Our Better Future #1 — New Endeavor for a New Year

This is an announcement and a meditation.

Announcement: Our Better Future now exists. It’s an umbrella organization that supports real community, a clear-eyed relationship to our current realities, and the faith that working together from stubborn hope and creative intelligence will make the world a better place than it would have been without us. More and more people are feeling impulses toward doing something, anything, given everything. Our Better Future will entice and empower those impulses.

I’m going to raise money and pay myself (modestly) after six years of working for free, and pay a few other people, also modestly.

This is the first subjective yawp of my new endeavors. Details, websites, social media, all sorts of stuff, is TK.

Meditation: Happy New Year. It’s a particular moment. The new year is under way. Our country’s lurch toward fascism has taken only its first few official steps. And I am right this present moment crossing the line from preparation to execution.

There’s been shock, and grief. I’ve been taking refuge in positive statements from some people whose work I deeply admire. In summary:

  • It’s time for sensible citizens of good will to be engaged as never before;
  • We’re going to need to take good care of each other;
  • The forces of darkness are strong now, and the stakes are vertiginously enormous;
  • It will take the best of ourselves, from a whole lot of us, to avoid catastrophe.

I believe in us. I believe in the activated citizens of Northern Westchester (which, when I say it, means everything from Mt. Kisco to Hudson, NY). I’m not going to stop acting on those beliefs.

Joanna Macy, who has been a lifeline of hope amidst clarity for years, makes the point that “it is good that we … find our strength and our sanity in each other.”

Brian Eno, whose inspiring creativity offered to the world has always struck me as deeply mature and deeply playful, says, “People are thinking hard, and, most importantly, thinking out loud, together.” A strategy that’s not all that oblique after all.

Rebecca Solnit, whose confidence in the strength and humanity latent in all of us justifies hope in the dark, introduces her New Year’s message like this, “Oh I wrote something hopeful again. Fiercely so, I hope. To launch us all on the new year, an occasion that’ll need plenty of rising to.”

Van Jones, uncompromisingly optimistic in the face of all of it, asserts that “We have to build a massive Love Army” to take back our country and government from the “little hate army of very cynical, nasty people who took over our government”

Here’s fuller quotes and links to the whole pieces:

Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy

Now, a triumphant Trump brings into the spotlight at stage center those who have been waiting in the wings: the lords of coal and oil, the masters of surveillance, the white supremacists, the war-ready generals, those eager to rule the bodies of women.

So it is good that we reach for each other, find our strength and our sanity in each other.

Brian Eno

Brian Eno

2016 was indeed a pretty rough year, but I wonder if it’s the end – not the beginning – of a long decline. Or at least the beginning of the end….for I think we’ve been in decline for about 40 years, enduring a slow process of de-civilisation, but not really quite noticing it until now.

There’s been a quieter but equally powerful stirring: people are rethinking what democracy means, what society means and what we need to do to make them work again. People are thinking hard, and, most importantly, thinking out loud, together.

This is the start of something big. It will involve engagement: not just tweets and likes and swipes, but thoughtful and creative social and political action too.

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit

Oh I wrote something hopeful again. Fiercely so, I hope. To launch us all on the new year, an occasion that’ll need plenty of rising to. It goes like this:
The time when you don’t need hope is when your hopes have been fulfilled. Hope is for when you don’t have what you need and for when things are not OK. It is the belief that liberation might be possible that motivates you to make it more possible, and pursuing hope even when it doesn’t lead to the ultimate goal can generate changes that matter along the way, including in yourself.

Many people are still trying to figure out what to do; others are doing it. They give me hope, in some portion of humanity, the portion that will resist Trump and defend our ideals. It will be hard. It will be ugly. Our job will be to be embody and protect all of those things most antithetical to authoritarianism, racism, misogyny, kleptocracy, an atmosphere of lies and indifference to science, fact and truth.

Van Jones

Van Jones

Tight around Trump is a little hate army – not every Trump voter – but tight around him is a little hate army of very cynical, nasty people who took over our government. We have to build a massive Love Army that can take the country and the government back in a better direction. That is completely doable. Because there’s now many more people wanting to get involved

the fundamental nastiness and cynicism that is Trump’s calling card can be overcome by a beautiful, loving, determined opposition. There’s got to be a center of gravity that we hold that continues to insist that the America that we believe in is the real America.

Michael Moore

Michael Moore

I want you to ask 5 to 10 friends, family members, co-workers, classmates or neighbors to be part of your Rapid Response Team. Pick a name for it — the “Oak Street Rapid Response Team”, the “Gilmore Girls Fan Club Rapid Response Team”, etc. Set a plan to contact each other online as soon as word goes out on any given day to oppose what Trump and Congress are up to. Your Rapid Response Team will agree with each other to email elected reps, make calls, post on social media, go to protests and/or organize others at work, school or in the neighborhood.

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