Maybe the most radical thing someone can do is become a volunteer for the local literacy society.
Last night I went to hear Jim Scott sing at the Unitarian Church in Brunswick. I worked with Jim back in the late 80's and early 90's when we came to Florida to participate in our peace pilgrimage that walked from the Florida-Georgia border south to Cape Canaveral. Over the years Jim would sing at various protests we held at the space center calling for an end to the militarization of space. Jim, former guitarist for the Paul Winter Consort, has traveled the nation for years playing and writing songs about peace, the environment, and the spiritual side of life. It was a real pleasure to see him again after so many years. He had been living in the northwest but has moved back east to Massachusetts and comes up to Maine now and then.
This morning I heard from another old friend from Florida, Tom Levine, who I knew when I lived in Orlando 15 years ago. Tom, a real character, ran for city council while I was there and had the best homemade campaign signs ever. I remember one that really got the public's attention - "Save Water, Shower with a Friend." I used to put his signs in my front yard but a city worker who lived in the neighborhood kept taking them down....that was life back then in conservative Central Florida. Tom has a new book about the unrestrained development that has ruined Florida. He is calling it Paradise Interrupted.
One way the progressive community can do a better job in communicating our message with an increasingly illiterate public is through music and the use of public art. We all need to think about that and talk with local artists about how we can involve them in finding creative ways to "talk with folks."