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Friday, February 11, 2011

Creating New Conversations

Dr. Omar H. Ali

There is a new kind of conversation going on in America made up of many smaller conversations.

The conversations are philosophical, they are playful, but they are no less serious and meaningful as the conversations going on in the streets of Cairo, where the Egyptian people are in the midst of making a revolution.

Here, the conversations underway are part of a new politic that is slowly sweeping the nation—here and there, among friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, and complete strangers. The new conversations are less driven by ideology or party affiliation, but by people’s desire to connect with each other—to get to know each other.

For independents—America’s historical engine for structural change—such conversations are critical.

On the eve of the “Can Independents Reform America?” national conference organized by, bringing together hundreds of independent leaders from around the country, I am reminded of a poem by May Sarton, the daughter of historian of science George Sarton and the artist Mabel Elwes:

In February we see the structure change ---
Or the light change, and so the way we see it.
Tensile and delicate, the trees stand now
Against the early skies, the frail fresh blue,
In an atttentive stillness.

Naked, the trees are singularly present,
Although their secret force is still locked in.
Who could believe that the new sap is rising
And soon we shall draw up amazing sweetness
From stark maples?

It is February now.


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