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August 24, 2010


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Janet O'Connell

you can't have solidarity and diversity simultaneously!
We are all going in different directions at different paces and many people are struggling for survival.

Your idea of solidarity isn't realistic unless you appoint yourself the leader of a movement and enlist and empower those who are interested to follow. What are you leading us to in your strong solidarity strut Adam? Are you sure you are not an idealistic romantic at heart?


Janet, I certainly am a HOPEFUL romantic, not just at heart, but through and through, unabashedly! And with that in mind, I thoroughly and respectfully disagree with you: solidarity is not dependent on uniformity, which is the death of diversity. Instead, when led in conscientious ways, solidarity embraces difference and provides meaningful routes for the acknowledgment, expression, and sustainability of diversity.

Solidarity is realistic in many ways, whether we see it or not. Marketers realized this a long time ago: brand loyalty is an unconscious commitment to solidarity that many consumers make regularly. The military relies on solidarity of purpose in order to assure fidelity in the ranks. The strongest and longest marriages are exercises in solidarity. And whether we see them as such is irrelevant, because they're at work every day. Check out Seth Godin's book, "Tribes: We need you to lead us," for more about this.

And really Janet, there are a lot of movements underway right now. My "strong solidarity strut" is one that calls for unity, honesty, and commitment, each of which I work for with all my relations, in my professional work and in my personal life, unabashedly! And while that can seem like a lofty goal, every day lives are changing because of it. I have been standing in solidarity with young people and their adult allies- including parents, teachers, youth workers, and others- for more than 20 years. We're heading towards a more just, sustainable, and nonviolent world, together.

Brazilian educator Paulo Freire once said that, "We must work to make possible what seems impossible. We have to fight for making possible what is not yet possible. This is part of the historic task of redesigning and rebuilding the world." I am committed to that task.


I think volunteering is good.

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I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my father so hopefully this will get him to see my point of view. Fingers crossed!

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