Monday, January 09, 2006


Gettin' Folksy

Since arriving in Tennessee, the question I seem to get most often, when people hear that I'm from New York City, is "quite a culture shock, isn't it?" Now to be honest, it is a little bit of a shock to come from NYC to anywhere, and Nashville isn't quite around the corner. But there are also a lot things in common. There seems to be some commonality between cities generally, even if my hometown is 16 times the size of Nashville. Tennessee, however, is more than just Nashville.

In fact Tennessee is a very rural state. There is an awful lot of farm land out there. And we, as abolitionists, need to speak to all of it (the Lieutenant Governor's district is a number of rural counties out in West Tennessee) which brings me to. . . . gettin' folksy!

I was just on the phone to a farmer I've been speaking to in one rural area and found myself using euphemisms like "ya can't put tooth paste back in the tube" and "we won't throw into the deep end without swimming lessons." My silly sounding speech notwithstanding, it is the job of any good organizer to speak the language of the people we're trying to organize. This means that we need to master the language of the mental illness community when we talk to NAMI chapters, and we have to be able to quote the Bible when we talk to religious groups. So we need to be a little bit country sometimes. Hmmmm, maybe I should learn how to drive a tractor. . .
Comments :
We've got a beautiful '64 International Harvester with your name on it - just tell me when you're planning to go to Loudon County, and we'll get it ready for your lesson.
ya can't put toothpaste back in the tube? you said that...that's a hilarious brand of down-home and urban witicisms...and if you do decide to drive that tractor, for the love of god - take pictures!
The idea of driving a tractor makes me as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room fulla rockin' chairs!
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