April 25, 2011: Good News—Maybe

“Where’s the outrage?” Denise Provost, a Somerville state representative to the House wondered aloud recently. Good question.

Brilliant, a progressive, an environmentalist—she was cosponsoring a local showing of “Gasland” when she’d said this—and hip to both Somerville’s and Massachusetts’ political minefields, Denise doesn’t need masses of angry people outside her office demanding she vote for or against some issue. She can figure it out for herself—especially since she’s the kind of pol who actually reads documents! Still, like any elected official, she needs both one-to-one interactions and masses of people letting her know we’re mad as hell about X and aren’t going to take it any more.

Which brings me to an ironic statement I made last week to someone I just met. Nancy. She, too, was wondering about the lack of outrage—specifically about America’s 3 wars.

“Oh,” I told her blithely. “Things are really beginning to heat up.”

“Really?” she asked. I could tell she wanted to believe me.  (I’d been introduced as a Quaker so she might have assumed I had the inside track.)

“Well,” I immediately backpedaled. “I live in this lovely little Somerville-Cambridge bubble. So among the people I know, things are heating up.” (There had been a fascinating online conversation the day before re the Somerville peace movement and the Somerville Climate Action people working more closely; “it’s all interconnected.”)

“Yup,” I continued. I’ve received four e-mails on this just yesterday!” And grinned.

So I guess I want to make 2 observations:

1. Those of us spending lots of time and energy e-mailing about issues among ourselves need to remember to go massively public, too. We need to break our bubbles.

2. Having stood on Boston Common for two hours on Good Friday—with 90 other Quakers—to silently witness for peace, I will report that overwhelmingly, the response around us was warm, receptive, supportive. Only one F-bomb? Pretty good, I’d say.

Good news.

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