A few years ago, a friend and I were trying to figure out what we could do to help move the conversation along. By conversation I mean discussion on race, class, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and more. The topics that tend to divide us. These issues are like fault lines running through our nation, threatening not only to further divide us, but to destroy us. In spite of all we have in common, in light of all we've overcome, there are several areas in which Americans are consistently, undeniably divided.
We don't have to agree on everything. But we have to respect one another enough to not let our individual preferences lead to violence, hate, a lack of empathy, or turning our backs to the challenges of others.
If I've learned anything over the last eight years, it's that I must have hope. Traveling throughout the country has given me a sense and a solid belief that most people are good. We have strong ideals, cherished values, and morals steeped in what we've learned and what we've seen. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many of us, every single day we make choices that don't align with who we think we are.
That's my audience. That's my target. The "good" folks who abhor violence and hate, but don't realize that their unconscious choices often contribute to the very climate they revile.
About a year ago, a friend tried to slow me down, he tried to encourage me to see the big picture and to be realistic about my goals. He reminded me that it wasn't as if I was trying to change the world.
To which I immediately responded, "Of course, I am."