Where Democracy and Science Fiction Merge
Sister Michele Morek
September 25, 2020
I am a 2020 nun on the bus, and it is a “Star Trek” experience.
Instead of climbing on a bus Sept. 25, I walked to the back bedroom of our home in Roeland Park, Kansas, turned on the computer, and — “Beam me up, Scotty” — I was at a town hall in Buffalo, New York, engaging in my first virtual Nuns on the Bus event.
The 2020 Nuns on the Bus tour began Sept. 21 in Pittsburgh, but the official kickoff was Sept. 23 with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Cory Booker, Mary Kay Henry of the Service Employees International Union, the Rev. Willie Barber II, Amy Jo Hutchison, and the Rev. Otis Moss III. I especially liked Amy Jo, who gave a vivid personal account of what it’s like to live in poverty in America.
The bus trip will conclude with a national rally Oct. 23 after crisscrossing 16 states with 63 live events, including town halls and site visits, spreading the message: “Who we elect matters.”
I jumped on the bus because I am worried. How can we have a democracy if we can’t talk to our family or neighbors about things that matter?
The first stop I made on the bus was the town hall for “Spirit-filled voters” in Buffalo. After a quick Zoom tutorial, we heard from Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, the Catholic lobby for social justice that organizes the bus tour, and three of the Nuns on the Bus — including me! — about why we are multi-issue voters.
All attendees got to talk to each other in small groups in virtual breakout rooms about how our faith informs our political engagement. (It is always good to start a conversation with discovering shared values.) We also discussed what issues we care about and why we are multi-issue voters, before coming back to share in the large group.
From the discussion, I picked up several good tips about how to talk about difficult issues:
- Tell a personal story about why you feel the way you do about an issue. (Nobody can argue with a personal story.)
- Ask them how their stories brought them to hold their values and opinions.
- Listen with attention and compassion.
The really cool thing about this virtual tour? Whether you are a nun in real life or not, you can be a nun on the bus in an interactive game. Personally, I am well on the way to coloring in my bus for a prize. Click on the website to see the many wonderful activities and features. And then just say, “Beam me up, Scotty!”
And follow Network on Facebook and Twitter.
[Ursuline Sr. Michele Morek is Global Sisters Report’s liaison to sisters in North America. Her email address is email@example.com.]