You know that scene? The one where the crowd of strangers work together to help the hero? Like the last scene in Rudy. Notre Dame has the game locked up. Rudy never had a chance to play. And then the whole football stadium starts chanting “RU-DY! RU-DY!”? It makes me cry every time.
It’s a well-known Hollywood formula. It goes like this: Total Strangers + Common Cause = Dan's Crying. And I know what you’re wondering right now and the answer is: yes, even the final scene in the NYC subway in Crocodile Dundee. New Yorkers + Game of Telephone Saying, "I Love You!'" = Dan's Crying.
Senator Chris Murphy's account of the Newtown Elementary school teacher and her autistic student woke me up. I’ve heard countless news reports covering the atrocity that happened in that school. But hearing Senator Murphy recount the story of that one teacher that chose to stay behind to be with her student, costing them both their lives, that’s when it really hit me.
Maybe something is shifting in me because I'm now in love and want a future with someone. Maybe it was what happened in Dallas. Or maybe Orlando felt close to home because that same night I was walking through the Gay Pride party in West Hollywood. (My Uber driver decided to take a "shortcut" down Robertson through the gridlocked center of Gay Pride. We ditched the ride and walked home from there.) I still don't know what that Uber driver’s game was. But I do know that we need change. And we all need to be apart of it.
"Tikkun olam." It's a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to repair the world. It is often used when discussing issues of social policy, insuring a safeguard to the disadvantaged.
I am a Jew. But I don't belong to a temple and I don't celebrate Shabbat (but I'd like to once a month or so). And, just between us, I don't really believe in God. AND! I'm in a committed relationship with a shiska. Iknowright?? And I am still a Jew. Passively, I'm a Jew because my parents are and it's my cultural heritage. Actively, I'm a Jew because I celebrate the high holidays (we hosted a delicious and topical Passover Seder that connected the story of Exodus to the Syrian refugee crisis) and because I practice tikkun olam. So does my partner.
She's a yoga therapist. She works with women suffering from traumatic sexual and childhood trauma. When talking about her work, she told me "Sometimes it's about getting a girl to feel comfortable and safe enough to just close her eyes." She also said that she's lucky to have a career where the more successful she is, the more people she gets to help.
We can overcome the grip of the NRA. We can overcome feckless members of congress. Because it's not up to them.
Voting is not the end of your civic involvement. It's the beginning. Your world is shaped by people that already know that. So make your voice heard. Get involved. Speak up like the internet doesn't exist. Show up and be the change you want to see. Bernie won't save you. He proudly shouts that in almost every speech: "YOU are the political revolution. Not me." I was a delegate for Bernie Sanders and I know he's right. Because I'm the answer I've been looking for. And so are you.
I’ve joined the increasingly-powerful advocacy group Every Town for Gun Saftey, which is taking on the NRA and fighting for gun sense. And I’m organizing to end dog breed discrimination by landlords in Los Angeles. The facts are on my side. So is Obama. It’s not world hunger or homelessness, but it’s a disadvantaged group and it’s important to me. You gotta start somewhere.
Us + Getting Involved = Dan's Crying.