What Could Possibly Go Right?

#24R Thom Hartmann Reflection: On Being a Political Animal

November 26, 2020 Season 1 Episode 24
What Could Possibly Go Right?
#24R Thom Hartmann Reflection: On Being a Political Animal
Chapters
What Could Possibly Go Right?
#24R Thom Hartmann Reflection: On Being a Political Animal
Nov 26, 2020 Season 1 Episode 24

Our host Vicki Robin reflects on “What Could Possibly Go Right?” episode 24 with author and America's #1 progressive talk show, Thom Hartmann. She shares that despite any reluctance we might have, we are all political animals with a duty to engage and learn. In Thom’s words, "Democracy begins with you. Get out there. Get active. Tag, you're it!"

Connect with Thom
Website: thomhartmann.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ThomHartmannProgram
Twitter: twitter.com/Thom_Hartmann
YouTube: youtube.com/user/thomhartmann

Follow WCPGR on Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhatCouldPossiblyGoRightPodcast
Twitter: https://twitter.com/postcarbon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/postcarboninstitute/

Learn more: https://bit.ly/pci-wcpgrseries   

***Join us in December for a special Zoom call with Vicki! When you donate any amount to support the show, we'll invite you to join a live, online call with Vicki on Thursday, December 10. ***

Support the show (https://www.resilience.org/what-could-possibly-go-right-podcast-vicki-robin/supportthepodcast/)

Show Notes Transcript

Our host Vicki Robin reflects on “What Could Possibly Go Right?” episode 24 with author and America's #1 progressive talk show, Thom Hartmann. She shares that despite any reluctance we might have, we are all political animals with a duty to engage and learn. In Thom’s words, "Democracy begins with you. Get out there. Get active. Tag, you're it!"

Connect with Thom
Website: thomhartmann.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ThomHartmannProgram
Twitter: twitter.com/Thom_Hartmann
YouTube: youtube.com/user/thomhartmann

Follow WCPGR on Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WhatCouldPossiblyGoRightPodcast
Twitter: https://twitter.com/postcarbon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/postcarboninstitute/

Learn more: https://bit.ly/pci-wcpgrseries   

***Join us in December for a special Zoom call with Vicki! When you donate any amount to support the show, we'll invite you to join a live, online call with Vicki on Thursday, December 10. ***

Support the show (https://www.resilience.org/what-could-possibly-go-right-podcast-vicki-robin/supportthepodcast/)

Vicki Robin:

Hi, Vicki Robin here. I'm the host of "What Could Possibly Go Right?" a project of the Post Carbon Institute. We interview cultural scouts, so they can help us see more clearly so we can act more courageously. Thom Hartmann, in our interview published on November 24, his tagline is, "Democracy begins with you. Get out there. Get active. Tag, You're it!" The system is gamed, yet we have the power to hold power accountable and to be powerful. How is that possible? So I want to share a bit of my own effort to exercise power and service to values I hold dear, values like "everyone gets a fair shake and a fair share", rule of law, personal responsibility and social responsibility, justice to the poor justice to the future, justice to all species. So my first wake up call came in 1989 after a decade of teaching a program on financial independence, which we knew worked. People who followed the steps of our program, on average lowered their expenses by 20% and were happier. So in 1989, when I went to this first Global Conference on Sustainable Development, based on half a decade of UN inquiry into how to reconcile economic growth with ecological limits, all the speakers pointed to the level and pattern of consumption in North America as the biggest driver of environmental destruction. But they admitted they had no idea how to get between an American and their right to consume. But I did, and I was on fire. I think I just had this idea, Well, if we can get every American to do our program, voila! We'll live within planetary limits. So I gave a passionate decade to this. It was not political. We were not challenging the power struggle. We were just hoping to lure everyone away from the consumer culture, the grip of the power holders. Even though a million or more people were aware of the book, and even though thousands and thousands have done the program, the macro data on overconsumption did not budge. So on to other social change interventions again, and again, great projects well-loved by those who adopted them, but never touching the driver of our collective dismay and demise. I moved down to an island and fell in love with it. I thought, Well, at least here on the scale of an island, we can live the values of fairness and personal and social responsibility and justice. Since industrial monoculture, agriculture makes our food supply fragile and unhealthy, and since I live in an island, I dedicated myself to promoting local food with the same passion I had for Your Money or Your Life. We were going to get everyone to do this, then we - myself and other people who cared - hit a wall. Our best farmland happens to be where the Navy trains fighter jet pilots on a World War Two legacy airfield. The noise is deafening, it's the loudest jet in the sky. The farmers find it difficult to farm under the jets. So the great plan to produce at least 50% our food regionally was compromised by a power much greater than ourselves. We fought with every tool citizens can use. And we lost, at least for now. I participated in other struggles along the way; Standing Rock, the WTO in '99. Again and again, the people push against the line of power, and power does not concede, or at least on a timeframe that I can see. As journalist I. F. Stone said, If you expect to achieve your goals in your lifetime, you aren't playing a big enough game. That is sort of a redo of what he said. But this is my political education; caring deeply, working hard to protect the people and planet that I love, gaining ground, losing ground, winning, failing. But as Thom Hartmann said, not engaging is not an option, somehow. I believe politics begins with love, not anger or hate; loving something or someone enough to stand up for it. Not everyone agrees with my priorities, which is what makes the struggle so long and so difficult. And I insist that I live my values even as I stand up. Politics is also an act of faith. It's a moral stand, whether you win or lose, it furnishes our souls. So here we are, in this complex world. Some ways that I have learned to do what Thom suggests of, "Democracy begins with you. Get out there. Get active. Tag, you're it!" I write letters to the editor, I write for causes I believe in. I add my body to demonstrations; not my favorite thing to do, but I found that every time I actually stand on the street for what I stand for, my sense of integrity and dignity is fed and I learn. I give money mostly to grassroots groups. I testify at my city and county council. I engage with people who don't agree with me with great curiosity about how they arrive at stands I so disagree with, I help organize events. I splat social media with my opinions and opportunities for others to engage. I use whatever social and reputational power I have to move people with my words, and to whatever degree in my example. So in fact, I thought I wasn't a political animal. But of course, I am. Not that I love it. I don't. But it's a duty of citizenship and it's part of my lifelong quest to understand who I am and what this world is and why I am here and how do I leave this campground better than I found it, win or lose? So how are you a political animal? How do you engage? What are you learning? Where are you scared? Where are you resolute? Take a look. Ask yourself, how am I a political animal? That's enough for now.