More than any other place I have ever lived, Washington is a talking city, an environment where words are simultaneously the most precious and the cheapest commodity. Words serve as weapons of political warfare, badges of honor, markers of identity and demonstrations of expertise. Language is employed to build up and tear down. In a town like Washington, the exercise of power means framing the conversation. The real game here is about dictating the terms of the debate.
A real nonviolent revolution in this country cannot be simply about economic indicators; we must transform the very culture we live in, including the way we speak and make decisions together. It is truly a beautiful thing when we really hear one another and experience solidarity spreading throughout the room. Nevertheless, this way of hearing is much more difficult to achieve when we are all worried about whether we will get a chance to speak.