Mainstreet Women Manifesto for Tolerance: Using Our Power to Make Change Happen

Main Street Question #9:  If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the U.S. immediately, what would you change? (Post 1 of 2. 52 Mainstreet Women in 35 States & DC)                    


“With my wand I’d make dialogue happen again. I’m so tired of intolerance in so many ways. Can’t we just talk?” (Renata, NE)

About 30% of Mainstreet Women voiced sadness and disgust that we’ve seemingly lost the ability to have conversations with one another on Main Street and in Congress. More than ending poverty, inequities or war, and even greater than our desire to feed our children, educate them and keep them safe, the most prevalent response had to do with us – we the people – our personal responsibility for how we talk, think and interact with one another.

“I’d use my wand to do something that impacts everyone across the U.S., I’d create tolerance. Tolerance is something that we could all benefit more from, to open ourselves up and not be afraid of people who are different, who think or look different, to create communication without fear – create widespread tolerance, that’s what I’d do.” (Christina, IN)

Something insidious has happened in the nation. Kathy in Connecticut named it: “the animosity, vitriol and rage is holding us back.” From the opposite side of the U.S., Jada in Oregon said: “I don’t think we’re one nation right now. We’re 50 States that are acting like their own nations with their own identities – not like we’re the United States. I want an attitude of roll-up our sleeves for the greater good of the nation.” Janine from the greater New York area echoed, “We have lost our way.”


Were ‘we the people’ always this intolerant? Mary in Maryland says no: “When I was growing up I didn’t know the political persuasion of my parents’ friends. I want to go back to a time when you could go to the diner and talk about anything and remain friends.”

Many of you voiced this longing to go back to a time when we showed greater tolerance for different political persuasions and different opinions. I confess that I’ve personally been part of the problem. Prior to the 2012 general elections I found myself having supremely intolerant thoughts.  I saw cars with “Women for Aiken” bumper stickers and had a split second flash:  I want to ram my car into that bumper sticker.

Clearly, as Maggie in North Carolina reminded me, a mindset change has to happen! She used her magic wand this way:  “I’d change the mindset of every person in the U.S.! I’d invite everyone to a new mindset – a whole different nature, one that holds the greater good as fundamental, one that emphasizes radical personal responsibility and kindness.”

Lisa in Pennsylvania beautifully summed it up:  “I want everyone to get on the same page to make this a wonderful, peaceful place. I want to have harmony and to work toward the common good in this country. It is a fantastic country and I’m proud of it. Let’s get more on the same page.”


Let’s post our ideas & commitments for action!

From my Main Street perch:

  • I commit to “hold tension in a life-giving way” as Parker Palmer urged in his Healing the Heart of Democracy (2011). I will stick with tough conversations instead of disengaging because I feel like it is a sacrifice of my energy to stay with it.
  • I commit to shifting my mindset immediately when I see acts of free speech that are different than my heartfelt views. I’ll remember to be grateful, not scornful, that I live in a country that promotes OUR right to speak our minds (no more ramming my car thoughts).

Can’t wait to read your comments/suggestions for action to move us from magic wand to daily leading!

All my best, Jone

This is Mainstreet Women Magic Wand Post 1 of 2. Next week, Mainstreet Women Change Congress and find out how many women used their wands to take power into their own hands immediately.


  1. Great post, really enjoyed it!
    — Blair

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