Common Cause: The greater efficiency of inefficiencyIt's a helluva way to run a meeting. More than 2 dozen people who mostly have never seen each other before, with no agenda but a list of talking points, and nobody chairing. What could we possibly get done at a Common Cause "Meetup" in a New York City diner, like we had last night at the Starlight Diner on West 34th St.?
I loved it. It's not what we got done, but what we got started. We were all drawn because we care about some issues, specifically the campaign by the media giants to seize a monopoly of all the available TV, radio and printed press. (They haven't figured out how to monopolize the Internet yet, but watch out!) And we feel angry and eager to do something about our exclusion from decisions like these that affect our lives. And not just about the media. We marched in the hundreds of thousands against the war, and before that we voted in an election where our majority went completely unheeded. We're trying to recover our American democracy, and democracy is people, us. E-mails were our medium, and now -- after months of firing off e-petitions and letters to our Congressmen from our home or work computers -- we had a chance to see what some of the others looked like and actually to hear our voices.
The real "getting things done" work -- drafting petitions, choosing targets, organizing rallies -- will get done, by as many of us as are willing to participate, when we get back to our computers and phones. Meeting some of our comrades is a way of renewing the strength to go back and do that. The "meetup" reminds us of who we're fighting for -- all of us, and those to come.