What will you advertise this year? What will you say about your business, yourself, your community? Whether we like it or not, social media puts each of us in the unenviable position of having to say something about who we are and how we view the world. Sometimes all I want to say is that I love a good plate of spicy penne pasta from my local Italian eatery and a stiff gin and tonic. While at other times, I want to advertise my perspective on current events and my community.

Everyone deserves a voice and to be heard but ask yourself if your contribution to the chorus helps or hurts. Dissenting from the main narrative can give focus to an argument, but when we purposefully knock someone down or fail to listen to what our neighbor is really trying to say, only hate is served. We should try to interject hope and awareness into the stream. Tell the world what makes your business unique, what perspective you have on an issue, or what you’d like to say ‘on the record.’ It’s fine if that message isn’t lockstep with the masses. Just get it out there. It’s for the rest of the community to take that message, ingest it, and NOT rail against the messenger. Portland has a bad habit of shouting down a viewpoint that isn’t perfectly aligned with the prevailing cultural zeitgeist. Instead, we should hear everyone out then decide on whether that message helps or hurts our movement towards a more perfect union.  Let’s just listen to the messages, honor the messengers, then decide LATER whether to allow them into our cultural consciousness or to discard them. Every idea or thought isn’t a good one, but I always appreciate the person blurting it out. In 2020, now more than ever, we each get to advertise something. Be honest about what you want to say. For me, I want to advertise that we must all move forward as a collective and find ways to listen with more focus and intensity so that life can be lived in more peace and harmony. We all have the opportunity to make that choice when we advertise about ourselves and our community.

Ask yourself: what was the purpose of locking down the country through April? What were we trying to protect? Was it an old way of life that we want to hold close, or was there something more? Could we envision, somewhere in the deep recesses of our mind, something bigger and more whole and more inclusive? When Portland fully reopens, I want to enjoy an extra stiffy poured gin and tonic at the Side Street Tavern. I want to stay a little longer mashing it up with a friend at Stumptown Coffee.  I’ll be a lot louder at The Backstage over a round of pool because this life is best lived when we are mindful and yell out into the air, “I’m still fucking here!!!” So let’s find ways to meet in the middle and lift up our fellow citizens.

The revolution will not be televised; it will be streamed on the internet.