Friday, March 1, 2013

Chely Wright, Bleeding Kansas and all that Energy

John Brown, One Intense Guy
This guy on the left provides a handy illustration of how not to attempt societal change. While his intentions were good (abolition), his methods were violent, misguided, and basically nutty. To this day--no exaggeration--some people in Missouri and Kansas will still choose sides in the debate over whether or not his actions led to the American Civil War and, ultimately, the end of slavery in the US.

In my experience, it's often the Social Studies teachers and school librarians harboring the strongest opinions about John Brown. To really get them frothed, just ask about "Bleeding Kansas."

Here is some quick info about John Brown, if you're interested:

John Brown moved ahead with his goofy and tragic plans because he didn't see anyone else taking leadership--he became impatient and unwilling to comply with the many abolitionist organizations already at work. He didn't want a system or a group or a method. He felt righteously indignant--he wanted action, now. And he got it, taking a few hundred people to the grave with him.

Part of what makes Chely Wright's reach unique is that it encompasses the demographic that, largely, has been unreached by the LGBT rights movement thus far. As she wins those folks to our side, they may experience that fervor of enthusiasm, much like John Brown's, that usually accompanies a personal epiphany.

I want those newly-sympathetic folks to know where to put their energy. Instead of 19th century abolitionist organizations, today we have LGBT organizations, clearly effective, led by skillful and diligent professionals.

The organizations are there, up and running. Minds are being changed, the middle is moving.

The question now becomes how do we connect our new allies with our organizations?

Any ideas?