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What Does Democracy Look Like?/Revolution Of The Heart, Pt. 2

Hello readers, please take a few minutes to read the previous blog before digesting this one. While I am definitely shifting gears, what I am writing here clearly connects to what was already expressed. I think it has something to say to progressive organizers.

In my life, I have come to realize that the most paramount factor is other people. Think about it, unless you live somewhere deep in the Himalayans, and somehow have a fully sustainable yurt with near-daily air drop services -- you probably interact with a lot of different folks. You learn from them, you share good and bad times with them. You struggle and debate with them. If it's someone you click with socially, you thoroughly enjoy hanging out and sharing life together. At least, that's it in a nutshell for me. 

As I previously mentioned, listening is a required part of communication. It is also socially required to show respect for your fellow human beings who you encounter. I like the old idiom, "You are given two ears and one mouth to show you that listening is twice as important as speaking." Sometimes, I need to remind myself of this basic bit of wisdom. And it's an important ethic to keep in mind when you are organizing with other intelligent human beings. Again, respect, basic dignity -- it's something we want to promote in the world we are trying to bring about.

Next, I would like to discuss elitism and exclusivity vs humility and inclusivity. Both are important to understand and be aware of when we are building places to organize our campaigns for a more just, egalitarian, and all around better world. We need each other, see second paragraph above, and really we are a stronger collection of organizers when we welcome each other in and genuinely want to utilize each other's ideas, as well as blood, sweat and tears. And we want to be on guard against tokenism. We truly want full participation, we ideally want a diverse group of folks bringing a wealth of experience and creative ideas, as well as their heartfelt dedication to our campaigns. The danger is to think that your one small clique has the best and most useful answers when it comes to group messaging, or group strategy. You don't. Not yet. I really don't think you do, until you first listen to your participants. If you find yourself falling into an elitist clique-think, just take a breather and try and swallow a humility pill. Remember, it's always best to be willing to try and incorporate folks, and draw on their cool ideas. It ought to be your organizing mode default. It's called collectivism, and you can do it.

Furthermore, once folks feel like they are being respected and included, they will naturally buy into the campaign. Therefore being far more committed to making sure it wins. It's pretty simple folks, it hearkens back to the golden rule.

Now to shift gears once again, let's discuss another one of the most important factors in life: Fear. Yes, the terrifying F word. There's so much in life we are afraid of, such as: Threats, Injuries, Loss of Income, Loss of Family, Loss of Friends, Loss of Love, Illness, Darkness, Water, Those Who are "Different," and ultimately Death. Too much to cover in this blog entry. But perhaps I will cover the first one and the last two, both in the context of the current presidential election and progressive organizing on campaigns to bring about a better future.

Donald Trump is a threat. I think nearly all sane people realize that. But let's look at it real closely, why he is a threat? A lot of it is because of what he says. But also, threats don't always come true. I see Trump as a con-man, and a former pro-choice Democrat. How was he able to win the Republican nomination? He utilized FEAR, which is very effective. But, also he noticed that the whole climate of our corporate duopoly in control of politics, well and our appetite for Reality TV. And he already stared in a Reality TV show that was a success, a huge success, we are talking so much success you are going to be sick of the success! OK, humor aside, I hope you get my point. Trump is a threat, but how much did we let him become one?

I think voting for the lesser of two evils [100% about FEAR] for decades now has given us Trump. It has also given us Hillary Clinton. Take a look at her, her record (she actually has a governmental track record, unlike The Donald), and also take a look at her campaign and her former campaigns.

Hillary Clinton is extremely duplicitous. She has changed her position (or at least the intentionality of the verbiage on her position) on many major issues facing the country and the world. HRC has also often denied that she previously held the opposing position. HRC is being touted by a lot of my liberal/progressive Democrat friends as the Lesser Evil. These include people I have been to many a protest with, really good folks. But they are stuck in FEAR. Fear of the orange-haired boogeyman. Forget about all the neocons lining up to cast their ballot for her (and not uncomfortable sharing this fact with all their buddies and fan clubs), forget that she has sold fracking to the world, forget that she has called people deplorables and basement dwellers, forget that she has routinely given multi-million dollar speeches to powerful and corrupt Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, forget that she voted for war in Iraq, that she orchestrated the war in Libya, and that she has laughed about it. Forget about the DNC emails that talked about the planned and orchestrated undermining of Bernie Sanders' campaign, about the Taco Bowl outreach to Latino voters. Forget about it!? She is not the lesser evil. There is no lesser -- EVIL is evil.

"When you choose the 'lesser evil,' you are still stuck with evil." ~ Dorothy Day

My fellow human being are often controlled by their fear. It leads to irrational behavior and decisions. Yes, I was going to address Those Who are Different and Death. Both are important when discussing America and our place in the world.

Racism has a central role in American history, and our society today. Whether you are voting for someone who calls Mexicans rapists or good little Miss Housekeepers, or, whether you are calling black youth Super Predators -- the fact is you are part of the problem if you vote for them. You really are. These are people who are widely seen as leaders, many see them as the ultimate leader. You are going to vote for people who throw about bigoted remarks and helped promote the completely failed War on Drugs and a system of mass incarceration, which has thrown millions of nonviolent people of color behind bars for most of their lives? Really? What are you afraid of?

And what sort of places are we creating as progressive organizers? Are we creating safe spaces that are fully inclusive?

Now, the final one. It's what is waiting for us all at the end. Death. Those who have near-death experiences, almost always come out of it viewing their life differently. Having those very close to us die, this happened to me very recently, makes us realize how precious life is.

Our country, the US, has the capability to inflict death on the world. A few times over. In this presidential election do you hear either candidate discussing the hundreds of thousands of nuclear warheads we still possess?

Then there's also a much slower global death, such as sea level rise and atmospheric adjustments due to climate change. The US could lead on this, but most often does not. Has this matter been brought up in the presidential debates, and will it?

To sum it up: Life is brief. Make it count. I want to make it clear that what we do matters. In every moment of our life. Do you want to make decisions motivated by fear, either fear of a potential implied repressive government (hell, we already have one), or fear in a lack of capability or agreement with your fellow co-organizers?

I personally prefer to make my decisions out of hope, certainly my experience plays a part, but so does my vision of the world I want to leave behind for those I love who will come after me. Let's be consistent to ourselves and our own goals motivated by there greater goal to accomplish a better world.

I leave you with a couple good references. Two concepts I have found useful in my own experience…

Spokescouncils and clusters



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