Editor’s note: This piece was written after an abundance of frustration at what appears to be a complete lack of understanding about our political process, something that perhaps watching the conventions might change. But in the meantime, if you don’t have patience for this magnum opus (tee hee) that’s born of personal experience in the political realm, then here’s a snarky short version for the attention-deficit crowd.
At the height of America’s most bizarre presidential election campaign in decades, a careening spectacle largely due to the nutcase ramblings of an epic uber-narcissist, a contemporary, real-world He Who Can’t Be Named, I’ve come to realize just how little the American people understand about politics in its nuts and bolts.
Though He Who Can’t Be Named is to be blamed for exploiting this lack of understanding, it existed before his ticky-tacky carnival bark entrance into the presidential contest.
But another culpable group is the Bernie-or-Bust crowd, a name which on the face of it suggests isolationist and demagogic tendencies rather than a true interest in what, it turns out, are the very boring machinations of politics.
And I should know because I love Bernie (though I voted for Hillary), and I’m married to a politician.
In fact, in the seven years since my hubby, Erik Curren, Transition Voice Publisher and CEO of Curren Media Group, first threw his hat into the ring for office, I’ve amassed what amounts to an honorary PhD-level education into the inner workings of politics. Without that experience, it’s obvious to me that I’d maintain some of the misconceptions, lack of information, and even delusions that I too once had about politics.
That’s why, in this season of political chaos, when we can’t rely on the national media to be a meaningful Fourth Estate that provides an anchoring wing of civic leadership, but only its own brand of hype, bombast, horse-race opportunism, and click bait, driven by capitulation to capitalism rather than national interest, I thought I’d at least try to share some perspective on politics that I’ve learned. I’m hoping that it might help someone out there to grasp a fuller picture of what it really means to participate in a democracy, get what you want, and back leaders worthy of the name.
You can’t always get what you want
But first, let me say that I have good reason to be bitter over politics.
Since I was first able in 1984 to vote in federal elections, I’ve held one issue above all as dear to my heart — our care of our common environment. I express this variously as a concern for our shared earthly residents in plants, animals and other species, intelligent management of natural resources, climate change, clean water, ramping up clean energy, human habitability, impacts on women, children, the poor and people of color, and the opportunities and innovation inherent in any shift to a more holistic relationship between resource preservation, resource use, and resource impact.
But few major candidates have given a flying fudgesicle about my issue across the 32 years of my voting career in any way that either percolated above the other issues or reached the numbers necessary for a sea change. The closest we came was Democrat Al Gore’s candidacy in 2000.
Yet he was pilloried in the press every day for being “wooden” rather than being taken seriously for his ideas.
More than that, the myth that working with nature, rather than treating the Earth rapaciously, stands so deeply in contrast to the dominant Endless Growth Paradigm, that Gore’s message faced the typical greed-driven takedowns of analysts and other interested persons who elevate — and isolate — “the economy” into a religious totem that must be worshipped, fed, and bowed-down to without regard to the larger human and ecosystem context in which said economy exists.
In the end that year, between the hanging chads and electoral college numbers of that election, I too felt the system was “rigged,” and settled in for a good whipping of my dear issue for the next eight years under the Earth-loathing Bush-Cheney administration.
And yet, I’m not bitter.
I have had periods of outsized disappointment, and admitted moments of deep cynicism, anger, grief, and near total loss of faith in any element of the “system.” But I haven’t remained that way. And the real reason for my change wasn’t a turning away from politics, but a greater involvement in it.
Now, an immature and inexperienced person, say, my younger self, might view an admission of accepting the system of politics as having “sold out.” You know, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” But such a view, while passionate, is sadly misinformed. More politics didn’t make me join in with anyone or anything that I truly couldn’t stomach. But it did make me learn about the pace of change, the role of other people, the context and interplay of organizations, officials, and “the system,” what participation in a democracy really entails, and how to get things done.
Let me give you a little more backstory, and then I’ll get to those five points.
When beloved Virginia Senator Tim Kaine accepted Hillary Clinton’s invitation to join her ticket, he talked about his own political trajectory, saying that everything he learned about politics and leadership he learned as a Richmond, Virginia City Councilman, which was his first role in elected office. It’s also Erik’s first elected office, albeit in the small city where we live, Staunton, Virginia.
What Kaine said resonated with me as I’ve seen what Erik has dealt with both in getting elected, and in working with his fellow Council members.
But we had some lessons before that.
Erik’s first election campaign was for state office. He ran as a Democrat for delegate to the Virginia General Assembly. Being from a red-hot poker of an area in our state where literally (seriously, not metaphorically), when we campaigned people often said to us, “R or D?” and when Erik said “Democrat” doors were shut in our faces, hands withdrawn from an invitation to shake, backs turned on us, and we were called baby killers, commies, and worse. Erik puts up with such inhuman and mannerless affronts but me no likey the meanies, and I had a much tougher time, feeling a combination of injustice, the decline of social niceties, and the apparent futility of it all.
Erik was also constantly questioned about federal-level issues that he’d never vote on as a state delegate, highlighting how the culture wars, ideological purity standards, and a misunderstanding of how government works were deeply entrenched in the people, negatively affecting local and state races.
I had a much tougher time, too, because Erik and I are intellectual and creative partners. Yet when he ran and I spoke in any way to the passion of our shared ideas, I was told by a local party official that, “You can’t say anything anymore. You can just stand there and look pretty. Help out at the homeless mission. But you’re Miss Pearls now.”
Now which modern woman wants to hear that? Or wants to obey it? Who doesn’t inwardly rail and outwardly raise a fuss at home over it? Yet that was the reality because in our area there’s cultural resistance to a “political wife” being anything but an ornament to her husband.
And yet, I’m not bitter. I might’ve been a wee bit miffed back then, but I’m not now, even though the limiting affronts, misconceptions, and cultural realities remain.
Erik lost that race for delegate in a resounding defeat. I look back at our naivety, astounded that we even tried, to say nothing of actually thinking we could win. Silly us!
But three years later Erik was elected, though as a non-partisan, at-large member of our local council. He sailed into office, winning what’s called an “open seat” — that’s when someone doesn’t seek reelection and it’s any new candidate’s game. Fortunately no one ran against Erik, making him a winner no matter what.
Once in office, there was another education in store, namely taking the enthusiasm for his ideas and translating that into local change. I’ll talk more about that in another post, but it’s one of the key points in understanding politics.
After a four-year term, Erik ran for reelection, this time in what’s called a “contested” election —when one or more outside candidates take on incumbents in a bid to unseat someone. The campaign, even at this small local level, was nerve-wracking. Fortunately he won reelection by around 15% over challengers.
But like Bernie Sanders said in his inspiring speech to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, “Election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues.”
And that’s what I’d like to share now, one of the crucial points in the Five Things Americans Don’t Understand About Politics.
1. Democracy is about more than a vote
Once every four years Americans go wild over — and grow sick from —presidential politics. There’s talk of sure votes, undecided votes, protest votes, voting one’s conscience, strategic votes, and staying home from the voting booth altogether because, “they’re all corrupt.”
So much emphasis is placed on voting day that you wouldn’t be faulted for believing that “one-(wo)man/one vote” was the only political option. Indeed, voting hype extends to the primaries, with this year’s contests being especially illustrative of bruising jockeying for position.
So we all agitate for our sides with our personal vote pitched as the be-all and end-all — so much so that many of us don’t see anything that comes before election day except our preferred candidate’s speeches and news, and don’t grasp what comes after.
The bigger picture to politics was particularly highlighted at the 2016 DNC convention by the parade of union representatives who took the stage to endorse Hillary Clinton. Where do these people come from you might ask? What, they said they represent “1.5 MILLION x workers” and “3.6 MILLION y service providers.” Huh?
While most of us pay homage to the latest Game of Thrones episode or follow sports stats, folks of all kinds meet in numerous capacities for all kinds of objectives to articulate their aims, advocate and lobby for the same, and aim for resolutions, changes in laws, tax breaks, incentives, freed up access, fairness, new zoning, censures, code changes, new funds, public-private partnerships, and more.
Here’s an insider secret: These meetings and organizations, possibly even MORE than casting our votes, are the backbone of democracy.
Democracy is tireless toil in the mire of human ideas and aims. It’s organizing, gathering, honing ideas, working within what’s possible, slow gains, wrenching setbacks, anonymous efforts, and nights in forgotten rooms over cookies and lemonade or beer and pretzels, setting goals and working to achieve them.
Gatherings to shape our democracy arise spontaneously but not unexpectedly, such as an outpouring of protest and an attendant push for an advance in civil rights like the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They arise locally to change an unused lot to a dog park, with folks gathering for a few months to learn the city code, contact a council member for advice, and then go plead their cause. They happen as an attempt to take over another party, a lá the latter day Tea Party’s efforts to shift the Republican Party. They happen loosely, using technology available today, such as reaching a threshold of signatures on a White House petition about an issue or idea.
When it comes down to the process of choosing candidates yes, you get a pick! And when a candidate on a given side is finally the winner, the final nominee, you get to choose again.
But casting a vote, while it should be embraced “as a right, a privilege, and a duty,” is kinda the least you can do — it’s like the phoning it in of democracy. It gets you the least yet, ironically, seems to grant you the most license to gripe, accuse, and opine whether you’ve ever done jack-diddly squat beyond your vote or not.
Bottom line: VOTE! But if that’s all you’re doing, you’re leaving a lot of democracy on the table.
My advice to those who only vote? You haven’t done enough. Start to get involved.
And while federal-level issues ARE super important, the place to really walk the talk is at the local level. There’s just as much frustration at the local level in politics but it is definitively THE place where you can make the most difference. The key is in learning how.
2. Democracy is boring and it needs YOU (but it will still be boring)!
As I said, a vote just isn’t enough. It’s not enough even if you delve into various intellectual journals, dutifully trying to get the deep inside scoop, all uber-wonk and stuff. Still, being informed from a distance isn’t enough.
Being informed from a distance leads to Monday morning quarterbacking. It makes everyone pounce on elected officials for perceived failures, essentially broadcasting how much better YOU would’ve handled that problem even though you have not the slightest clue about all the inner workings at play, legal elements, time and filing constraints, and other somnambulism-inducing elements in the long crawl to progress.
While federal-level issues often seem sexier, with the stakes much higher, the distance between you and social, cultural, electoral, legislative, policy, departmental and other change is YUGE. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t endeavor to be informed. And, you can register your view on a petition, attend a protest or demonstration, and most of all take the time to email, write, and call state and federal lawmakers when issues come up that you care about. (I plug my state and federal representantives’ and senators’ numbers in my cell phone contacts so I can whip out a quick call — usually about 45 seconds total — when I want to share my view. It’s a great way to lessen the hurdle in making involvement on issues more routine.)
But the local level is where you can make the most difference. And it gives real meaning to the term grass roots.
Democratic activity, too, need not be about fixing or fixating on the biggest issues of our times. Those will continue in the background, and you can dip in regularly to stay up-to-date.
But locally you can actually change your world. Whether you want your town to be more walkable, your schools to have more solar, or your empty lots to be reclaimed for community space, or any other thing burning forth in your heart, mind, and soul, you can actually simply decide that that’s an issue you want to work on, make time for it, and get started.
Some issues and efforts will have no conflict with local laws. You can just gather informally and start making progress, like in cleaning up rivers and streams.
Other plans might need council approval, to interface with a city manager, or review by a zoning board.
All are politics.
You know how some people say, “I don’t like to talk about politics.” Or, ” I’m not political.” Or storekeepers and business owners who think it’s mission critical to their business to be “politically neutral?” Here’s some insight: Everyone is political, including the shopkeeper who says he or she is keeping that under wraps.
People and what they want and what they do and what they refuse, are political. Just as “Soylent Green Is People,” people are politics! The reason it’s said that, “The personal is political,” and “And politics is local,” is because really, in life, we never escape politics, whether in cliques and loose groups, clubs and organizations, in family, church, community, and dealing with the law.
In each iteration we are “the polity” of that group, right on up to being the polity of the US as Americans. And the way we get things done is politics, whether we recoil from that name or not.
So when you want to get something done or changed you should, as Nike says, “Just do it!” — keeping laws in mind, of course! And when you learn what you’re up against, or what it takes to make change, don’t get discouraged. If you really want it, keep at it, and try to make it work. This, not idle-chatter opinions, is politics.
Equally important, however boring, you ought to go to your local supervisors, council, or board meetings. Watching debates over issues can enlighten one to just what it takes to move the needle or redefine the field of an issue, idea, or action.
Bottom line: Get involved. But once involved, understand what you’re up against, both with other people, and in the larger context.
3. Democracy is a party of more than one
When I hear people lament the failure of elected officials, their selling out or betrayal, their corruption or self-centeredness, I have to take pause.
Seeing Erik fight the good fight for issues we care about only to be beaten back by either visionless or over-stretched or hands-tied career bureaucrats, or by outdated zoning and laws, or by colleagues who are uninterested in the issue or have a different interpretation of it or its impact, and many other factors, I can’t help but want to give the benefit of the doubt to politicians right and left, (at least the ones who otherwise appear to be operating in good faith).
So here’s what Americans don’t understand about people and politics. There are other people.
We basically think that if I believe in my idea, I should get my way. Chop chop.
Americans totally and completely forget that there’s anyone or anything else in the room but ourselves, our sides, and our ideas. And the more passionately we back our idea, and the more self-evident it seems to us that this idea simply MUST come to pass, or this person must be elected, the less we see the legitimacy of any other person, and the more willing we are to see our opponent as a caricature of humanity.
Without a doubt, not all persons are good faith players, and some who oppose our ideas do so for petty reasons or for naked power. Our culture isn’t living in the height of enlightened thinking, informed reasoning, civil discourse, or with an aim toward broadly shared betterment right now. We’re more about winner-takes-all and lording it over each other, a vicious team sports mentality with barely even a handshake and heartfelt, “Good game!” Whatever else great may be happening in our culture, intellectual grounding is not it. Really — thought and the meaningful marketplace of ideas is seriously in peril.
In spite of that, and without exploring the reasons for that, even if we were living in a more respectful and uplifting time, where reason informed debate and discourse, we’d still face people with all their quirks, predispositions, viewpoints, alliances, debts, duties, and wants and needs.
As I explained on one of my Facebook posts the other day in response to a rabid Hillary-hater dominating my thread who refused to see that there could possibly be another side to debate,
“Whenever you put two people together you automatically are starting with two different views. Even in a marriage, coming to consensus about how to go forward on something is a process.
Now add five more people and call it the hiking club trying to figure out the next hiking day outing and the after-hike watering hole — talk about debate.
Now take just a local Town Council trying to decide if they want to add solar to the school or fix the aging sewer pipes that threaten to burst if not dealt with in the next five years.
Now try a nation of 330 million people across a massive land mass, with representatives coming from 50 different states, each with their own history and socio-cultural perspectives, amidst an economic and development trajectory with tons of baked in entropy, prior existing law and rules, all with constituents from ordinary people to organized interests to business concerns, each clamoring to get THEIR thing done…”
It really doesn’t matter how good your ideas are — you’re still going to have to shop them around to other people. It’ll take support by like-minded folks to join with you, and even if you have a groundswell it doesn’t mean you’ll encounter people in positions of power or authority who can or will take up your cause, back it, put their neck on the line for it, especially with hundreds of thousands of others clamoring to get their thing done.
Other people are a real factor in politics whether you like their ideas or not, whether their ideas are objectively repugnant or not. People provide both avenues to advancement and roadblocks to progress. Even people who want to help you with their access and position face people they must convince or who pull the levers of power who may or may not back what you want.
And YOU need to do the courting of supporters, backers, and agitators rather than believe that just because you have a great idea someone else should be the water carrier for it without any more effort by you.
I can’t tell you how many people call my hubby with a “great idea” and then expect him to become its advocate and organizer. When they don’t see Erik taking action on it they get confused. “Hey, I came to you with a great idea, why didn’t you do anything with it?” These people seem to think that just because Erik is an elected representative that he should do their part of the work.
Here’s how it works. When a representative takes up your cause they first must agree with the idea. And then they’ve gotta see what YOU’VE done to advance the cause. Who have YOU courted? What meetings have YOU held? Which outreach have YOU done?
Build a movement and elected officials may get on board. Expect them to take up your democratic duty without even YOU being on board to attend to its details and forget it. They get on board the more that a constituency of folks have grown their numbers and put in the time to advance the issue or cause.
Speaking of those elected officials, we don’t live in a monarchy. The crown making we place on our presidential candidate too easily makes us ignore the fact that the president needs a sympathetic Congress to back her aims. So-called “down ticket” races for the federal and state senates and representatives are mission critical to getting the things you want. Even the local sheriff or prosecutor or clerk of court is often an elected position. This is where you need to understand people, ideas, and aims in a larger strategy.
Let’s stop trying to crown the one king model that we threw off in 1776 and instead build on and perfect the vibrant “we the people” model that we’re more equipped than ever to realize in 2016.
Bottom line: You may work, strive, organize, advocate, lobby, and court and still your idea must advance by and through other people. People who face defeat in the political and public sphere because they didn’t get what they want can grow bitter, or can try to rework their aim and tactics. But no matter whether you give up or press on your idea and your interfacing happens in the arena with other people. And you need those people, even the ones you don’t like.
Except for He Who Cannot Be Named, nobody else honestly believes that anyone does it alone. Or that doing it with others is simple, without conflict, or resistance. Or that others will be fair. People are complex and complicated. And so is the world we work within. Best to get used to it sooner than later while still being your best self.
4. You win some, you lose some — and it takes forever besides
Guess what? You lose sometimes.
You lose just causes sometimes. You lose amazingly worthy efforts sometimes. You work hard, stay at it, include others, do everything right, and believe with all your might and you still lose sometimes. There are injustices sometimes. Hey, innocent people go to jail for murders and rapes they didn’t commit and sometimes political committees play favorites. Try to put your losses in perspective even if two wrongs don’t make a right.
I’ve felt it, too.
I’m going to be fifty years old this year and for 38 years, since I first read Vine Deloria’s The Metaphysics of Modern Existence at age 12, I’ve been waiting to see signs that our political world cared about the only planet we have, and notably how to live well on the planet with a different energy model.
Yet my issue has never once been the top issue in my whole life.
People at the top sorta talk climate (or deny it). They even talk pollution, water, and ocean acidification, but they don’t really talk energy unless they’re advancing very obvious lies about either its unquestioned abundance, or the delusion of achieving so-called energy independence.
Lies abound about gas being a clean source when fracking is a clear environmental nightmare with the added horror show of methane’s fast track role in amping greenhouse problems. Nuclear is touted as super clean but there’s literally zero plan or place for nuclear waste, creating toxic soups ripe for terrorism or natural or human disasters. And lots of nuclear plants in the US are, like so much in our country, housed in crumbling infrastructure.
Alleged miracles like tar sands, deep water drilling, Arctic drilling, and oil shale are hailed as the saving grace of our country and economy, when in actuality they’re each environmental disasters. This is to say nothing of the fact that we wouldn’t be digging in the couch cushions of energy sources for spare change if we still had light sweet crude exploding out of pony jacks at 100 barrels out to one barrel invested.
We tell lies that conservation and the clean energy economy spell certain downturn, when they just as easily spell a renaissance of innovation, lifestyle, health, culture, progress, and eco-justice for the planet and people. Oh, and the old trope jobs — how they’d be decimated in a clean energy economy!
So yeah, after 38 years of me paying attention, me pressing for my issue, it’s been hard, even when I totally agree with an issue, to watch issue after issue gain the spotlight — healthcare, education, civil and civic rights for various groups, the social safety net — when to me the issue behind all issues — energy — stands to wreck all of these if it isn’t comprehensively dealt with tout de suite.
Yet I’m not bitter.
I haven’t confined myself to just a vote, I’ve taken action. And now, I’m not going to give up on healthcare, education, civil and civic rights, the social safety net, and a host of other issues because I still haven’t been heard, because my issue isn’t dripping off their lips every second this go round either. I continue to believe energy should rightfully be the central issue since life for women and children, the poor and marginalized, will face hell on Earth if we don’t build the distributed clean energy economy, work with the shifts that climate change is forcing, downshift on consumption, embrace the merits of conservation, and redefine our relationship to Earth and her resources in a more cradle-to-cradle fashion.
But politics takes time, as my long history of disappointment can attest.
Bottom line: If you win and are ungracious, forgetting the people who helped you get into office or realize your issue, you’re a poor winner. And if you when lose you kick the sand in the sandbox and take your dollies and dishes and go home, you’re a sore loser.
Expect to lose more than to win. And realize that it takes grit and determination to get up every day and remain focused on your issue as you work diligently on multiple fronts to bring it to fruition — and as you wait patiently for it to wend its way through the behemoth of our system.
5. That shit’s complex, man
Earlier I talked about how once you’ve got more than one person participating in decision making it’s harder to get things done.
Now add to that things like history and culture, existing and ENTRENCHED organizations, businesses, coalitions, and other factions, differing cultural perspectives, and in our country, religious pluralism. How about prejudices for or against something, institutional memory and entropy, and then codes, laws, guidelines, establishment practices, chains of command, cross-jurisdictional partnerships and rivalries.
As if that weren’t all a helluva mountain to climb there are political ideologies, political extremes, and political apathy.
Now add a democratized press with hugely varying standards in a time of 24/7 media with no vestige of an enlightened or even moderated center of gravity either intellectually, morally, or educationally.
We find ourselves in a Wild West moment. Maybe it’s always been that way. It’s just that time was when the national anthem came on at the end of the day and it all shut the hell up for a few hours, giving us a breather.
Not so much now.
We do face problems in America, and they’re as complex as the tools to address them.
Like Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, the Obamas, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and many more on the Democratic side, I believe in the American people because I know and see cool people doing amazing things all the time, feeling the love, being creative, solving problems together, and getting on with it in a spirit of optimism and a tone of joy.
I also believe, based on actually reading into their bios and documented facts about their deeds, that each of the figures named above has sincerity in their hearts as they strive toward their goals. As each has faced setbacks against “the system,” and losses and gains here and there, each has remained focused on issues dear to their hearts, from women and children to minorities and social justice, to the economy and communities, to transparency in government and more.
Just as my sincere and heartfelt issue is energy and the environment, they too are fighting their good fights.
What the best politicians learn though, is that real, good, true politics, is the politics of compromise in a context of complexity.
If you don’t have it in you to face this multi-faceted, ever changing (and yet often stagnant) landscape of ideas, issues, people, the unexpected, the intransigent, the established, the apparently unmovable, and a will for give-and-take, you shouldn’t be in politics either as a full-fledged participant, or as a Monday morning quarterback.
Opinions aren’t enough. Bloviating because you have a Facebook feed and two thumbs and an iPhone doesn’t make you fit to enter this realm. Bluster, abusive conquering, and drowning out the opposition are tactics, but they’re not healthy leadership. At best they’re bullying, and at worst they’re manifestly dangerous.
People in politics still have to deal with this, because…people are politics. But smart people, and worthy institutions don’t have to give undifferentiated rage and intimidation either a spotlight or a megaphone. It’s freaking’ complex enough without that. They also don’t have to erect unfair barriers to entry. We’re innovative enough to find a third way.
Bottom line: Politics and efforts toward change, progress, and the realization of ideas ain’t easy.
Who are we now?
Americans have this amazing inheritance of wealth, national character, sunny can-do-ism, natural beauty and abundance, and an imperfect enlightenment aim always in search of its more perfect self. To squander this over naked quests for power, or by letting capitalistic greed run amok, or because any one of us doesn’t get everything we want RIGHT NOW would be an unfortunate endnote to an otherwise gloriously striving, albeit often tragically shadowed, historic record.
Politics is at once second nature and the seeming realm of a few, along with it being something to learn as a shared work-in-progress, open to all.
We’ve been a bit negligent in the past few decades, particularly as our technology and communication assets raced into incarnation faster than we could process the enormous power they represented for us all and any one of us individually. We don’t mind our words and we don’t consider our example to our children and wider culture. But as Michelle Obama reminds us, we have a choice. In her words, “When they go low, we go high!”
In the end I don’t know if my elucidation about politics will help bring any clarity to the perilousness of these oft-nutjob times. Or provide anyone with any guidance or perspective. But I do know that what I have to say is earned from experience, and lived in reality. I’ve won and lost, tried and failed, experimented and learned, evolved and changed, grew up a little and got to work more.
And I’m not bitter.
But I sure would like my issue to get its day in the sun before it’s too late. Or after I’m not here to see it.
Since we’re all in the same boat, maybe it’s time to see that that boat is floating on Mother Earth and what we do to her, we do to ourselves.
— Lindsay Curren, Transition Voice