the only one on earth that is not part of the Paris climate accord.

All those sources of pain!  But the earth is my beloved, so I feel duty-bound to do what I can to protect this incredibly wonderful home of ours.

And here is the small miracle, the grace in this dilemma.  By acting with others to protect my beloved, the earth, I gain relief from the pain.  That’s the meaning of the joy I felt in our Polar Bear Plunge.

I have learned that I feel great when I join with others to do something about that which is causing us all so much pain.  Our shared pain is the motivator that brings us together.  And then we share the joy of being part of a team, a team that takes effective action to safeguard the planet we love.

However much of that happiness comes from making a contribution toward winning the battle for our climate, and how much comes from our camaraderie, this I know:  at least for me, joining with people to do something constructive changes the whole experience of confronting what is so painful for me to see.

And this emotional alchemy–turning pain into joy–can be a gift for many who, in these days, are feeling pain at what they see happening now in America, with Donald Trump as President.

These are indeed difficult times, when so much on which our climate, and also our democracy, depend is getting battered and may even be up for grabs.  So I  encourage anyone who is feeling that kind of pain to use it to become a force for good.  Joining with others in effective action will not only move the world in a good direction, but it will also lift your spirits.–April Moore