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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.

Gary Barg: 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 time?

Gary Barg: Yes, all of the time.

Sam Harris: 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 was it.

Gary Barg: 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. Absolutely.

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, thankfully.

 

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