“Can you blame my generation?” - NaS and Damian Marley, My Generation
Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer were executed earlier today. I watched it unfold via the tweets of friends and news organizations via Twitter. I watched the emails stream in from progressive organizations that I’ve allied myself with (at least via email subscription if not monetarily or through real action) and…
And I did nothing.
I guess that’s not true. I did do some small part in advocating for Troy Davis. I did sign an online petition a few days ago. I did send a letter to my congresspeople and to the State of Georgia. I did spread the word via social media.
But, on the real? That’s not enough. Not nearly enough.
“I heard change start with the man in the mirror.” - Lil’ Wayne, My Generation
Last week, the universe was talking to me.
If you don’t like the current iteration of America, you need to remember that you are America. The failure to build a more progressive America isn’t merely a testimony to dastardly evil, it’s a testimony to the failure of progressives.
It was in response to something Matthew Yglesias had written
If you’re a progressive and you feel that the political system isn’t doing what you want, it’s misguided to look at this as a personal failure of elected officials. It’s, if anything, a personal failure of you and people like you. Justice and equality doesn’t just happen because it’s nice, people need to make it happen. If it’s not happening, then its advocates are failing.
And then, my dad made it plain with some well known words of wisdom in an email he sent
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Right. I’ve been frustrated. Angry, really. If I was asked one of those key political pollster questions, “Is America on the right track?” I’d have to answer in the negative.
And, yet, I go about leading my idyllic life being mad at the politicians and the talking heads instead of questioning my own lack of activism.
Jon Stewart, last year, when Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin were rallying all over the place, said something to the effect that reasonable people are too busy going to work and taking care of their kids to be out doing the same thing.
Maybe that’s true but, you know what, it’s not good enough.
Not for me, anyway.
“If we all come together, they can’t divide one.” - Lil’ Wayne, My Generation
But the question is, what to do? What do I care about? Where do I fit in?
It isn’t the rallies and the public displays of outrage. That’s not my thing.
No, I think it’s policy. It’s really defining for myself what the issues are that I truly, passionately care about and working to make those changes happen whether with the organizations who align with my world view or on my own.
Someone on Facebook posted earlier that politics and such are really no different than religion. They are acts of faith. It’s about what you believe.
I believe in the ability of government to improve people’s lives.
I believe in the social contract and social safety net.
I believe a civilized society should establish laws that appeal to it’s citizens best selves.
I believe everyone should feel welcome, equal, valued, and protected.
This is what I believe.
Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer were executed today.
I failed them.
What am I going to do about that?
"I hate losing. I refuse to make the same mistakes." - Black Thought, The Fire