I have spent countless hours in the Vermont House Chamber listening to a myriad of politicians lobby for, what they believed to be, the will of the people they represent. Last Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to forge a different experience of this glorious space, as I listened to "true" stories.
How unique would our political system be if we applied the same simple rules that we apply to storytelling, to politics?
The story you tell must be;
told in the first person (it had to happen to you and not some distant relative)
without notes, and
within the time limit.
No stand-up routines, no soliciting for personal causes and when you are given the signal, you must finish promptly.
As a listener, you must simply, pay attention. No devices or interruptions.
At the end of the session, the audience will cast a binding vote. If you have not taken the time to choose and practice your words carefully, if you are not fully invested in the story's message, if you are only there to "win the night" you will leave disappointed.
In a time when our politicians care more about their Facebook pages and twitter feeds then they do about funding the libraries that contain real pages and the number of children living in poverty, I do wonder if a few simple rules might help to remind them why we sent them there in the first place.
Thanks to Jen Dole at Extempo for providing Vermonters with the opportunity to listen and tell true tales over the last six years! A longer tenure than most politicians...