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Possible debate happenings: Twinkling, waving fingers

[For fuller comments on the Governor Debate, see onthewilderside eyewitness account: here.]

KW: Thoughts and points of information on the
Hofstra, NY Governor Debate of 10/18/2010
(This is kind of a message in a bottle.
I am typing it at 3pm, and setting it to post after the debate starts…)

So, part of the audience instructions for this debate ask for the audience to be silent. I, personally, think that is somewhat patriarchal and unnecessarily hierarchical to demand silence. After all, it is bad enough that we only have a participatory democracy, so we just say YES or NO, and then one of these people pretends to represent us. At least, when the people we are testing out to represent us speak in public, we — the voters and citizens — should be able to express our concerns or affirmations. Though, as a guest of the event, I have decided to follow the rules.

Still…There are ways to cast ones vote for what is being said on the stage. Of course there is the exuberant smile, frown of disapproval, or worse, the shaking of the head in the negative. I imagine all of these signals will be used. Though, there is another signal that some folks in the audience may be able to fall back on. And, I am writing this post partly in case it is used to the confusion of the live and/or television audience.

It is a tradition used by activist people, studiers of nonviolent communications, greens, and Green Party members to use “The Twinkle”. I wonder if anyone will use it tonight? I will if someone says to end the wars!

Twinkling means putting your hands in the air, palm forward, and wiggling your fingers. It is kind of like a wave, a sprinkling of your own, magic energy to add to the good words, a sign of great approval. And, the twinkle is actually written into the consensus process for some groups, including Green Party groups. Twinkling is a very bonding, cultural thing for greens. Now, there are some people –even greens–who think it is silly, or should not be used in public. Actually, when you look online, you probably find more critiques of green twinkling then examples of it. Though, twinkling happens, and I think it is useful and empowering.

Since Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins will be on the stage, and since the Green Party has some fans and supporters attending, I imagine that there may be some silent twinkling happening in the audience at Hofstra tonight.

For background, here are some references to Twinkling in the Green Party:

The Green Party of Texas uses twinkling as part of their consensus process for facilitated meetings. It is in the guidelines: here. “Silent applause or “twinkling” – holding hands up and wiggling fingers is a non-interruptive way to show support for what is being said.”

At Liberty, published on September 2004, in the article, “The Color of Envy“, Tim Slagle notes: “The Greens gather in Milwaukee to nominate a presidential candidate and fight Big Coffee, Big Beer, and Big Printing. — Some people did this weird thing that reminded me of a Grateful Dead show: they raised their arms up in the air and wriggled their fingers rapidly. I found out later that this motion is called “twinkling.” It is a gentle form of applause for those who are committed to nonviolence, and the Greens love to do it.”

The national Green Party — GPUS — even mentions twinkling in its “Process Manual”: here.

One Response

  1. […] But that material feels heavy to me. The ‘occupiers’ have taught me some new tricks, namely, that the point is to have fun. To enjoy ourselves. When the police are penning us in to smaller and smaller spaces, the ones in the know – start playing music. They dance. They twinkle their fingers. (If you don’t know what twinkling means, click HERE.) […]

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