I learn something new every day. The person I am now is certainly not the person I was when our 9-12 group met for the first time in early 2009.
Mostly during the last two years I have learned to deal with fear and uncertainty. Early on, we were all strangers who got together to talk about the state of our country. I was afraid of not being “the person” that would be best to organize us. I was afraid that those who didn’t agree with our mission would harass us. I was also often concerned that some of the decisions I made were not bold enough and that our organization would fail to meet your needs. Over time, as I got to know many of you in a more personal way, my fears began to dissipate. You became community organizers with me.
Today about 30 of you joined me in Congressman John Carter’s office. We heard that MoveOn.org was going to send a sign toting crew to deliver the message “Don’t destroy the American Dream”. Many of you joined us even though you felt a little fearful about what would take place. What we learned was that the 2 ½ years that we spent educating ourselves was very important. The time that we spent discussing The 9 Principles and 12 Values and how these ideas could improve our lives was not wasted. Those of you who went to Congressman Carter’s office clearly spoke about self-reliance, our concern about over-spending, and our compassion and support for those of limited means who find themselves without work. You also expressed your concern for those who have retired and count on social security and medicare to take them through their twilight years.
We spent about an hour and ½ together. As the DIVERSE group of 9-12ers and MoveOn followers discussed the debt ceiling, key themes that we agree about emerged – fiscal responsibility, distrust of big unaccountable government, and corporations which abuse loopholes such as GE.
Towards the end of the meeting, I went to the back of the room and an attendee who was there at MoveOn’s urging followed me. She began to cry and then went into a conference room. She sat down and said, “I didn’t want to cry, but I am afraid. What is going to happen to me and my son if the debt ceiling isn’t raised?” I told her that we all understood her fear and that this fear is what helped us find each other several years ago. I plan to have coffee with this woman in a week or two. We exchanged numbers. I don’t have all the answers, but I know that we are better off having found each other. This woman felt alone. None of us feel alone anymore, and we are not paralyzed any longer by the looming problems with our federal government.
Sometimes the chats, the book studies, and events make us question what we are accomplishing. Now I fully understand that ALL that we do together is about preparation and creating community. Athletes train for championship games that sometime never happen. Several of our members have received training in CPR, First Aid, and emergency response – AND I know that they pray that they will recall all the needed details, if they ever need to use this training. Today, we used ALL that we have learned — together.