“I don’t think we can rely on governments, regardless of who is in power, to do the work that only mass movements can do. I think what is most important about the sustained demonstrations that are now happening is that they are having the effect of refusing to allow these issues to die.”
Quote by Angela Davis, from, “We Have To Talk about Systemic Change”, ” an interview published in her 2016 book, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle.”
The context of this quote is the public demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown by police.
This quote, however, is especially relevant today as our complicit officials and masses crown Donald Trump our 45th President of the United States of America.
Yes, I said it.”Complicit,” using the dictionary definition, “involvement as an accomplice in a questionable act or crime.” This is a proper descriptor for those who directly or indirectly, willingly or unknowingly, through complacency, had hand in promoting, practicing or passively allowing the Trump machine a place of such power knowing full-well his promise to demolish or gut strides made on behalf of equality and the environment.
Slate Magazine’s Osita Nwanevu, wrote on January 16, this suggestion. “There is everywhere a new enthusiasm for grassroots political, labor, and community organizing. All of this is good. None of it is enough.” What is more effective, says Osita, is deciding to run for office, local, state or national.
Comparing this to Angela Davis’ quote that we cannot count on governments, but need to emphasize grassroots movements, is to me not contradictory to Nwanevu’s point for getting into politics.
What is needed is solidarity...knowing who will champion the causes of the oppressed and most vulnerable.
We need people inside and outside the so-called “beltway” and in the highways and byways and alleyways of our country, making themselves not only heard but a united force, which can strike at the heart of what all politicians fear most…recall…or being unseated in the next election cycle.
This is why I joined the local chapter of Equity PAC, whose purpose it is to support equity-minded candidates to run for office on any governmental level they can manage.
For those of us who do not, or cannot, heed the call to public service, we must build on the courage and the examples of the Women’s March on Washington, going on as this is written, or the Occupy and Dakota pipeline resistance groups.
What we cannot do, not now or ever, is shrink into complacency, now that Trump has been “sworn in” as president of a divided country.
Let’s go back to the election and remember what put him in the While House.
What I contend is that, as usual in this country, people voted based on what they thought is “good” for themselves. We are an incredibly selfish people.
Think about it! Did we for one minute think, “I are not voting for myself or for my children. I am voting for the oppressed and those who will be hurt most by this or that candidate’s policies.”
All the candidates, throughout the entire pre-election circus, said they were champions for “the middle class.”
Will we ever, ever hear a candidate say, “I am running on behalf of those in poverty. I want to make life better for those who have been disenfranchised in this country. Those who are not, on an economic scale, even considered close to being “middle class.”
Until and unless a candidate is honestly willing to put their reputation on the line for those in poverty, we will never have a president for “all the people.”
Dr. Martin Luther King is often quoted as saying, “Sunday morning at 11 AM is the most segregated hour in America,” referring to the ethnocentric houses of worship we have here.
To me, the time in the voting booth is the “most selfish moment” in America. We only vote in candidates who we think will better our personal lives, and if our poorer neighbors get a lift, OK too.
Given this self-centered worldview, we must acknowledge we are blind to the true needs of “others” in our society, and, upon whose backs most of the real work is done here in America for the least wages and most exploitation.
Yes, we need to encourage people of good faith and intentions to get into public life. But we must then hold those we trusted with our votes to be accountable not to re-election, and not even those who put them into office. We need elected persons, and those appointed to non-elected offices, to put the poorest among us FIRST!
When we see that, we can see our way to an American that can be … better.
The struggle continues. Spurred on with new vigor because Trump is in the whitest of White Houses, and because we care for a nation of people he cannot see from his tower of power.
Centrists are calling for dialog, being willing to compromise, to “work across the aisle.”
What we need first, before we “dialog” is to know where we stand. What we will never give away. What we are morally and ethically bound to uphold.
We need to own the struggle. It has many names. Many voices. Many faces. We must remember we ARE the struggle if we are anything, or anyone, at all.
The Unlikely Student