One way to defuse the political insanity happening right now

Like so many of us, I am captivated by the story that’s playing out right now as power shifts and polarization worsens.

People are angry. People are judging each other. Left and right are demonizing each other to extents I haven’t seen before.

Regardless of who is in power, this shift is troubling.

Resistance, activism, vigilance… all of these are valuable and important parts of democracy. If you have the inclination to call your congressman every day, awesome!

My concern is with the cultural underpinnings that have led us here, because those don’t go away simply because one person or another happens to be in charge at the moment.

Culture drives these trends. Where it goes from here is going to be determined in part by direct action, but it’s also going to be affected tremendously by what people feel.

Democrats over-valued logic and under-valued feeling; it was one of their most damning miscalculations. And…

As automation continues to kill a growing number of middle class jobs, fear is only going to grow larger faster.

In the minds of anyone raised in the 20th century and who’s yet to be exposed to the modern possibilities of a working life that doesn’t depend on employers to provide for them, the growing destruction of jobs as we know them is a threat to their security and sense of worth in the world.

That’s dangerous.

Left unchecked, such growing fear can lead to, well, what happened during this election… but it can get worse from here.

Which is why action must be taken at the cultural level to steer people in a less dangerous direction.

This is where we come in, and there’s good news to be had here:

When it comes to shifting culture, we have the power. Culture shifts arise locally, among people. And we’re people!

If a whole bunch of us could work to alleviate the fears of people who only know of work in terms of traditional employment by showing them what’s possible in the new way of working, we erode the very foundation of the growing craziness we’re seeing around us right now.

I hope my silly illustrations help!

Can collaborative communities save the world? Let’s find out.

Here’s my theory: let’s facilitate the gathering of people, in real life, to raise awareness of the possibilities of non-traditional employment.

We don’t need to reach everyone–just that sliver of people who are ready to be reached but haven’t been yet.

People who only need to be made aware of what’s out there. People who just need to get into a room with a few others who are already doing what they’ve been thinking of doing. People who maybe just need to be a little bit less afraid.

I’ve seen what’s possible when a person walks into a room full of people who work for themselves and feels accepted by them. I was just that person ten years ago.

I was a remote employee. I had never run a business of my own. But when I walked into the Jelly coworking event at my new friend’s midtown loft apartment, my world was changed forever.

So what if we focused on that? Just generating more of those moments… over and over and over.

There are a few ways of tackling this. If you have a space you can share, you can host. If you have a knack or a passion for bringing people together, you can organize a group… even a very simple small one can do the trick.

If you’ve got money or access to an organization with resources, you can support local efforts (or mine! let’s talk. really.)… or, at the very least, you can find something happening where you are and show up to support it.

One little bit at a time. One person at a time.

I’m working now on re-orienting New Work Cities away from simply focusing on helping coworking space owners and towards being a platform for people who want to host and organize programs that empower.

I’ll keep working on that and keep you posted on my progress. I’d love your thoughts as I go.

If people feel empowered, they’re less likely to feel afraid, which makes them less likely to support people doing crazy things.

Let’s defuse this thing. Now.

I’m doing a 2017 planning webinar for community builders on Thursday, February 2. Download my free planner and get notified about the webinar here, or email me at tony [at] nwc.co.