Monday, February 6, 2017


We are just two weeks into the new President's administration, and already there have been myriad protests. Most prominently, fewer than 24 hours after the inauguration, millions of women and men participated in Women's Marches the world over. One week later, tens of thousands of people of all stripes showed up at airports across the nation (with nearly no advanced coordination) in protest of a cruel and punitive Executive Order.

The United States of America was founded on the back of a rebellion against the overreach and heavy-handed rule of a British King and his empire that imposed rules and expectations with few checks on the King's power. Our nation's history is rooted in mistrust of power, coupled with a general trust in the will of the people (allowing for checks on that as well through legislative and judicial levers of power).

What we're seeing in these dark times has the feel of a revolution. But we mustn't forget that revolutions are about much more than marches and rallies. They're about organizing, legwork, and lots and lots of mind-numbing time and effort.

The first act of Les Misérables concludes with a soaring anthem calling brethren to arms in the French Revolution. But where that song ends, and at intermission the theatre lights come up as the curtain drops... that is where the real work begins. It's very easy to be a part of the chorus "singing the song of angry men;" it is far, far more difficult to be a part of the crew volunteering to write the monthly newsletter, to organize the phone tree, to collect email and mailing addresses, and to set up meeting dates, locations, and times.

Revolutions fail not so much when they overreach as they do when they allow all the energy and enthusiasm at their initiation to fall away, without gathering that up and setting it into direct action. And they fail when people see less value in the organizations that already exist than some potential new organization that will take a great deal of time and effort to create. Yes, we have need of new ideas -- and let us not create them at the expense of all the time and effort of the generations and organizations that precede us.

This is why I encourage everyone reading this to get involved. It doesn't matter right now if your involvement is local, state, or federal. Find something or somethings that you care about, and volunteer. Contribute money and time. Share their message with others. Organize events on their behalf. Just do something that is beyond your comfort zone while still in keeping in with your core values and purpose.

And when you make this effort, look for those issues and areas that could be better addressed or just addressed differently. Be vigilant, and stay focused on organizing. The real need for shiny, new ideas will reveal themselves over time, and your time and effort now will only enrich and strengthen your future choices. In the meantime, get involved, be vigilant, and don't let up.

As the Les Miz anthem continues, "When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes."

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