While reading the article linked above I found myself mesmerized by effusive emotions in the buildup to Mrs. Robinson’s quotes. It’s nice that the reporter still finds heroes among human beings. Yet the notion of grassroots groups changing the world knocked me out of my fixation with heroism with a dose of unwanted practical thinking.
Grassroots movements do not change the world anymore. At least not in America. More importantly, we should expect our leaders to do that. Why elect a group of people with any expectation that a secondary organizer will be necessary if the general public requires better representation? With the exception of transgender citizens and bodiless American souls floating among us there are no more groups of discriminated citizens! Civil rights assertiveness for classes of people, including transgender rights, is nearing reasonable levels in terms of Federal law.
If we can agree that grassroots groups are almost exclusively built around what they oppose, then using war protest as a reflection is a way to understand my point. Since war and protests always end at the same time there is no way to substantiate the effectiveness of protest. Even if you could, it’s a long way from changing the work to end any struggle against cyclical, ineffective change or lack of it within America.
The way that grassroots has a means of changing the world is through the representatives we all elect. When our elections become 50\50 toss-ups of no representation at the Federal level for almost half of voters (and potentially more than half of citizens) the problems cannot be solved by marching against what we failed to effectively march against when we had every citizen’s best focus on doing so.
Americans need to become better. Better at voting, better at acceptance of what does no harm, less demanding of other’s necessity to mirror our behavior when theirs does no harm and more demanding of the people we do elect as they continue to increase their demands on us. Expect elected leaders to lead as well as manage. Recognize that opposing elected leaders is opposition to those that elected them in larger numbers. Resist protesting the strong leader, the strong fight or the strong group of people you find as your opposition. Instead, educate people on your opinion, be conversant and be open to reconciliation with those other citizens whose votes you find distasteful. We do not have to agree. Yet for the sake of our continued prosperity and freedom we must reverse the course of divisions along idealogical challenge lines.
Mrs. Boynton-Robinson had it exactly right. When she felt herself willing to lead she went where it was most effective – a Congressional election. Grassroots are for staying cool under the tree, not for shakin’ the tree. If you want to rise to the top you’ll have to leave the ground on your way to the Hill.