I’m David Marquis and this is the Activist Heart. Welcome.
There is a very interesting word that we’re going to examine today and it is a challenging word, one that causes us to look into our Activist Hearts.
The word is collaborate. “Co”, or “com”, is of course a prefix that means “with”, so collaborate in its first definition means to work with others. That sounds good. Collaborate on a project or a literary work or with someone who might have a different point of view.
That leads to the second definition – to be a collaborator. That was the word applied to those French who worked with the occupying Nazi forces in World War 2. They were scorned for being collaborators.
Odd isn’t is, how quickly the word can go from a positive connotation to a negative. It is good to collaborate, but not to be a collaborator.
This word raises a question for us in America today. We are a nation divided. Our democratic processes are no longer about working together but about having enough power to impose our will on others.
The question: Is that how we want to live?
In your activist heart, can you find the room, the space, the tolerance, the love to actually work with those who believe, speak, act and vote differently? Can you do that? And can you collaborate without becoming a collaborator? Can you negotiate on specific pieces of legislation without sacrificing your principles?
And if we can’t do that, how are we going to move at all? Not move forward. At all. Here are a few things to consider.
First, those people who vote differently and think differently than you? You have to let them own their life. Just like you have the right to own yours. You don’t live inside their skin, don’t know what influences and experiences live within their central nervous system that shaped them and formed them and gave them the audacity to think that it was ok to not be you.
We don’t have to embrace each other’s politics but we need to start embracing each other’s humanity.
First we have to collaborate on affirming each other’s humanity, that each of us has that right to own our lives.
Second, we have to collaborate on understanding the problems. The second step is not to find solutions. It is to agree on what the problems are. We’re not ready to find solutions together if we can’t even agree on what the basic issues are.
And then, it’s time to collaborate on finding and implementing solutions. Now, here are questions for you to answer, your assignment.
Can you, in your activist hear, truly embrace and affirm the humanity of those with whom you disagree? We need an honest answer there.
Next, can you collaborate on identifying the issues, the problems, to be addressed? That one is pretty achievable.
And then the big one: can you collaborate on solutions? Finding and implementing solutions, which means time and monitoring and continuing to work together?
And can you collaborate on specific items that require compromise without sacrificing your broader principles?
There is no foreign power occupying our nation today. Serious disagreements among ourselves? Absolutely.
It means this…we have work to do before we can even begin the work of collaboration.
We’ll be back.