Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Building Bridges

This was tough for me to write about because, being so new to advocacy and activism and ally...ness... I feel like the bridge-building I do is insignificant compared to that which I need to learn how to do. But here goes.

Three ways in which I think I'm a bridge-builder:

  1. I strive for empathy. I analyze my feelings to help shed light on the behavior of those who disagree with me. I'm a scared, vicious monkey just like those people on the other side of the fence. Were circumstances different, I could have been them, and they could have been me. To pretend that they are incomprehensible serves no purpose aside from stroking my own ego. There is no other. The other is me.

  2. I strive for rational discourse. I have a long way to go before I can claim that my anger never gets the better of me, but over the last fifteen years I've worked to make my relationships more functional while divesting myself of anger, and I'll continue to do so. I do not argue to score points. If there's a talking point for my side that I think is irrelevant, fatuous, or just plain wrong, I'll say that, even if it means sacrificing that point. It's not about scoring points, or being right, or winning the argument. It's about dialectic.

  3. I am working toward outreach. This scares the living shit out of me because I'm still not good at conflict and confrontation. I've barely made a dent in stage one: preaching to the choir. But with every bit of energy I expend on this stage, I remain focused on stages two and three: virtual outreach, and then bona fide community outreach like the Triangle Speakers do. I must stay focused on this end goal, because preaching to the choir for its own sake is nothing but masturbation.

My nomination for Bridge Builder:

Jude (GeekGirl) of JaySays.com

Jude's writing is compassionate and crystal-clear: kindness without glurge, firmness without hostility. I love the line she walks.

I wish I had more than one, but it's taken so much of my time just trying to get this blog off the ground that I haven't been able to follow all the wonderful blogs I've discovered. I don't think it would be fair to give any more nominations.


  1. I know I may be biased, but I think you made a great choice. I had the pleasure of Jude's company this weekend and she truly is a bridge builder.

    I think you are too and your post is filled with lessons we should all consider.

  2. Hugh, this was just right. I know how you labored over this and that makes it all that much more authentic! Thank you again for caring enough to put yourself out there and be a bridge builder. I think it is more of a journey than a destination... so we can all be "becoming" better bridge builders each day!
    I agree with your nomination of Jude. :) Excellent!
    And please, take as much time as you like for nominations... there is no time constraint and truthfully, no limit on nominations-- considering I want to encourage as many connections between bridge builders as possible!
    Thank you Hugh!

  3. And I fourth...eth.... that motion! Hooray for Jude!