Beware Those Devilish Details
- 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
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
Sometimes, we get so lost in the details that we
forget why we are here fighting for a better world.
have to keep remembering to keep our eyes on the prize.