Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Intersect Between Society and Politics

Upon reflection I can easily see how my board member, Lisa, and I might have gotten into the tangle we did about my wanting to use “draining the swamp as a metaphor for social change." She was absolutely opposed to the idea; unquestionably too political!

I have, for as long as I can remember, had a passion for the psychological/sociological side of politics. Lisa’s devotion, at least insofar as New Horizons goes, has consistently been focused on how we get our message out to the public in a clean and clear way.

G-d bless her!
Are we in "this" together,
or not?

From my angle of seeing things, my idea still looked good. For me, personally, it went like this…. 

I have, for many years, merged society and politics in my mind. Yet I have never been a political activist nor do I ever wish to be. Peace and social justice activist, yes, political activist, no. 

So it seemed to me, when I introduced the idea of “draining the swamp” for New Horizons’ next social action theme, that this branding would appear as totally equivalent to others, as it was for me. Alongside other initiatives/movement actions New Horizons has taken up, this label seemed no different to me.  

Take “swamp draining” out of politics and there is still plenty of swamp draining to do, in you and me.  Psychological toxins are no different than political, if you look up close. The differences are often only a matter of degree and context. Same games, different faces.

For example, I thought that “draining the swamp,” if viewed from a psychological/sociological perspective, could be seen as similar, in its message, to the Small Zones Of Peace Project, our overarching initiative and to the Study of The Possible Human in the Possible Society, our study to help us discover how citizens of our country might be viewing how we could work together at optimum levels. 

Making Violence Obsolete, is our initiative to stringently focus on the role both extreme violence and subtle violence play in obstructing our higher values and Overcoming Polarization, our best effort to try to heal the breach our politics and racism, fell right in line. Finally, Coffee House Conversations, our penultimate series, specially designed to promote the methodology and skills to make our other initiatives succeed, was also simpatico.  

These designations for what New Horizons offers had all been acceptable to my board of directors. And they did well enough with those who would likely be attracted to participating in our projects and programs. 

The branding had all come from me. I had, almost always, had my suggestions supported and been given the stamp of approval by my board, until now. 

(There had been a brief few instances of short-lived disagreement. Like the time I suggested the label for the Kids and Kops In Conversations project be called the “Kids and Kops In Konversation” project. Lisa got all riled up that time, too. But I could easily see that the “KKK” connection would not necessarily be seen as clever or appropriate.)

Still, overall, the descriptive labels I had suggested had been used as branding for our concerted efforts in a particular area; a highlighting of what we have seen as needing attention. Our overarching mission; building small “Zones Of Peace” wherever we can, would make some kind of headway, small or large, under these labels to help better our society.

One way, I saw for carrying out this intent, under current conditions, was by branding New Horizons’ next initiative as the “draining the swamp” initiative, or at least an instead of draining the swamp” initiative.  My idea was that New Horizons would highlight this as an alternative pathway to the political upheaval now going on. With this we would spotlight the effort of trying to get people to “point fingers” back at themselves and issues close in to their lives; a way to focus on the close up, where impact might take hold, and away from the "craziness of politics” where an individual’s impact is nil.

However, as you can see my idea did not fly. 

The rub was that it was “my angle” that was not in alignment with Lisa’s. Beyond that, it then turned into this branding idea of mine not being “our” shared perspective.

What to do? What to do?

The solution, on the board level, was what comes naturally to a board such as mine; we practiced what we preach; dialogue was our high road. Seeking synergy, elegant solutions, and hopefully some place beyond that, “Climbing ‘The Mountain of Awe;” always for the good of whole, pushing us forward to find common ground.

We haven’t yet found our sparkling new way to tag what we are up to these days. And, the effort is, indeed, a challenging one; how to gather people together and focus on the highest road attainable in these days of so much social and political turmoil.

So, now, instead of "my idea" for a possible tag line, I am writing here and on my other blogs the ins and outs of New Horizons adventure to find our organization’s common ground and how best to use carefully crafted language to send out our message of intent.

 Hopefully we can engage your interest and support in working with us on it. 

Still our new initiative which will incorporate all previous, remains without a name that clarifies the apolitical nature of New Horizons while keeping us in the intersect of society and politics.

One thing particularly occurs to me, as I ponder the snag we presently have at New Horizons on this topic; if I take the “helicopter view” of how I see society and politics now intersecting, certainly in my life, as never before – and – possibly in yours, it occurs to me that where the juxtaposition shows up may have more to do with many people now being at a crossroads on a variety of issues, not simply how society and politics are intersecting in their lives.

Thus we are in a time of crisis where finding common ground is quite a challenge. 

How do you think we can brand New Horizons efforts to do that anyway, build bridges and find common ground with as many people as possible?

Please offer your suggestions to help us resolving our quandary in this area; how best to now carry our message of peace and social justice out into our communities, in this era where politics has become so much the personal.

We will be gathering ideas up until our annual board meeting on July 15.  And keep you posted on updates of our adventure where dialogue can get us to awe.

You can do that by posting your comments on this site. 

Or by writing me at:

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