Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Game changer? Or not.

Our Overcoming (Community) Polarization kickoff event project has been announced. Check out this link for details.

So now what?
And the question
I asked myself that question this morning after the flurry of activity to get this striking official announcement out into cyberspace, print and broadcast media etc. etc.


Next, back and forth email conversations revealed the fact that, perhaps, New Horizons was flying almost solo when it came to having any agenda at all that this event, billed as a kickoff to air the problems of polarization in our local community, Frederick County, Maryland, might be anything at all by way of being a game changer.

Sue and I thought it intriguing that others, having a stake in the program, didn't care one way or the other if anything changed as a result. Well, I asked myself, why bother talking?

We got involved in order to offer our best, as an organization, to building that vision of the
Possible Human, Possible Society.

Could it be that others want only to keep talking the talk?

Not really interested in taking the time to walk that “real deal” walk?

Very interesting said I,
Anastasia, Super Sleuth, "Talking versus walking. Umm."

That's pretty much what we experienced being the rule, rather than the exception, from our Abkhazian Dinner backlash. One guest reported being verbally abused by another with a racial assault. The “victim” was traumatized. The apparent perpetrator blamed the victim (and New Horizons and me, personally) for being disturbed. And, her friends who had originally invited her to this Season For Non-violence event walked away still wondering --
"How is it possible that 6.9 billion people can all claim to want the same thing (peace, security, opportunity, prosperity, happiness, and love) and be singularly unable to get it"? Neale Donald Walsch

Oh, well, there it was again; the talking versus the walking.

Our Abkhazian Dinner event – and the upset that followed -- became a game changer; a turning point for New Horizons, our Possible Human, PossibleSociety Study and myself. Not in quite the way we had anticipated from a Season For Non-violence sponsored event, but a turning point, no less.

A teachable moment, actually a series of them, had occurred. In some ways, we learned more through our immersion in this moment about "real deal" community unity builders than we might have with only our study to inform our data gathering. In the game instead of watching and analyzing the game. Umm. Good for growing, but challenging, being a part of the action on the field.

I have pondered this unpredicted turn, of late, as it came about from Abkhazian Dinner, concluding that circumstances such as those that arose from that event may not be, so much about the absence of yearning for an unknown something better, but people not really having a concrete vision of how we could be as a possible society in motion -- and the skills to bring that vision about. After all, no real blood was actually shed.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, people see things from different angles; what is big to one may be tiny to another. In this case the more subtley oriented, like my board members, the more attuned guest that we shared the incident with and myself,  saw that we had just encountered an unhealed piece of our mid-1800s civil war; the piece about racial respect and dignity.

In terms of this next coming event and the possiblities for it to open any doors to creating anything to actually overcome polarization in Frederick County, Maryland, we know we will just show up, offer our best and, again, as Dore, my favorite fish in "Finding Nemo" suggests, “Just keep swimming." 

Or, as Pastor George, urged of his congregation that did its successful turn around with our help, “Just keep talking.” And, so we will.

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