Monday, March 16, 2009

The Great Balancing Act

There are only two major ways to affect change in this country. The first is the easier at first and the harder as we continue and the second is the opposite. While the latter tends to end smoother, both the former and the latter do nothing but displace the time of struggle for change to either the beginning or the end. Both methods work equally as well in theory, it is the conditions that exist in society that decide which method is best.

First, I'll take the example of public school integration. This is an example of forced change by a figure already in power. The struggle starts at the beginning and slowly calms from there. Remember the Little Rock Nine. The most difficult part was the first step. I won't say it was easy therein out but it was less difficult as time passed, a year, two years, and ten years.

Second, I'll take the civil rights movement in the 1960's. This was a groundswell change, a grassroots movement. It collected power slowly over a period of years and the most difficult challenges only came when the group was big enough to cause actual difficulty for the status quo. It became harder until it reaches a peak, civil rights are (for the most part) achieved, and the difficulties faced slowly recede.

As I said, both ways work equally well. So why is this important? It is important because when trying to get your way, you must realize the situation that you are in. If you have a figure in power that supports you then you take option A; if not, you take option B. To take B Path when A is available is a waste of time because change could happen so much quicker. To take A when B is available could mean the crushing of your movement for years or even decades to come.

Likewise, balance is important. Every movement must have balance. They must have a Malcolm X for every Martin Luther King Jr. There must be an extreme to make the mainstream look more acceptable.

Additionally, we must know our part and stick to it. It we are a radical, we would be damaging to our goals to work with moderates. If we are a moderate, we would be damaging to the credibility of the radicals.

Personally, I would readily admit that I am a radical. I want things to be fixed now. I want to see egalitarianism today. No excuses. No BS. No time to waste. I don't compromise. I don't change. And I don't tolerate the bargaining of my equal rights. Period.

I want a world where no one goes hungry. I want a world where no one goes homeless. I want a world where the health of every person is paramount to profit. I want a world where I can walk down the street with another man and not be sneered at. I want a world united instead of a world divided based on ideology. I want a world where haves and have nots are not permanent categories to which people are stuck. I want a world where every person is treated with respect and dignity regardless of what they believe. Period.

No exceptions. No bargains. No anything. Period.

And that's fine. I won't work with those who are willing to bargain my civil rights, my health, my well being, my food away. I'm going to continue to fight my battles. And not because I think I will win. I know that I probably won't win. But in rejecting moderation and pushing the envelope I pull others towards moderation from the opposite extreme. And, you know what, I'm fine with that. At least for now, we're moving in the right direction.

No comments: