This letter was, of all things, "snail mailed" to participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study in June, 2014.
In brief the letter described some of the most important background stories and related philosophies of the study from my personal perspective.
(As of today, May 19, 2016, I am realizing how forward looking this letter was in its attempt to explain my motivations for conducting the study which, in the future, I will elaborate upon. However, my earlier efforts to explain myself, as in the letter below, did not even come close to elucidating what was actually in mind and my mind's eye that prompted the study design and procedures, I don't think I was as clear on what I was seeing, prompting my investment in the project. In hindsight I realize I was already "seeing" a landscape unfolding but could not yet articulate, even to myself, what I was seeing. Just as I have not been able, to date, to say fully "what I saw when I was blind" of 9/11.
More to come on this as Election 2016 develops and the aftermath we will see of it.)
The study was officially launched on January 1, 2012. Originally projected to be a four year study, concluding data collection on December 31, 2016. The wrap-up date has now been extended indefinitely due to assessments we believe to be necessary to complete our analsysis, including of the present Presidential Election campaign cycle.
One update, however, is that the initial goal of interviewing four hundred people in four different categories has also been amended to three hundred with the eliminating of one category group. (We are, by the way, more than halfway to our goal.) The group, identified as follows, having been eliminated for very interesting reasons relevant to the study which I will intend to discuss at a later time.
Group eliminated from study --
1. 25-100 adult persons participating in either Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous
For further details, inquiries and participation,, please contact me, Anastasia, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Possible Human, Possible Society Study Participant,
These questions spurred my own contemplations on the subject. Because I was in a distant and foreign land, I reflected on this point with the added spice of the views these people offered back to me.
At the time, I was aware of only one or two personal perspectives on this state of affairs. The first was that after close to thirty-five years away from Washington, I had only returned one time with joy and hope. I had ventured into D.C. a few days after Obama’s election. I wanted to feel the upsurge of spirit, wishing that the Washington I had loved might rise again.
Although I had been very much engaged in high profile Washington (1965 – 1974), the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated I watched the Washington I loved “burn” from my high rise apartment near the Pentagon. That day was truly the beginning of the end of my active love affair with our nation’s capitol. The Watergate scandal finished it off.
Still, one cannot end a serious love affair and just simply walk away. Thus in 1974, I began what was to develop into a life-long passion to understand the Dark Side of Washington and its affairs. And, to do, with this understanding as a base, what I could to aid the transformation of it. At least, as best as a single, yet devoted and heartbroken idealist can. My first husband and I had, originally,come, after his college graduation, to Washington for JFK’s “Camelot.” Both of us, also, remained nearby these many decades later.
While I was not, particularly, enamored or impressed by Obama, I was somewhat intrigued by his platform that seemed rooted in an expansion of a national grassroots’ effort. With these in mind I returned, in late December, 2008, to Maryland with Obama’s inauguration near.
Having previously discovered the pitfalls of inaugural balls and other related revelries, I observed the happenings from a distance. Yet the spirit of celebration did not pass me by. And, given that I was a lifelong Democrat, I was satisfied for the moment. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder at the seeming naiveté of our new president, especially in his perspectives regarding the Washington political game. After all, I had been a player in it, having served clients in the White House, on Capital Hill and throughout the lobbying community.
Oh, well, thought I, let’s just wait and see. But social activist that I had become, by then, waiting and seeing was not quite enough for me. That’s when I, first, designed the Possible Human, Possible Society Study. I imagined that from my own grassroots position, as Executive Director of New Horizons Support Network, Inc., my organization and myself, personally, might help further Obama’s grassroots’ agenda.
Somehow, though, this idea of mine did not take root very deeply. So I shelved the study for a time and went on to other things. Then, in July, 2011, with the debt ceiling debates grabbing daily attention with outrageous partisan blaming, hostility and polarization, I came to believe that our country was in an irreconcilable mess. And, that no one, on either side of the aisle, could or would, competently – and – graciously, lead us out of it any time soon.
At that point, I turned my attentions away, as much as possible, from Washington, once again, taking to the hills (one of which, calling itself a mountain, I live upon) to initiate and develop the Possible Society In Motion Project. Of which the Possible Human, Possible Society Study is the focal point.
From that time on, officially beginning January 1, 2012, I began a new love affair; a love affair with you and others such as you; the various and sundry people who make up the regional community, residing within the one-hundred mile radius of the Washington, D.C. White House. You, the soon-to-be participants of the Possible Human, Possible Society Study!
From then on, I began asking each and every one of you that seemed interested and appropriate about your hopes and dreams for this country’s healthy future; your perspectives on how we might find our way out of the painful polarization that has overtaken our country. I asked for your personal opinions on how we can grow together and move beyond our differences.
How we could, again, be that one nation, under God, we set out to be. (Given that I come from a small town in Ohio this is the view with which I grew up.)
Maybe the Camelot that, originally, brought me to Washington will forever remain the myth it has always been. Nonetheless, each and every day I spend engaged with participants, such as yourself, in the study I designed after leaving this country for a time, I am heartened by all of you.
Nonetheless, I have one regret in the carrying forth of this project. I have been unable to adequately communicate on a regular basis with,you, as a study participant. You see in doing the interviews I came to know how very important are the bonds of community-unity that we build with one another. These connections are precious and require care. Our busy world does not offer us much opportunity for this.
Initially I attempted to call or write participants to keep you updated on study progress, developments and projects. But soon there were so many enthusiastic participants I could not manage this. Next I tried to post blogs to keep you informed. This format, as it turned out, seemed to be both too impersonal and difficult to manage in terms of detailing, even the bare minimum of unfolding and, frequently, inspirational perspectives and personal stories.
After all, who would want to miss out on the “good news” in these trying times?
Thus, secondarily to my expressing my gratitude to you, I am writing this letter by way of pledging to keep you better informed, from here forth, on developments of New Horizons most “awesome” Possible Society In Motion Project and its related study. (Dare I say so myself?) My intention is to do this by snail mail, if possible, believing the old-fashioned way to be so very much more personal and, thus, more appropriate for the very special ways in which this study has been evolving.
While we, at New Horizons, strive to improve our communication with you, our treasured study participants, please know the immensity of my gratitude for your participation to date.
From the bottom of my heart, as well as the top of my intellectual, research-oriented mind, I humbly thank you for the hope and inspiration your contribution to the Possible Human, Possible Society Study has brought me.
The generosity of your transparency, time and support have shown me the stronger stuff, beyond polarization that we, Americans, are made of, regardless of who it is that sleeps in the White House!
We, the people, shall overcome!
With boundless appreciation for your participation in the study I designed,