Saturday, August 30, 2008
Go Towards the Motion
Bayard Rustin (above, click to make it bigger, it's worth it!) was a major figure in the Civil Rights movement. Although most everyone gives Dr King credit for the 1963 March on Washington, it was Rustin who did the lions share of the organizing. A black, gay, Quaker activist, Rustin left his mark on so many progressive movements. He argued. He struggled with his peers, and with his own demons. Made the mistakes we humans make. But he MOVED while he argued, struggled and took some harsh criticism.
As I look at the upcoming presidential campaign, I think of Rustin. I wonder what he'd be thinking and saying and doing. Would he chastise Obama for not being perfect and distance himself? I think not. What Rustin said once has stuck with me. Referring to progressive activism, he said "Got TOWARDS the motion" if you want progressive change to occur. Move. So my thought would be that he'd have some strong, eloquent criticisms, but he'd move TOWARDS Obama and engage rather than pout and go write a book or something. Becuase THAT is where the motion currently lives. Instead of going on TV to attack, like so many cowards do.
I've been noticing lots of talk about Obama on a wide variety of progressive blogs. Lots of stuff that usually comes out saying somethin like "I don't like everything he's saying, but I'll vote for him...I guess. Sigh" These long conversations keep happening. People spend too much time listening to the pundits, reading their favorite progressive blogs, patting themselves on the back, and criticizimg Obama for not being perfect. Which of course he's not! So who's out there, knocking on doors, phone banking, in places like Mauston or Reedsburg in more rural, conservative Wisconsin? Or are people sitting at home, watching the tube and doing nothing? I have been doing too much nothing. Rustin's challenge to me and to all of us is to "move towaqrds the motion". Which means to engage, to raise the energy, to make change. Real change. Speeches don't make change. They aren't change. The good speeches move people in deep places, put them in touch with their desires...for change from the horrible course we've been traveling as a country.
Like the Gatorade commerials that ask " Is IT in you?" Change IS IN YOU! Change is in me. It's moving towards the motion of life. To choose McCain is to choose death. There's not much motion in the McCain campaign. So I'm challenging myself-----and everyone who calls themselves liberal or progressive OR conservative, to move towards the motion and do more than waste energy in intellectual vaudeville.
Move towards the motion.