Here’s a detail from a local wooden phone-pole, which interested me for a few different reasons. For one thing, it’s still bearing it’s load, cracked as it is, despite the fact that the work crews were replacing the far newer concrete poles up and down the street with – drumroll please – wooden poles again.

“They hold up way better under the cold.” Said a very friendly man in a bright orange jumpsuit. Makes sense, trees do have to get through winters, after all.

But what else do they do better? More than a clue here – and the patina on some of these venerable staples shows just how long one pole can do duty to summon and inform the locals.

I’ll grant you – postering isn’t a common approach to political address anymore – but the idea of bringing a whole bunch of people together around something important is one that we need to be thinking about, in all sorts of ways.

I want to directly and sincerely apologize if my posts sometimes seem politically upsetting – but my reasoning is in no way sloppy.  I don’t do it to be dramatic.  I’m actually aiming at realistic hope.

A huge proportion of the nicest people I know, feel an overwhelming sense of dread and depression when they think about the future.  The shame of helplessness and the guilt of complicity.  I think one reason that this dread often feels almost inescapable, is that we’ve forgotten the oldest social-change trick there is – the popular front.

This is when organizing is not done group by group, on just one issue at a time, but when many different groups come together, because they realize that fundamental things which they all hold-dear in common are being threatened by forces which must be confronted. When unity is clearly placed ahead of division

It is not – and this is important – easy. We are really out of practise when it comes to cooperating with people who have ideas we don’t share. We’ve been spoiled for ages, with comparatively easy passive rich democracies.

The thing is, no matter how they sell it, politics isn’t like sports-teams and what band do you like best (this week). People’s lives change a lot when it goes especially well or badly, it really matters.

If we keep playing the game of sport-disagreement, enjoying how much better we are than other people outside our ‘team’ then yes, it looks hopeless.

But if we cooperate, there really is still a great deal of realistic hope to be had.
And there is, my friends, no one but us to figure out how do this.

On the other hand – it really beats the heck out of not having anything useful to do, right?

In case you wonder why I keep trying to explain my leftie and Christian friends to one another – and commend their mutual virtues?  Common cause – just that simple, fortunate (and, let’s face-it, morally irresistable)  ;o)

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