You'll know if you read the blog regularly that last week I had a close call on my bike with a New York State Senator who drove his car too close to me (read here). We had an altercation, but the good news is that we will have a meeting next week to discuss New York City transportation and traffic policy (read here).
What worried me a little was that when I called the Senator's office the other day, his receptionist, Linette, was worn out. Why? Because a lot of people who had called the Senator's office to support me had been mean to her.
I mean, it's a amazing that so many people called and participated in our democracy (apparently, people even called from Germany). But it still troubles me because poor Linette wasn't the person who makes policy. She wasn't the person callers should have been angry at.
I get that it's natural to me mad. I said that, even, about the senator.
But do their have to be casualties to our social action or not? Should we take the higher road or is the higher road less effective? Or is it more effective?
Because can you fight anger with anger? Can you fight violence with violence? Can you fight unkindness with unkindness? If you do so, haven't you already lost the battle?
Is Linette going to be on our side in future, or is she going to think that people who care about biking and traffic and sustainability are just plain mean?
What kind of a world do we want to manifest?
When I used to get mad at the politicians, Michelle, my wife, would say: "You're building missiles in your head." If I want a kinder world, I may have to start by learning to be a kinder person. If we're going to deal with this planetary emergency, might need to talk and listen, not fight?
[I've changed this post after some reconsideration to the new ending that follows]
These, anyway, are my predilections. Am I wrong? I've had an email about this post already saying that what is really needed is for me to get comfortable with anger and the power it has to make change. Is that right? What do you think?
How, in other words, are we most effective?
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.