by Bill Eichman, Voices IT Volunteer, former President and Board Member, and long-time Voices supporter, donor, and advocate.
Voices has been undergoing a transformational death and rebirth. We have been seeking a new form, one that has evolved to suit the needs of our rapidly changing 21st century lives, and our expanded and demanding community lifestyles. And we'd love to tell you that we have it all figured out, and that we are on time and on on budget. And give you the date of our grand reopening and gala debut.
Ah, no. Nope. Nah. Sorry. No big debut, yet. We are still working on things. (Hey, if it was easy, everybody would do it.)
However we are all agreed on this; because everyone we talk to tells us this key thing over and over. This town needs an independent Free Press, and a strong and unabashedly liberal community voice.
And there are people here who love the art and craft of journalism, who believe in the Voices mission, and who see the importance and power and potential of the multi-generational community of remarkable people found here in the Nittany and Penns Valleys.
So, there is still the definite intent to have a Voices rebirth, and to emerge from our retreat into transformational sleep with a New Voices, one that does still publish a smaller paper version, but that includes with that paper publication a stronger emphasis on online community and journalism and new media content, and on an increased amount of social and face-to-face events, a stronger physical community of shared place and time.
This is where you come in; because the Voices mission is about you. Voices serves you, and without you Voices has no northern star, no map, no Captain. So, as we start to return from our hermitage and struggle to re-vision Voices from newspaper to new media, we think it's time to re-connect with you, the Voices People, our readers, our authors and creators, our future staff and leaders, our supporters and donors, and our tribe.
This article is about reaching out to you; and this is our vision of you, who you are, who we are. (Pssst - listen, just between you and me... Hey friend, if we are way off, let us know, okay? Comment here or anywhere, or email us, or grab us on the street or something, and tell us what we forgot or didn't get right.) You are the extended community for whom Voices is created; and we, all of us, are the individuals of a certain type that make up this special community. We are not the average type, not average Penn State People or CDT people or Onward State people or Centre County Gazette people. We not exactly average Pennsylvania people, or average United States people. We are often politically active, but we are mostly not exactly Blue or Red or whatever color independents are supposed to be.
It's safe to say we are progressive, but what we mean by progressive tends more to the radical utopian and visionary than towards mere left wing solidarity. Safe to say we are conservative - we want to conserve this planet, the earth, and we want to conserve the money and lives wasted on cruel and foolish wars. Spending previously carelessly wasted war-machine money on solar panels and cleaner water and a local foods economy sounds like very sensible conservatism to us. But, what we mostly are is seriously and actively liberal.
We are Liberal, and we are bringing Liberal back.
Voices People are liberal/alternative, artistic/creative, philosophical/spiritual, ecological/sustainable, bodymind-physical/erudite-intellectual, and individual/collective. We come in all shapes, sizes, ages, classes, colors, and sexes. We come from all corners of this planet Earth. We bring a multitude of skills and gifts, and we need a multitude of things from each other. We want to build, trade, share, teach, heal, sing, dance, garden, harvest, celebrate, and yes, when the time comes, to mourn together. And we want to have fun while doing all those things.
We want to wake up from the long sad dreams of the Incorporated Empire. We hope and intend to become people of wisdom and people of power and people of serenity and grace. And we want to make this community and this world a better place.
Being liberal means we have open minds, and a deep curiosity about the world and each other. We do not fear things by nature, we don't assume the worst of others. We assess risk rationally and based on facts and shared experiences, and we approach new things and mysteries and problems as exciting opportunities.
Being liberal, we tend to like sex and the sexes. We are just naturally sexy, the opposite of sexist. And we appreciate the good simple things in life, like food, cooking, and flavors, and art and movies and night life and social events. And we love to talk, discuss, debate, and argue. Sexy people, good food, art and music and conversation and debates all happening in yearly cycle of multicultural symposiums shows and parties; that's us for sure.
Because, generally speaking, we are sociable and friendly types. Being scared of things, especially people who haven't actually been mean to us, isn't something we "get". And hating things, especially people who haven't actually hurt us on purpose, is just plain peculiar. Being scared and hating stuff just doesn't seem like it would be much fun. We are all MUCH more likely to get hit by lightning than hit by a "terrorist", but that fact is not going to make a single liberal get so scared that they don't love seeing a lightning bolt light up the night sky. In fact, we're more likely to call up our friends, tell them they really need to go outside and check out the cool lightning light show, and end up starting a thunderstorm watching party!
We liberals, generally speaking, like science. By that I mean, we like the scientific method, and it's use of close observations and measurements, shared openly, and used as the basis for shared experiments, as a way to know the deepest mysteries of this universe. (And to make possible cool toys like these computers.) We like nature, plants, animals, water and sky and mountains and dirt. And that combination, of liking the scientific method and liking nature, means that generally we accept the predictions of global warming and the ecological harms being done by the fossil carbon economy, and we think we have to grow up as a species and learn how to live as a planetary people sustainably.
If these things sound like you, or remind you of yourself and your friends, then, you are Voices People.
If you are Voices People, then watch for emails or other notices of re-organization activity, and for invitations to come to Voices discussions, events, and benefit parties. Get ready to come help make these valleys and this world a better place.
It's gonna be some serious fun.