Goodwill and Better Friendships: Advocacy the Rotary Way
by Emily Lang
Building goodwill and better friendships. That’s part of our mission at Rotary, and with another legislative session underway, it’s worth a pause to consider how we can all play a part in that mission through respectful advocacy.
The conversations in our modern political climate don’t always tilt toward that goal; it seems it’s more popular to be right … to score points with zingers and one-liners … to put political enemies to shame in the service of short-term gain.
These are the things voters think of when they’re considering their appetite for participation in the governmental process. These are the things that cause everyday Oklahomans to turn away from the political process altogether, leaving extremists to rule the day and win the votes.
Voting is a fundamental right in America, but it has become one we take for granted. It’s easy to see the vitriol and choose to tune it out and sit it out when it comes to election day.
The harder work – the work we are called to do as Americans and as Rotarians is to actively strive toward building goodwill and better friendships.
That work requires openness that is only born of humility; it requires refusal to set aside hope in the face of anger and despair. It requires having hard conversations with great love and being willing to listen and change our minds as we learn.
It’s true that anger often spills over in our state capitol, and those interactions tend to make headlines. But it’s also true that progress is made – each and every day – when members of our representative democracy talk to each other and talk to their constituents, one-on-one, and find common ground.
Spend a day at the capitol during the legislative session, and you can be part of those conversations. Choose an issue that matters to you, gather a group of friends and advocate, knowledgeably and respectfully, and you might be surprised by the impact you can have. Bring a handout outlining your issue and follow up with an offer to be a resource for legislators.
Building goodwill and better friendships isn’t just a motto – it’s a model for making a difference.
Want to change the tone of our modern political discourse? Bring your voice to the party – and advocate the Rotary way.