On the Road to D.C.

These are turbulent times, and I’m compelled to do something. Tossed about by a fast-changing world our institutions seem ill-equipped to handle, it’s up to us to right ourselves, and to find some common ground on which we all can land.

In that spirit, and in collaboration with a diverse consortium of non-profit organizations I work with, my son and I are taking a California to D.C. road trip to engage folks in a dialogue about what divides us, what unites us, and how we can move forward, together.

Along the way we’ll test and refine a small group conversation format we hope will contribute to a new, unifying vision for our country: One that “pops the bubbles” of separation to reveal a new foundation for connection and community.

The first half of our trip will culminate in attending the inauguration of Donald Trump on the 20th, and joining the Women’s March on Washington on the 21st. The return trip is as yet unplanned and open to your input.

We leave January 7th and will blog and tweet and live stream as we go. More information to follow in the days ahead, but in the meantime I hope you’ll help spread the word of our journey.

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One Week After

It’s been one week since Donald Trump became President-Elect Trump. During that time I’ve read thousands of words trying to explain what for many remains a disturbing and unexpected outcome.

Most point to the uprising of “the working class”—a segment of the population that’s long felt disenfranchised, looked down upon and ultimately ignored by their government and their fellow citizens. In Trump they finally found their voice, their champion, their hero. He not only addressed their grievances, he gave them targets toward which to direct their frustration, hurt and anger. And they in turn provided the passion, commitment and momentum to propel him to the White House—defeating a weak and unpopular “establishment” candidate unable to motivate her base with equivalent energy and force.

While this explanation is helpful, it’s also inadequate. One does not understand an earthquake simply by comparing the buildings that fell with those that still stand. You have to go deep into the underlying dynamics of the ground on which those buildings rest.

When it comes to understanding the Trump phenomenon, we’ve yet to go that deep. We’ve not thoroughly examined the true nature of the ground on which our nation rests, and what makes it now shake.

About nine years ago someone filmed me making a short presentation that gets to this point:

As the video points out, our current thinking is trapped inside a culture bubble, one in which meaning and purpose is pursued through the acquisition of material wealth. Rather than a means to an end, it’s become an end in itself, poisoning our own waters with gross inequality and the over-accumulation of power and privilege—a distorting and destructive outcome that undermines our democracy, as we have seen.

To break through this culture bubble, we need a new conversation that takes place at the bottom levels of the pyramid…so we can rebuild, together, the kind of culture, the kind of nation, the kind of world we really want.

Some questions that can help get us started:

  • What is the true nature of the world in which we live?
  • What truly does give our lives purpose and meaning?
  • What do we really want—for ourselves, for others, for our nation, for the world?

I know that I want to have my basic needs met, to live in a supportive community, to have healthy relationships, to live a life of meaning and service, and to help build a world that works for everyone.

What do you really want?