1.11.2005

We Don't Need Another Hero . . .

. . . we need millions of them: each of us.

In the two days since we've started up, my compatriots here already have rung my bell a bunch.

When Screwy first posted the concept he refers to in the previous post, I have to admit that my reaction was something like, "What waste of time." One of the reasons the Right has been so successful in the last 25 years or so is that they've been lock-step united. The Left has always been best at factionilizing (uh . . . is that a word?), rarely missing an opportunity to wage battle against itself, often resembling the two dozen or so large gangs running around in Lebanon during the '80s civil war.

I am convinced that the Democratic Party cannot be "reformed", and am further convinced that even if we could move it to the left, it would be pointless to do so. I believe this for several reasons.

First, political parties in the US exist for one reason only . . . to get candidates elected.

Second, candidates, 99% of the time, are politicians. Politicians have only one job - to get re-elected.

Third, political parties in the US are not just "part of the system", they are the damn system. And the system is counter-democratic!

Those of you that were with me from the beginning of ddjangoWIrE recall that I dutifully started with Kucinich, moved to Dean, then nominally supported Kerry, because he was the only ABB left standing. I even thought of going with Nader, but he couldn't even get on the ticket in my state. Thank God, by the way, because he would be a terrible president.

The title of this piece is "We Don't Need Another Hero". It's a Tina Turner riff, theme song from one of the "Road Warrior" flix (pre-transubstantiated Mel Gibson). The message, of course, is that neither Howard Dean, nor Obama, nor Conyers, nor Barbara lee, nor even the farthest-left-leaning politician is gonna fix one damn thing for us.

Systems theory teaches me that people don't change systems; systems change people. The existing governmental-political-social-economic system will not change, no matter how hard we push. It will adjust, if we push hard enough, but if you push hard enough on one area of a balloon, the adjustment consists of a bubble somewhere else on the surface. Push still harder and the balloon breaks. I've never seen a broken balloon get fixed so it's a balloon again. Have you?

I personally am not interested in trying to fix, adjust, or break the system. And P!, I think, is not about building a new party, or identifying hero-candidates, or raging against the gate. P!, with your involvement, is about building a movement based in unifying progressive, populist principles, personally responsible actions taken with others (each other) toward defined goals.

I've only really just echoed John here . . .
There is nothing so revolutionary as determined and imaginative resilience. I'm not interested in changing the system. Changing the system is a zero sum game. For me, revolution is a recognition that punctuated equilibrium is the best description of the way things evolve. I participate in that by completely showing up--body, mind, and spirit. I don't hide who I am in order to game the system. Frankly, I don't know how the system needs to change. I'm not that smart. What I do know though is that the surest way to corrupt the process is by second guessing what I need to be in order to make things better . . .

. . . I can't speak for anyone but myself. What I can do is insist on everyone being able to speak for herself. I've been around long enough to know that kind of commitment can be maddening, but it is not only a matter of social ethics (not imposing the will of the privileged minority on the rest of the world); it's our only hope. It is going to take all of us somehow pulling together if humanity is going to survive another century.
I am, by the way, going to strongly encourage John to repost here some of his absolutely seminal work from lines in the sand. John speaks to the process of balancing personal insight and responsibility with exercizing rights much better than I ever will (which won't, of course, deter me from beating the same drum, albeit with a different rhythm).

C.J. said
The transformation I want to see is so radical that simply changing our institutions wont create it.
Yes. Period.

We need each other. Over the next few weeks, the P!editorial team will be developing some editorial position statements through our consensus process. Please influence us. Let's get to work. Together. You are your own hero.