Saturday, June 23, 2007

We Shall Overcome




I like sixties ephemera of all kinds. This is a photo of an original button from the mid-sixties civil rights movement. Given the current sad state of affairs in the United States under Bush and around the world, I thought this one was particularly appropriate as I launch my blog. Despite all the darkness, corruption, greed, inequality and war, it is important to remember that change IS possible, a better way of being is available to us... "We Shall Overcome"... IF we learn the lessons of history: change will not come from institutions of power, they are followers, not leaders, when it comes to social justice. They must be compelled to act. Change will not come from saints or deliverers. If we wait to be delivered to the Promised Land by some saintly figure, we'll be waiting a long time. History is clear on this point, particularly in the 20th century. The most meaningful change throughout history has most often come when ordinary citizens get together, share their experiences and struggles, and decide to act together to force change. When enough citizens stand up courageously and speak truth to power, institutions and leaders respond. Social movements are the key to real change. Citizen action is crucial to achieving a more democratic order. Frederick Douglass famously wrote, "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters…. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." So, those of us who want a different way of being need to roll up our sleeves and get to work...

Similarly, it is important for us to understand the system we live under, to name the enemy, so to speak, but we can't just bitch about how bad things are. It is equally important for us to offer a prophetic and visionary alternative to this dehumanizing system that values profit over people, division over unity, war over peace, destruction over creativity, control over freedom, tyranny over democracy. If we only critique the system, but offer no solutions, no vision of a better way, we run the risk of disillusioning people and turning them off to the possibility of change. The flip side of idealism is cynicism and cynicism is paralyzing. I hope this blog will name names, but also offer solutions. This is the challenge of our era...

3 comments:

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere, Dr. Jones -- it is excellent to have you blogging and I am looking forward to keeping up with your interests and insights...

    You know anything about the League of Young Voters?

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  2. Thanks, Joe. Glad to have you aboard, too. This only works if there is some kind interactivity to it. We shall see how it evolves...

    Haven't heard about LYV. What's the buzz?

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