Friday, December 23, 2016

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

“The left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. "

-Bill O'Reilly, Fox News

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I admit that I am embarrassed by the post-election opposition to Trump.

Millions of dollars were raised by the Greens for a recount that went no where. It was obvious from the start that the actual outcome of the election was not going to be changed by the recount. Was anything found that has identified a practice that must be stopped, or a reform that must be made?

Millions of signatures were collected in an effort to change the minds of the electors. The result was that GOP electors held firm, while leftwing Democrats started wandering off to other candidates, including Sanders. Not a shred of strategy and coordination visible to the naked eye. Again, the chances of success were so small that the effort was guaranteed to fail. It was not only doomed to fail, but doomed to never even get off the ground.

Now, I read that we are all supposed to turn our lights off the night of the Inauguration. Because it can be seen from space! I doubt it. And who is up there to be impressed?

The whole safety-pin thing was equally ill-considered, promising more than could be delivered.

It seems that the talk of churches becoming "sanctuaries" is also very premature. Most churches don't even have showers.

The requirements of leadership include not leading people on wild-goose chases. Having a strategy beneath the tactics. Not projecting images of ineffectuality or frivolity. Not promising more than can be delivered. Not endangering people and institutions without careful consideration. Demonstrating a realistic sense of what is possible in the moment and what is not. 

I'm not saying that every campaign has to be for a winnable reform. But if you say that you are calling for a truly massive demonstration on the National Mall, you better have the capacity to get more people there than can be counted.

Huge numbers of people are frightened and boiling mad. The leadership that will turn this moment into a movement has not fully emerged yet. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. (Remember how the massive demonstrations against the War in Iraq did not give birth to a mass-based antiwar movement once the war started.)

I am looking for the emergence of serious leadership. I suspect it will come from the sources that have been effective leaders in the past, and from the communities that have long histories of struggle: the sparkplugs of the sustained movement for Black Lives, the North Carolina Moral movement, the protracted struggle for the water at Standing Rock.

But enough of the silly, symbolic, and substance-free campaigns.