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What Progressive Need to Do Next: Become Teachers and Storytellers

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The people who buy into this story don't know any other way to think about things. That's why Progressives need to work on our presentation. We need to tell our stories in ways that attract people, that make them feel safe, that give them hope. These people do not want to hear that everyone and everything they've believed in has betrayed them. We know they need to hear it, but they don't know what to do about it (remember how you felt on first learning about what was really going on) and so they go into denial and go overboard in the opposite direction. And the right wing media snags their loyalty with their old story.

While progressives have wonderful stories to tell about the potential of our future, for the most part people only see that we are ripping down the old America that they love as we point out the greed, corruption and deceit of the people and corporations in power. We need to learn how to have conversations once again and tell our stories. If we bring up our most intense indignation about "the other side' and throw it in their faces, we stop conversation, as Jon Stewart said to Rachel Maddow the other night.

We need to tell stories that reinforce our understanding of the form of government that was meant to protect our rights. As a matter of fact, we need to tell the story of our birth again our creation story - not the historical facts of the Revolution, but the depth of thought, feeling and action of our founders and how they would see our situation, and most important, what they would do about it. We need to bring our birth story up to date.

Like the thread of meaning in a fairy tale, we need to build stories that begin with the problem and work out the solution by the end of the tale. The archetypal stories contain the structure for imparting the information we need to deal with what's happening to us. When peoples' minds are in chaos, an image or a story can give structure and stability to their thoughts. And that frees people from fear, so they can think clearly and make conscious choices.

Progressives need to provide the stories if we want to see conscious change in the world. For a while we've had to tell the stories of old betrayals, new technologies and possible futures to ourselves, so that new vision, the New Story, would take hold in us. We've been nurturing the vision but now it's time to start telling it to the rest of our people. We are all in this together for good or ill, and so they are "our people' especially the tea partyers J . We have to share our vision of the future with them because change is coming, regardless. We need them to share our vision because it will take all of us to do it. We can't continue to have these partisan battles. We need to work together, because it doesn't sound like we have a lot of extra time to spare.

We're like Dorothy's friends in OZ we have to realize we have a brain, a heart and the nerve to kill the wicked witch of fear, greed and anger. And the best way is through stories. And the best place to do it is in our own communities. Our tribes and friends already share the Story, but our village, town or community needs to hear it.

Stories speak to the child within us, the part of us who wants to believe. Humans need to feel hope, to have something to be faithful to; a purpose that calls us past our own fears, greed and anger to a place of peace, love and happiness. We all want this!

But we have to understand where most people's heads are at. There's too much information out there; it's all too confusing to people because there's no unified story about what we're going through except hints of a cosmic change (2012), aliens takeovers and the other Hollywood renditions of death and destruction of super human proportions coming to us. Then in our everyday reality, people are going through desperate times, and often they are lost in fear because they are alone and vulnerable.

Often their community is their house of worship, and in desperate times, religions revert back to old stories. However it happens, they run into fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of pain. And so the Old pulls fearful people back to an imagined safety that is controlled by the "fathers'. Or at least that's who wants to retain power (the father's daughters collude with the fathers for power as well). This is patriarchy not wanting to gracefully leave the stage, even if it means the destruction of the whole world. Sounds like the Anti-Christ to me!

And that's another one of the old stories people are living in the End Times! Scary stuff!

The truth is, we are living in liminal times, times of transition and change. In quantum physics, the cyclical flow of energy as a continual process goes from stability to chaos to a new emergence and change. In personal development, people must learn to assimilate new ideas and adapt to changing circumstances, but if they don't know how and don't feel safe, they will retreat back to old ways, even if those ways are uncomfortable and restrictive. People today feel they are at the edge of chaos and unless we can provide them with stories of how to come through it to a new vision, they will retreat, as they did this past election.

So, here's my idea:

1. We need to create archetypal story templates to share with each other and use when we want to make a point about whatever issue is up for us.

2. Then we each need to go out into our communities and tell the new story. That means town council meetings, letters to the editor, talks at the local library, "town hall' meetings about issues. We can engage in a conversation about the future without having politicians referee us. Collaborate with artists and go to your local Arts' Council and create an event for the 4th of July centered on a local issue unemployment; poisoned air, water, food; the war. Create change by changing people's minds.

3. To create these story templates, we need to work together in master groups with at least an historian, a reporter/fact gatherer and a storyteller who understands archetypal storytelling. We might be able to gather the groups here at OpEd. I'm sure Rob has something on the site where we could post our needs and the results. But that depends on if anyone is interested in doing this.

Thom Hartmann is doing an Internet show on RealTV. He very effectively quotes Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers who warn us of corporate misuse of power, as well as acquainting us with the seminal thoughts that are the foundation of our constitution. We can use examples of these historical figures with our story so we can layer the issues we face today not only with the ideology of the American Revolution but with some of the ancient archetypal stories which will activate and open hearts to hear the message. (For example, find a fairy tale about a miller who's out of work use that template for creating a story about unemployment.)

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