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Beware Those Devilish Details

By Kim Knox

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
ó Gospel Song/Civil Rights Anthem

In commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, the African American Museum and Library in Oakland showed a series of films on civil rights and civil right leaders. Several films and many of the leaders profiled in the films pointed out that there were times when different civil rights groups fought with each other.

Some organizations felt that the movement was going too slowly; others thought that it was going too fast. Some leaders felt that nonviolence was the key to success; others felt that nonviolence slowed down the process.

Many of us face the same complaints within the progressive movement today.

An example is an event where the original plan was to invite all of the progressive elected officials to celebrate the local progressive victories of November 2004. (Itís better than crying about the loss in the federal election.)

After every progressive elected official was invited, vocal protests led the organizers to change their minds and limit the celebrities to Greens and endorsed Green candidates. They felt that it should be a Green-centered celebration. So I went back and disinvited all of the non Green-endorsed candidates as gently as possible. ("Good news, you now have an evening free!!")

Then a month later, someone from the organizing committee ran into a non-Green progressive elected official. When the official asked to be included in the celebration, the committee decided to change the invite list to include all progressive elected officials. A full circle in four weeks.

The fact that they changed their minds isnít important. Nor is the fact that everyone who was disinvited, got invited again.

Whatís crucial is that we are still celebrating our victories in November 2004. The details of whom to invite to celebrate that victory are just that ó details. The prize is the victory at the polls.

Sometimes, we get so lost in the details that we forget why we are here fighting for a better world.

We just have to keep remembering to keep our eyes on the prize.