Hands Up Gets People To Talk

Hands Up has much to say about civil discourse

This blog space has very little to do with shouting, “Hands up!” The blog is mainly focused on the method we use to elect our nation’s president, specifically correctly exercising the Electoral College. While the blog advocates for Equal Voice Voting, a proportional electoral vote allocation, it also recognizes how critical it is that we attend to the nation’s lack of civil discourse. We need to be more civil toward each other for a lot of reasons, but it is critical for ushering in an acceptance of another’s voting rights.

Therefore, I am impressed and pleased to give attention to a dramatic arts effort in my own backyard of Portland, Oregon. It’s a voice and a direction the entire nation needs to hear.

Local Portland arts gets our attention

This particular blog relies heavily on the journalism of Wm. Steven Henry via his article in the Portland Mercury, The August Wilson Red Door Project Pushes Boundaries With A Purpose.” Please, take a moment to follow the link and read the entire piece. Hats off to Henry and the entire Red Door Project!

032719 Hands Up

The Red Door Project / Top Row, Left To Right: Kevin Jones, Lesli Mones, Christopher Hirsh. Second Row: Victoria Alvarez-Chacon, William Gebo, Jasmine Cottrell, Jonathan Thompson. Bottom Row: La’tevin Alexander, Julana Torres, Joseph Gibson, Tyharra Cozier. MEG NANNA

Henry tells us:

“The Red Door Project’s goal is to, create a path of accountability and healing for people of color and the police.

Additional article excerpts include:

Helmed by co-founders Kevin Jones and Lesli Mones, the Red Door Project set out to …change the racial ecology of Portland through the arts.”

Thanks to the vision and support of local funders, the Red Door was able to add more shows, eventually performing Hands Up67 times for more than 12,000 Portlanders. Even more impressive, the show was promoted almost entirely by word of mouth.

“We didn’t do any marketing [forHands Up], and it wasn’t reviewed,” Jones continues. “We wanted to make it available to the general public and let them decide whether or not people should see this show.”

An audience member—convinced that members of the police should see this show—contacted Officer Michael Crebs, an assistant chief at the time, who, in turn, reached out to Jones. The two conversed over coffee for an hour-and-a-half.

“Then he came to the show, out of uniform,” Jones remembers. “At the end, he spoke at the talk back, saying, ‘This has been a very powerful experience for me. To be honest, I never really thought about what it must feel like to be pulled out of my car with a gun pointed at my head.’”

Lessons learned from Hands Up

Some of the striking points from Hands Upare:

  1. People are open to facing the issues of civic relationships.
  2. People can and are willing to listen to each other.
  3. Pride can be set aside to further mutual understanding.
  4. Respect can be expressed and shared by all sides.

Let’s get back to voting.

Equal Voice Voting is an exercise in democracy

Equal Voice Voting comes with some cost. The cost is that we must recognize all of us have differing opinions and points-of-view. Those differences do not mean our interactions have to be confrontational. It does mean we must acknowledge differences and allow the voting voice of everyone regardless of political persuasion. Such acknowledgement and allowance is the cost of democracy.

In my own state (Oregon), for example, there is reluctance by Democrats to consider Equal Voice Voting because it would mean letting go of political dominance. It is perceived that allowing Republicans to capture some electoral votes would erodepolitical control. And, to add to the theme, it would mean a reduced Oregon’s electoral vote total would weaken its Democrat contribution to the Electoral College result. The result from such thinking is to deny the voting voice of many Oregon voters. In 2016, for example, Oregon denied representation to 51.5% of those who voted.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, be aware that this form of vote suppression spreads across the entire nation. Republican dominant states, too, fearfully cling to a system that retains political advantage by denying votes cast by Democrats (and other minority parties). All states combined in 2016 denied 46% of the voters their political voice in choosing the next president. Ironically, 46% is the average of such vote suppression over the past 15 presidential elections.

It’s time we learn the Hands Uplessons

Perhaps someone needs to shout at us, “Hands up!” We need to stop what we’re doing and recognize all citizens from all corners of this nation needs to have their voting voices heard. Let’s take a tip from The Red Door Project and consider the lessons taught:

  1. People are open to facing the issues of civic relationships.
  2. People can and are willing to listen to each other.
  3. Pride can be set aside to further mutual understanding.
  4. Respect can be expressed and shared by all sides.

Let’s make our presidential voting system work for all of us. Let’s let democracy work as our Founding Fathers intended. Let’s let Equal Voice Voting enable the Electoral College to operate as it was intended.

Other links to follow:

Other Equal Voice Voting blogs

The Equal Voice Voting formula  

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