From 1998 until 2012 I taught high school English in highly conservative Washington County. In addition to teaching I learned. I discovered that Republican is not a synonym for racist. I learned that we do not own social justice. I discovered that we all want the best for ourselves, for our families, and for our communities. How was it possible for us both to be good people while agreeing on almost nothing. It all comes down to our definitions. We all agree on the definition of self; we have some differences on the meaning of family; we completely differ in our definition of community. For some, community extends only as far their city limits, for others, it extends only as far as their block and for yet others, their community ends at their front door. For those of us who identify as Liberal, our sense of community extends to all who live and breathe.
Short of spending a decade working in a conservative community, how do we discover our similarities, our shared humanity? More important, how do we all become part of the same community? We must build bridges and that begins with talking and listening. Grassroots North Shore has two upcoming events that address that precise need. On Wednesday, Jan 31, we are hosting WAVE for How to Talk About Guns and Protection. The talk will be at our office, 5600 W. Brown Deer Rd. #116, from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. The second event is broader, focusing on knocking on doors and building relationships based on shared values and we need to do this before we start asking people to vote for specific candidates. To that end, please join us on Feb. 24, in our Bridge Building initiative. You can read more about it and sign up to participate on our website.