Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land

I had a feeling tonight that I rarely experience. I was among people of a like mind and it gave me pause. Living in Arizona, among gun-toting, praise-the-lord, get-off-my-land types, I'd grown accustomed to feeling vaguely out of place. Like I couldn't really ever comfortably speak my mind.

I went to a Sierra Club Energy Committee meeting downtown tonight. It's part of my attempt at getting a little more involved in the things I believe in. After speaking with one of the main people of the state branch of the Sierra Club at the recent Green Summit, I volunteered for whatever they could use me for. She sent me invites to several of the committee meetings, this being the first one.

It was a fairly long meeting, about 2 and half hours, and discussed Cool Cities outreach (I'm going to get involved with encouraging Glendale to get on board) and a new solar thermal plant planned near Gila Bend. Though politics weren't really discussed directly, I couldn't help the feeling that everyone in the room would vote almost exactly like me. It was a feeling that I had recently when I saw Religulous, though admittedly not for the exact same reason. But you get the idea ... I was among friends, even though I may not know these people. Every day at work, at my son's school, in my neighborhood, even among family, I may "know" the people better, but they are mostly strangers in the ways that matter to me. I'm not saying I want to be surrounded by sycophants. I just don't want to be surrounded by zealots and the uninformed.

"Nothing is so awesomely unfamiliar as the familiar that discloses itself at the end of a journey" -- Cynthia Ozick


Laura said...

I completely understand. It's one thing to want to surround yourself only with like-minded people in order to avoid dissent (which is what a lot of wingnuts on both sides do). It's another to want to have at least one group of people you know you fully belong with.

wunelle said...

Yeah, I get this entirely. At work I'm surrounded (like you) with people whom I just can't understand, people who are hostile to most of what I believe.

If I go to some social function at the University where Susan works, I feel somewhat closer to home.

CyberKitten said...

Weird. I've always felt to be in a minority of one - but never to the extent you guys talk about.

Funnily I was talking to a guy @ work that I've probably known for 10 years only to discover yesterday that he's a Christian. People over here really tend not to advertise it much!

dbackdad said...

"People over here really tend not to advertise it much" -- I think we were that way over here once also. I don't know if it's the advent of talk radio, cable TV or the internet or all 3 that have made people feel that they have to shove their opinions or beliefs down others' throats at any time.

Politics and religion have nothing to do with my job and I never really feel compelled to bring up my beliefs in that forum. But it doesn't stop a lot of my clients from bringing up theirs.