wsoft.heart Featured in Michigan Citizen

This week, Grace Lee Boggs featured some of my recent entries about presidential candidate Barack Obama in her Living for Change column of the Michigan Citizen.  Having been a movement activist for over 50 years, GLB has a keen sense of the pulse of our nation, and I have always appreciated her dialectical analyses.  Together the Boggs Center and members of Beloved Communities Network have been discussing the significance of Obama, the movement that surrounds his candidacy, and the potential for Obama’s campaign to spark actual change.

Below is the full text from Living for Change:

A New Generation, Out of Obscurity
By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan  Citizen,  Feb. 17-23, 2008

If you want to know more about  the young people who are making Obama’s
presidential campaign not just a fairy tale,  you need to read their
blogs.

Here are the reflections of one blogger:

She  begins with excerpts from a speech by Obama during his first state
senator’s campaign in  1995 (which she found only after Obama had
inspired her to re-engage with electoral politics),

“…What we need in America, especially in the African-American
community, is a moral agenda that is tied to a concrete agenda for
building and rebuilding our communities,…

“…What if a politician were to see his job as that of an organizer, as
part teacher and part advocate, one who does not sell voters short but
who educates them about the real choices before them? As an elected
public official, for instance, I could bring church and community
leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or
lawyer. We would come together to form concrete economic development
strategies, take advantage of existing laws and structures, and create
bridges and bonds within all sectors of the community. We must form
grass-root structures that would hold me and other elected officials
more accountable for their actions.”

Then she speaks for herself:

“This moment that I hadn’t anticipated has clearly come. We have a
presidential candidate who not only engenders our belief in his ability
and integrity, but pushes us to transform ourselves.

“Obama has a subtle and beautiful undertone in all his messaging. He’s
talking about all of us doing this thing called democracy together. He
can’t get away from the spotlight and the adulation that many, myself
included, project onto him, but I think he’s asking us to become
something higher than ourselves.

“Obama is the first presidential candidate that has successfully built
a campaign around Gandhi’s ‘be the change you want to see in the
world.‘ This is where I love his background  as an organizer. It’s the
first time I’ve seen someone effectively articulate the need for each
of us to become engaged in the process, rather than spouting more
politics-as-usual rhetoric. This is the kind of leadership this country
needs.”

I know the young woman who wrote this blog <http://wsoftheart.com> .
After graduating from college, she became an environmental justice
organizer in Detroit where she was also active in the Detroit Asian
Youth Project, the Detroit Summer Collective and the League of Young
Voters campaign. From her own experiences as an organizer, she can
appreciate the difference between aggressive campaigning and the
“simply meeting people where they are” community organizing of the
Obama faith-based mobilizations.

She believes that another world is both possible and necessary and
that we must change both ourselves and  the world in order to slow down
global warming, to   keep five million of the world’s children under 5
from dying of malnutrition and disease every year,  and to stop the
commodification of all our human relationships by corporate
globalization. To realize her own humanity and to make this country a
beacon rather than an enemy to the world, she is committing her heart,
hands and head to creating this new world.

Like many other young people whom I have met on college campuses and
in community organizations all over the United States , she is like
“the pitcher who yearns for water to carry” (in Marge Piercy’s poem To
be of use).  She isn’t just looking for a job.   She yearns for work
that is real.

Obama is the catalyst that has brought this new generation out of
obscurity onto the historical stage.  But they were already in the
wings.

These young people are our children, our grandchildren, our nieces and
nephews.  We should be encouraging, supporting, joining them  in the
many ways in which they are rebuilding, redefining and respiriting our
communities.  Our future and  the future of our communities, our
country and our planet depend on  them.  We can’t  leave it all up to
Obama.

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  1. Bryant

    Wow, I didn’t realize how engulfed you were in Obama’s campaign. It’s really exciting reading what you have to say about him and to see your renewed energy for electoral politics. We should catch up some time! Good luck with the campaign – it’s been so inspiring seeing what just might become reality in 08 – a progressive African American president! I’m about to faint.




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