Disclaimer: I am not a writer. You’re going to find that out pretty quick. I’m just a regular person like you, unless you are a writer. Then I am still like you, just not as good at writing.
July 2016, Madison, Wisc.: 600 miles from Pittsburgh
I was stunned.
One of our country’s leading politicians just said, ‘When the facts don’t support the way people feel, act based on feelings rather than educate on facts.’ You can see for yourself right here.
As an engineer, a project manager and an avid baseball fan, I understand the need for data-driven actions and decisions as much as anyone. But this person, who was supposed to represent us as a leader, had no clue.
Little did I know, it was only the beginning.
People began to take positions on all sorts of issues without evidence and ignoring data. I became infuriated, and I don’t get angry often; sometimes while driving, and occasionally when I play Xbox, but nothing like this.
My frustration spawned another change that year in 2016. I never used to comment on social media. Maybe one Facebook status a year, and that was usually just a bad pun.
But as I saw people take their thoughts to a public forum, I saw an opportunity. I began fighting the good fight and calling out the injustice of falsehoods whenever I saw them. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I was basically Batman, if Batman corrected false Facebook comments about climate change instead of fought crime.
As I engaged in conversations with people, I quickly realized how hard it was to get through. You could lay out a perfectly reasonable argument, and someone would reply with an irrational answer, or just ignore it. I realized their objective wasn’t dialogue, it was winning an argument.
The whole exercise was like trying to put out a fire with a squirt gun. I knew water was supposed to work, but it just didn’t! I needed a new tool.
That is what led me to Do-Goodery, and to today.
I’m a project manager by trade. My job is spreadsheets, emails, and facilitating communication between completely different people. (For example, 50-year-old physicians and 23-year-old software developers.) This is what I do for Do-Goodery.
Content producers, web developers, administrators, non-profit leaders, and you. It’s my job to create and track processes with a group of creatives who barely knew what Excel is before I joined. Sorry, guys, but it’s true. And so far I love every minute of it, because I love the cause.
Perspective. Critical thinking. Empathy.
These are the things we have lost in our modern discourse, producing an environment where winning is more important than understanding. Join me in this journey to bring it back: To understand again, as I write about my time volunteering for Do-Goodery and give you a snapshot into our organization. Together, we just may be able to save the world.
I was stunned before, but now I have recovered. It’s time to fight back.
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