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Fri May 23, 2014, 12:40 AM

Regarding White Folks



"We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society." -- LBJ; May 22, 1964


It was fifty years ago today, Rachel Maddow has reminded us, that President Lyndon Johnson spoke of his dream -- of the Great Society. It was a beautiful dream, though US involvment in Vietnam turned it into a nightmare. Ever since, the corporate media has done everything possible to convince the American public -- you and me -- that the very concept of the Great Society is impossible at best, disastrous in practice.

Indeed, one need only look at American society today to see that it is divided even more between the masses, or the 99%, and the economic elite, or 1%.

It is, in my opinion, a situation that can only be confronted at the grass roots up. All politics are local, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan said. A foundation for a true constitutional democracy -- capable of bringing about social justice -- needs the grass roots foundation to be built upon.

Yesterday, an old friend running for a seat in Congress and I had an interesting conversation. Although he lives in another state, today's technology easily allows me to assist him from a distance. I'm volunteering as a speech writer.

The night before, I won re-election on the local school board. Today, I spoke with some leading democrats in our region, about my running for state office this fall. I also spoke with leaders from the Democratic Left, so that I can run on more than one slate this fall. While computers will play a role, a lot of this can only be accomplished by an investment in shoe leather.

I also met with a teacher from a NYC art college. He is publishing a book on the need to protect the environment. I added a list of quotes by Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman, specifically about the power of clean water.

There has been so much going on, that I wasn't able to travel to Cooperstown today. President Obama was scheduled to vist the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was supposed to talk about tourism -- which was ironic, as the Hall of Fame was closed to the public today. Groups from across the state were prepared to show up, to rally against hydrofracking.

I believe that these public demonstrations are important. It;s an activity that is protected by Amendment 1. But, if we are to move towards becoming that Great Society, we have to do more than demonstrate. We need to begin to Occupy Public Office.

Peace,
H2O Man

12 replies, 1617 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Regarding White Folks (Original post)
H2O Man May 2014 OP
butterfly77 May 2014 #1
H2O Man May 2014 #2
hootinholler May 2014 #6
H2O Man May 2014 #9
panader0 May 2014 #3
H2O Man May 2014 #10
bigtree May 2014 #4
Supersedeas May 2014 #11
H2O Man May 2014 #12
KoKo May 2014 #5
Supersedeas May 2014 #7
KoKo May 2014 #8

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 01:07 AM

1. That can't happen because...

 

in their eyes every crime on earth is committed by blacks,and in many cases their laws have created the criminals they now fear and they aren't just blacks.

If you keep your foot on someone's back for decades do you think they are just going to sit their and take it. The you is not you H20...

Unintended consequences and they keep on digging.

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Response to butterfly77 (Reply #1)

Fri May 23, 2014, 08:58 AM

2. Thank you.

The title to my essay has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of it ..... it was simply a joke between me and myself, a feeble attempt to get DUers to read my OP. Old habits die hard -- and I enjoy the opportunity to comment on the latest outrage.

The essay itself, which is hopefully more important, is a serious statement on the need for the grass roots to be active in the most important areas available to them.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Fri May 23, 2014, 10:23 AM

6. I'm glad you mentioned it

I was looking forward to hearing your views on the latest outrage.

I was wondering if I had missed the connection, or, if rather the message was to simply ignore the latest outrage.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #6)

Fri May 23, 2014, 11:54 AM

9. I read a lot

of the OP/threads that have graced DU:GD recently, on that topic. But I hadn't responded to them. At some point, I will likely address some of the issues involving "race" that I think are important. Obviously, it's a topic that often creates tension -- and I think that tension, used properly, can be a good thing.

But after a long day, I had gotten home near midnight, and while relaxing with an Irish stout, was focused more on the topic of grass roots activism.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 09:09 AM

3. Congratulations on your re-election to the school board.

Onward to state office! You are a fine example to the rest of DU.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #3)

Fri May 23, 2014, 12:20 PM

10. Thanks!

Last night, I met with a small group -- ten people -- to discuss campaign strategy. The group included teachers, social workers, college students, a librarian, and a psychologist. Now, that's a collection of talent, of a type that far too often is not engaged in getting their own elected. That includes having one of their own elected to local office, which reduces the chance of electing someone who has shared values at the next level. And that results in other people being able to take their votes for granted.

During the last few election cycles, I've worked with grass roots groups, to get good people elected to village, town, and county positions. We haven't won every contest, but we've won most of them. That has been the result of identifying the common ground shared by members of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Left (and winning some republican votes). The few defeats have come when these two groups have been divided -- and as you know, the republican opposition invests time and money attempting to create and exploit those divides.

I wouldn't ask anyone to do something that I'm not willing to do. So with this state senate seat up for election, I have asked the various groups that I work with -- in five counties -- if anyone was interested in stepping up to the plate? Without exception, those I've asked have said that they want me to run. So I ran it by my children, and they all want me to.

I've long kept track of election results numbers. No question that I'm the underdog. But I think that I can win.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 09:40 AM

4. 'we have to do more than demonstrate'

 

One of the reasons that I began to participate in political debates and advocacy was the realization that there is a myriad of opportunity to influence the political process and in the advancement of my ideals into action or law. Alas, . . . I am inextricably hobbled by the (deliberate) indiscretions of my youth (and some of my adulthood) in seeking a more public role in all of that, but I've taken advantage of every opportunity that I'm able, because I can see and understand what a collective effort it takes to elevate those ideals and an even greater collective effort to make them a reality.

So, it is with admiration and great interest to see and hear of the progress you are making toward representing your ideals in a decidedly more personal and accountable way. That is, I'm certain, a reflection of your own integrity and character.

I very much agree that our advocacy needs to have a legislative focus, if it is to amount to more than just argument, or even agreeing among ourselves. So, I very much appreciate your emphasis on affecting the legislative process through direct personal involvement and accountability and wish you the very best in your state and region.

Many inspiring and significant debates - and political and protest actions - as you know well, have come out of your state and region of the country. Must be the exposure to an abundant amount of sunshine, or, maybe in the water!

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Response to bigtree (Reply #4)

Fri May 23, 2014, 02:12 PM

11. agreed

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Response to bigtree (Reply #4)

Fri May 23, 2014, 04:39 PM

12. Very interesting.

Thank you for this response.

My brother has asked me if I'm ever concerned that the opposition might attempt to use my past to smear my reputation. I was an angry teenager, to put it mildly. As a young man, I was involved in what might be called "radical political activism." And there are some people who still view me that way.

In fact, when I was first running for the school board, one of the principals told the assistant superintendent that I was "a wild-eyed radical" and "nothing but trouble." Neither of them had ever met me. The assistant superintendent and I have become friends. He told me that, when he first met me, he thought I was scary. While he is rather conservative, he now realizes that my contributions to the school have value.

That principal still gets nervous when talking with me. I don't get it -- I don't think I have wild eyes. However, I understand and appreciate what you said about how one's past can be used to confuse the public about who we are today.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 10:14 AM

5. Good to see an update on your activities...

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 11:08 AM

7. Occupy Loudly in Public Office

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri May 23, 2014, 11:20 AM

8. btw....

We are busy here in NC pushing back...pushing back.. We are lucky to have "Common Cause," "ACLU," Private Foundations and others like the Reverend Barber, NAACP, with coalition of multi-denomination Churches speaking out and joining the Reverend Barber in the "Moral Monday" Protests. Our University Students and many Faculty are involved and we are giving it everything we've got to turn out the Koch/Alec "Republican Appointees" we've suffered with since 2010. We are doing it on our Own. Our Dem Party is in a bit of disarray and Eric Holder has not done what he could have done to help us when he could have stepped in with blocking the Voting Restrictions Bill the Repugs rammed through. He said the DOJ couldn't "gather enough information it needed to block the voting restrictions until after the "Mid-Term" elections."

Anyway...glad to see good news on your efforts going forward in NYS.

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