Connecting July 4th and TBD
There are a lot of problems in the world. Our tradition teaches, “you are not required to finish the work but neither are you free to desist from it." But there is so much wrong in the world how do I know where to start?
I believe the founding fathers and the 4th of July may hold the answer. The founding fathers did not start with war, it started with an agitation. It was not at first about anything as grand as liberty, or independence. It started with a simple agitation over taxes. It started with the idea that there should be no taxation without representation. Eventually this would lead to the Boston Tea Party which would then lead to a war for independence. But it all started with a simple, yet, meaningful agitation.
An agitation is different then an irritation. A mosquito can either irritate or agitate. A mosquito that irritates is one where we are annoyed but not driven to action. A mosquito that agitates causes us to get up and go get a bug zapper.
The first step to knowing where to begin with social action is to recognize what is agitating us in the world. The second step is to attach a story to that agitation. An agitation without a personal story does not have as much energy as one that does. The colonists were not just about power for the sake of power, but had countless stories about being powerless against the British Empire. The final step is to find like minded people. Ecclesiaties teaches us, “though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not quickly broken." Had “no taxation without representation” been a cause that only spoke to a few then there would have been no Boston Tea party. As my 8th grade history teacher taught me, “individuals do not make history, people do."
So how do we find these like minded people today? How do we organize? This is where Temple Beth David comes in. Currently our Social Action chairs Liz Markman and Sue Cohen are working on a listening campaign to find out what are the issues and causes that resonate with you the most? What is it that keeps you up? What weighs on your mind? And why? Do you have a story that connects you to this issue? It can be anything from immigration, to reproductive rights, to education, to hunger, to poverty, to anything that is important to you. Many peoples core issue are going to be different. What we are trying to do right now is get peoples stories so we can organize and connect people on issues that are important to them.
If you have a story and are willing to share, please reach out. Let us know what bothers you. We can talk over coffee or e-mail. The important thing is to share. Reach out, let us know. Remember, “you are not obligated to finish the work but neither are you free to desist from it”. The revolutionary war did not begin with war for independence, it began with agitation over tax law and a story.