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The Sam Daley-Harris Interview (Page 1 of 2)
Gary Barg: Congratulations on the
20th anniversary of
Reclaiming Our Democracy – Healing
the Break between People and Government.
You were one of those truly memorable
teachers I remember from high school and
I have been keeping up with your
accomplishments over the years. You are
really making a difference. That is all
you can ask for in life.
Sam Harris: It
has been a crazy, wild, unexpected
journey. I have been very blessed.
I know you talk about mouse click
advocacy. Can you explain what you mean
when you say that?
Sam Harris: Yes.
I do not know if you get an e-mail once
in a while that says, “If we can get
10,000 signers or 50,000 signers, we can
make a difference on this. Please click
here.” Do you get those from time to
Yes, all of the time.
Yeah, I think I get four a day. But a
Congressional office gets 500, or 1,000,
or more. As one friend said, “They count
them, but they also discount them.” They
know people just lifted a finger, set it
back down on the mouse, and click; that
I so agree with that. I was keynoting an
event in Ohio. After my session, a state
representative who was very involved in
elder care and healthcare turned to me
and said that he would rather get a
piece of a paper grocery bag where
someone got a pencil and wrote out their
thoughts or complaints, stuck a stamp on
it, and sent it to his office than any
of those emails that the mouse click
advocacy groups send him. His point was
that for every one of those people who
dropped the paper bag in the mail, he
knew there were at least 1,000 with the
same thoughts who just hadn’t put in the
effort she did.
Sam Harris: Yes.
Gary Barg: This fall is the 20th anniversary of
the book Reclaiming Our Democracy –
Healing the Break between People and
Government... which, by the way, I think is
a terrific book. What other message do
you see in there for a family caregiver?
Sam Harris: I talk about this
fellow who is 73 now—how he just wanted
to live and be left alone. But then, he
takes on a more audacious kind of life.
His family has a famous Texas soda pop.
He begins getting some inheritance money
from the company in the 1980s, so he can
give money away. He connects with an
orphanage and school in Mexico. He is
working with Rotary and making a
difference. All of a sudden, he finds
out that he has prostate cancer. They do
this surgery and they do not get it all.
He finds meaning in his life with his
volunteer work. He said, “I get this
money coming in where I can make a
difference, even bigger maybe. I find
out that I might not live that long.”
This is, of course, 25 years ago and he
is certainly alive and kicking,