The Vision Thing…Part One

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

You can’t get where you want to go ….unless you know where you want to go. Everyone knows now that there must be change, and again we can thank the Conservative Movement and its monumental failure under Bush for driving that point home in unequivocal, unmistakable, undeniable real world terms.

So where do we want to go?

It takes a vision, to paraphrase Hillary. And to achieve effective and implementable change, it takes a vision that is broad enough to become a shared vision. But among the many things the Republicans have destroyed is the ability to even describe a vision, without some FoxNews type smearing of any and all Progressive visions. Thus Obama has not been able to fully articulate where HE wants us to go, what his vision is….and still be electable. Thus until after the inauguration we will not know where he wants to take us. We will not know where we agree and disagree. Until then, our task is to attempt to articulate our vision, and to try to be as clear as we can in this muddied and still fearful political environment. As Obama then articulates his, we will know where to support, where we need to try to bend it to ours, and where we need to oppose.

Over the last decade of renewed Culture War, one of the successes of the Conservatives has been (as I mention above) the smearing of the very word Liberal, let alone a true Liberal/Progressive vision of the world. Our attempts at vision have been labeled “soft on…’ and ‘unrealistic.’ Now however, their ‘hard’ vision of using force to solve every problem has led us here, to their version/vision of ‘reality.’ Which as even they (the non-delusional parts of they, at least) must admit, just plain does not work, AND has some truly morally reprehensible and downright vicious (torture) aspects. They have set the narrative, and their one true achievement has been to discredit our narrative. Heck, they don’t even really believe in having a vision, in their world, Real Men (Real Americans) Don’t Think. They have smeared even the concept of vision and imposed their ersatz philosophies instead, all centering around on central premise…I’ve Got Mine. That is what passes for their vision, what they have attempted to destroy our vision for. Even though ours….works.

Articulating a vision, even just to rephrase it and reframe an existing one, is hard, thoughtful work. (In a way it is even anti-blogging, since blogging is largely reactive!) But as we countdown to the election and all of our nerves are on edge from that, and from reacting to the mess the Conservatives have made, this seems like a good time to have something to concentrate on, somewhere to put all that nervous energy! I invite you to use it constructively, to think about the far future, not just the immediate future. I ask you to try to articulate YOUR vision.

Utopian, platonic visions are welcome, of course, but it is a bit more meaningful to TRY for a reality-based vision, a pragmatic one….in other words, a vision of not just where we want to go, but how we get there from here. I’ll be working on formulating and presenting mine over the next few days, part two, tomorrow will be a start. But as I say, it must be a shared vision if it is to work, so please share yours!

Comments are great, essays are better! Let’s see what we can come up with. Yes, I know it is hard, because I am trying to do it and , well, it is hard!

One way we can approach it is to start with the basics: Freedom, Justice, Equality.

And expand from there. But then we have to define Justice, and parse Equality, and the lists of specific things that we want Freedom from, or the Freedom of…starts to get very, very long. But heck, we have got a week of fingernail biting to fill, so go for it if that is where your process takes you!

Alternately we can try to describe the world we want to live in. Which IS a bit Utopian, but also useful, also part of the process. A world where, for example, where everyone has all they need, and lives in peace with their neighbors and harmony with the earth. I like that! But then we start to get in trouble with the specifics again. What separates what people need from what they want? Does haha, living in peace mean I can’t play Rage Against the Machine at midnight with my stereo turned up to 11? It violates my peace when you restrict me like that! Where, as another example, is the balance between living in harmony with the earth and harvesting it’s resources?

The devil truly is in the details, because that is where, when we move out of broad generalities and get into specifics, the conflict of definition begins. That is where we have to communicate and compromise and come to a decision. That is where vision ends and politics begins. That is where Utopias fall apart. As we have seen over the past eight years, the politics of fear still has the power to pull even reasonable people into its sticky web. To sidetrack entire populations off of the road to the future and on to the siding of the worst parts of human nature.

And here we are, and we DO have to get from here to there, and that road is filled with all of the potholes and obstacles of human nature, fear, greed, intolerance, xenophobia and just plain anger and fear based hate.

To get off of that sidetrack and back on the road we need a map. A new map, a new vision. Drawing that new map is the opportunity….the responsibility, that e have been given in this new time. The world and ALL of its People face a whole slew of challenges at this very moment, and we face them bereft of a vision, with no clear way forward. Let us take this time to try to find that way, and perhaps even show others where WE want to go, in the hope that they will join us on the journey.

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  1. Photobucket

    Now it is time to build!

    Photobucket

    • RiaD on October 29, 2008 at 7:09 pm

  2. My mind goes down two tracks.

    First of all, there’s the “policy” track. With things like:

    – get out of Iraq

    – health care reform

    – green job economic development

    – etc.

    That doesn’t get to much of a vision – but are all things that need to be done – and quickly.

    Then I think about what I might call a “motivational” track. I envision a world where people think communally and globally rather than just individually. Its hard to back into pragmatics on how to get something like that done though.

    Just a few of my initial ramblings.

    • Edger on October 29, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    and expand outwards to the general from there?

    I don’t want very much, but I’d kind of like to see countries all over the world, including the US, cooperating with each other to produce a liveable world without attacking others and stealing their resources, but instead building a working global economy with fair trade in which they buy what they need by producing what the countries they want things from need for their own societies.

    I’d also like to see funding shifted from military buildups to things like health care systems so that everyone everywhere is able to get medical services without saddling themselves with enormous debt or bankruptcy.

    I’d like to be able to make enough money to be able to live reasonably comfortably as I grow old and pay my bills by being useful to others without having to sell my soul and principles supporting some corporation that is interested only in profit at any cost regardless of who it hurts or kills and how much it poisons the world.

    It’s not much, but It Don’t Come Easy, I guess.

  3. … unless you adopt a different perspective.

    Reading Winter Rabbit’s essays has made me think more and more about “sacred space,” about reconnecting with the planet and the need in human beings for a spiritual richness in our lives.

    Religion has become so debased that it would take a lot of work to de-program ourselves into a more nurturing and expansive spirituality.

    I agree with NL about going global, and I also think respecting endangered cultures and learning from them how to once again care for our planet in a way which benefits us spiritually … well that is an ideal but it’s my vision.  It includes a casting off of old prejudices and narrow ways of thinking (which are not just the realm of neocons – look at all the Blue Dogs and their constituents) and an embracing of diversity and difference globally.

  4. What else would you like?

    I kinda’ always thought the Ten Commandments had a lot of merit to them!

    ~~~~~

    Well, here is something, I believe, that is good — a must be step in the right direction!  A new movement, lotsa’ young people — Generation We!

    If you agree, go to Petitions and read the Petition and sign!

  5. …democratic socialism.  Other countries have walked that path; we can see both the advantages and pitfalls, but the general idea of a pragmatically managed common wealth, with a sense of quality of life, is clearly a workable vision for countries and individuals.

    It brings with it concepts of education and social responsibility — which, while they can be interpreted in self serving and narcissistic ways — tend to value individuals and the social good beyond national interest.  

    • Edger on October 29, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    for all cats everywhere.

    They do enough work to deserve it just by being themselves.

    Maybe there is a lesson in that?

    • Edger on October 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

  6. Orders understood.

  7. my Vision For America.

    If it’s too much work for other readers to do the same, they could just agree with mine and we can start building a Consensus For America!

    • Robyn on October 29, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    …of one day having the time to relax and spend all my time doing what I want to do…the things I promised myself I would like to do if I could only find the time…rather than what other people need me to do.

    I think that’s called retirement.  Unfortunately it seems to be retreating as I get closer to it.  

  8. is the essential thing. The Bill of Rights was a vision a vision that was hammered out by divergent elements, and it is a timeless universal one. If we could even get to the point where it was considered more important for our country then cooked up moral ‘values’ and supremacy. If we could apply it to how we treat the rest of the world it would be a start. As a country we have always had a dualistic battle going on in our nature.

    The last decades have taken the worst of the materialistic/individualistic side and combined it with the worst of our ideological/religious side. We seem to have abandoned the best in our character. I hope that somehow as a people we can build on the enlightened side expressed so long ago in our original documents. They were a leap of governmental evolution. Maybe we should resurrect the spirit of these amazing historical concepts put into play by our white male founders, only allow them this time around to evolve into the possibilities that they contain. The concept that all are created equal. The blueprint for real freedom, humanist and liberating. A more perfect union.      

  9. once again (O.K., just kiddin’)  Yes, I did change it once today, at Buhdy’s suggestion and, believe me, I hopped to it — I mean, afterall, “da boss” (LOL!)

    But now that I think about it, I’m going to include the “Gneration We” link in my sign. line, as well.  So, take that, Buhdy!  (<;)

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