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Keep Talking

As I sit in sweltering Brooklyn, trying very hard not think about global warming, I rather wish I were in another sweltering room, in Austin, Texas, watching the Netroots Nation conference, an annual conference for progressive bloggers. I have a few friends there, and I can’t wait to hear how it went. As someone who reads, watches videos, gets directions, banks and does any number of other things online, it shouldn’t be surprising that my politics unfold on the internet, too. Yet I still wish I was in that room: the human connection is still such a vital part of communications.

Face-to-face meetings seem de rigeur this week, as Obama met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and John McCain met with Yankees. They’re both aiming to stress their lesser-known traits, swinging at opportunities to demonstrate charisma and practical experience as they cross the plate.

We’re closing in on the three-month mark until the elections, and I understand that this is the time when the politicking comes hard and fast. Yet more and more I’m struck by the trials endured, and the efforts made, by everyday folk. It was my take-home lesson from this week’s parsha, too, where the daughters of Zelophchad changed Biblical law by asking to inherit their deceased father’s portion in the Land of Israel, and God gives Moses the thumbs-up. I’m not suggesting that we anticipate any divine intervention in the ’08 election, but the lesson resonates: something momentous changed because these women, who were probably among the most disenfranchised section of biblical society, brought it up, and they brought it up face-to-face*.

We live at a time when the vast majority of us will never have our individual voices heard by the next president of the United States. But that doesn’t mean that our individual voices, or—even better—our voices joined together, can’t still alter things entirely. I enter this week hoping that we, too, can use our powers to help enfranchise others, and that we keep talking to each other through every medium available.

–Mel Weiss

*Tip of the hat to Rabbi Carrie Carter at PSJC for that thought.