Here in the USA, we are faced with a question. How do we respond to the ongoing attacks on our humanity? After we go through the stages of grief for what appears to be a great election season setback (not day, season), what next?
There are dozens of progressive organizations doing good things, circulating petitions, reporting violations to our freedoms, marching and, most dependably, asking for donations. These top down efforts are not without merit. But my inbox is clogged and my spirits are not lifted by this relentless flow of progressive babble. So I turn my attention to Folk-LORE.
A response, for me, must be first and foremost a local response, for the crisis which is looming will encompass not just societal values but will also impact the very fabric of our economic system. So it is imperative to re-establish neighborly ties and reach out to forge new relationships communicating to all that we are inclusive, that we embrace all races and all religions and all parties. We will be good neighbors to the ‘other’ in the tough times to come. We will share from our garden and our hearts.
We can leverage our position from our local perch by making commercial choices. Tough choices that may go against our short term interests (cheap goods), but support our long term interests for affirming our humanity. We can also choose to speak out and proclaim our bias for humane production.
Next we can organize. We can band together locally, forming a single Cohort of likeminded critical thinkers who want to take a stand with us, their neighbors. By doing so we leverage our hope, reinforce our impact and lift our spirits. Our goal here is not to commiserate but rather to activate and give outlet to our higher purpose. Our Cohort provides a framework for networking with a broader community. From this base we can network by reaching out to similar Cohorts, across the street, across the county and across the country. To be clear our Cohort can stand alone as a bastion of hope, but it affords an opportunity to link into a larger network.
Such a Network of Cohorts does not need centralized top down structure. It does not ask for a budget. The energy driving the effort is organic and self funding. If a website would facilitate networking, then the talent to build it will volunteer. Cohorts can be neighborhoods, extended family, church (or mosque or synagogue), interest driven, work based, etc. They can even be virtual, spanning many miles pulling together likeminded folks miles apart.
How big is a Cohort you might ask? Yes.
A Cohort, that is by definition made up of critical thinkers, cannot help but think. Think about ways to effect change, show love to our neighbors, fix problems, share resources, and register voters. Such reflections opens up fields for research and that in turn makes possible story telling. No fake news here. Just good old fashion investigative reporting.
A fundamental component of critical thinking is multiple points of view. We need the challenge of stimulation to broaden our thinking, refine our conclusions and temper our excesses. If a Cohort provides such support, then a network of Cohorts affords unlimited strength for the journey.
Research topics? Who deserves our commercial patronage? What currency should we use to replace our instruments of debt? How do we show support for those who are being oppressed? How can we grow food in winter? (or in summer for that matter) How is the next contemplated war being justified? What can we do to forestall child trafficking? The list is endless. Hence the need for many Cohorts networking and sharing.
More than ever the situation calls for vigilance. Vigilance accompanied by diligence and followed by making a lot of noise to lay bare fake news, to challenge bigotry in all its myriad forms, to expose unjust provisions buried deep in must pass legislation, to counter propaganda designed to confuse issues, and to provide a trustworthy voice as a beacon to all seekers.
The process of exposure should also provide a venue for celebration. We can rejoice that our humanity is not only being preserved but also extolled.
Folklore: the unwritten literature of a people as expressed in folk tales, proverbs, riddles, songs, dance, etc. Folk-LORE is essentially We The People banding together in Cohorts to tell our stories across a network that is rooted in critical thinking. It is LORE, Local Organizations Reflecting on and then Exposing real news.
The beauty is that you can form a Cohort and if the idea never takes off, you (and the world) will still benefit.
Who is ready to build a website?