Sometime last week, Thom encouraged us to take more time getting to know our neighbors, and to get more involved in our communities. I'm very much in agreement with Thom's statements in this regard.
All that one really has to do is appreciate people, and take the time to exchange a polite greeting. In time, these polite greetings grow into polite discussions. If we've initiated matters from a position of "friendly neighbor," it makes it so much easier to discuss the political facts of the day even with those who profess being Republicans.
It is simply in taking the time to walk around the neighborhood and greeting all whom we encounter that we can begin establishing such relationships and dialog. It's great when you get to know the parents of the children your daughter rides the school bus with. It's fun when someone from a couple of blocks away will take the time to stop you and say "hi."
At times, we all go into our own minds (you know, the place where the darkness lives), and fail to see others around us. To be effective in such a "program of interaction," one needs to make a conscious effort to go into their own hearts as a means of seeing the hearts of others.
(I won't go into the psychological, societal or spiritual destruction wrought by our i-pods and other "personal devises." Suffice is to say that to combat such isolation of the mind requires that we go outside of ours.)
I firmly believe that the fundamental levels of society and democracy are the neighborhoods and precincts in which we live. To reach out to our neighbors for blocks around is but one means of establishing discussion, understanding, and bonds of humanity within our communities.
Through such interactions within the neighborhoods, we can begin sharing the information that Thom and others so freely share with us. We can hook people directly to the information, while encouraging them to also freely share and discuss with others.
Yes, it is a slow process ? almost evolutionary in nature. I firmly believe, however, that it is one of the fundamental aspects to moving our society towards a truly bottom-up democracy, and away from the present top-down, multi-national corporate formof governance. The former is based upon the common good. The latter is based upon greed.