Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Pursuit of Change

Many of us activist types want wide sweeping change. Well versed in political, social, and moral matters and quite aware of the world around us, we are motivated to give voice to needed reforms. We see so much which could be so much better. Our hearts break. A sense of righteous indignation swells within us. We lash out against the old ways that hold us back and wish to usher in new ways which will liberate us.

Having recently involved myself inside the political process to some small degree, observing the hierarchies, strata, and pecking orders, I have come to realize, with no small degree of frustration that the current political system is not geared for wide sweeping change. The candidates of both parties are indebted to special interest groups and other powerful lobbies which wish to preserve the status quo. Any change made from election cycle to election cycle often focuses on one key area. Its effects are minor and especially minor when compared to all which desperately needs to be accomplished.

From time to time, massive change will be undertaken by our elected representatives. However, much of it is intrinsically negative in character. I cite Watergate, the Iraq War, Vietnam, and Iran-Contra as a few recent examples. These are the exceptions, of course, rather than the rule. Likewise, I'm sure many of you readers could propose any number of monumental policy decisions that turned out to be greatly beneficial to our country. But as we are well aware, most government undertakings can be easily reduced to mere minutia and fine print. Occasionally moments of political theater and stirring drama come to the forefront but these remain relatively rare.

Rather than decry what cannot be done, I would much rather focus on what can be done. I would much rather focus on one particular issue and push it a fraction of an inch forward. If I succeed in doing so, then I will consider it to be a great triumph. I will tacitly concede that the world will always be broken and that there will always be a great need for change, although nothing puts fear into the hearts of people so much as that.

In my mind, the best candidate running in the Democratic primary is Dennis Kucinich. He speaks his mind without fear and best articulates the desires of the liberal base. He is willing to both attack the current administration as well as to attack the current complacency in the Democratic party. He's another in a series of liberal darlings who in appealing to activists and intellectuals, unintentionally alienates the rank-and-file. Kucinich does not fear to use constructive criticism; he does not sugar-coat. Yet, as my father often pointed out, most people can barely stand constructive praise, much less constructive criticism.

Kucinich is too left-learning to attract the sort of widespread support needed to win the Presidency. I wish it weren't so. There is nothing America needs more than a dose of tough love. Kucinich advocates wide sweeping change and as much as that thrills me, and thrills many of my fellow activists/bloggers, I realize yet again how resistant most Americans are towards their own best interest.

I have worked, to a very small degree, with the Obama campaign. I did this is out of a desire to keep Hillary Clinton from winning the nomination without much of a fight. I do not regret it, for it provided an excellent education in the way the current process works. I have observed the current political structure as it current stands. I find it full of egos, deceptive games, power grabs, subterfuge, and other such dubious virtues. The more I observe politics, the less I like it. If we out here in the netroots really want to make our voices held we have one of two options: play ball or propose a different way. I am neither wise, smart, or influential enough to do it by myself. This is why I try actively to get more people involved in this large-scale grassroots effort called blogging. For every person I convince to put their voice out there, I celebrate.

1 comment:

FranIAm said...

This is really well put and so true.

Having always had an interest in politics, I am both fascinated and distraught over so many who just tune out.

We live in a very self-absorbed society that finds great efforts for personal gain and little for communal thought, action and activity. Hey I think I am pretty self-absorbed... maybe that's why I am interested in issues. I want the world to be good for me, but honestly its no fun if it is just for me is it? Nope, not at all.

I wish more voices would speak and be heard.

We must engage if we want the world to be a better place. That sounds a bit like a foolish platitude, but it is just true in my eyes.