Did you ever have one of those moments when you were having a discussion with people you knew, loved, and respected, and one of them said something that made your jaw drop, or, in the case of our friend Julie, something that left you standing there with a clicking noise in your head? Have you ever found yourself wondering “How did this person come to think this particular way, especially when I see things SO differently?”
That clicking sound, or the jaw dropping, also represents a moment in many cases where we STOP really listening to each other. We dismiss the other person as being misguided, wrong, out of touch… different. Back in 2008, Julie, realizing that across the country people were having those jaw-dropping moments way too much, and feeling like too many people were dismissing each other rather than truly stopping, picking up our jaws, and listening even more deeply, decided to travel across the country in the lead up to the presidential election to really listen, and share, what was going on in people’s lives that influenced how they felt and how they might vote.
Remember that at the time, our country was in the biggest financial mess since the Great Depression and we had been at war since 2001.
There was a lot to be upset about, worried about, and the differences between the two major party candidates were very clear. There was certainly a lot to talk about as one traveled across the country asking people to share what was going on in their lives that might influence for whom they would vote. The chronicles of her first journey in 2008 can be found here.
She also traveled the country in 2012 and you can meet the people she connected with here.
Quick note about these trips… Regardless of which candidate or party a person, couple, or groups of people were going to vote for, Julie found one constant everywhere she went: hospitality. She was invited into people’s homes, gifted with lovely meals, helped when her transportation broke down, and found an openness to share the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of people’s lives wherever she went. She also found anger, frustration, abuse of power, fear, and despair. That’s America. A lot is wonderful and a lot is broken. And here we go again, blaming one person or another for what’s broken and pinning our hopes on one person or another to fix some of it.
Now, Julie is about to head off across the country again, and while some might say that they don’t see any difference between the two major party candidates (really?????), I’d have to say that beyond that comment, in 2016 I’m finding myself with my jaw dropping more than ever, and asking myself more than ever “What the heck are these people thinking?” “What’s going on in their lives and in their communities that’s driving them to vote for one candidate or the other, OR, to NOT vote at all?”
So, it is with gratitude and a bit of trepidation that I watch Julie head off across America to deeply listen to, and share the stories of, people she meets in the cafes, parking lots, downtowns, diners, truck stops, and department stores. I’ll share some of her posts here on Tikkun Daily, but also hope you will bookmark her web site and visit there every day as she posts videos and writes about her journey across America. And, once one candidate or the other wins, we can read, watch, and listen to the REAL needs across our country and work TOGETHER to do something about making America better because ONE candidate, one person, one president can’t make the good better or the fix the problems without us, we the people, taking charge.
Click here to visit Julie’s web site and join her on her journey.