I'm sitting here today, tooling around the DailyKos site, reading a few diaries because its too damn cold to go anywhere (yeah, I'm in Georgia, but anything under 60 degrees might as well be the Ice Ages to me).
As I read through a diary titled "Honestly, I don't know if I can remain with the Democrats if they fail on healthcare", I wondered if my fictional political consulting group, BlackSheep Political Consultants, wasn't onto something yesterday when it jokingly suggested to Democratic incumbents that they all need to run for Congress as if they are the black candidate.
Maybe those of you in the progressive political camp who are faltering need to rethink your perspective.
Maybe you need to think about the fight for healthcare reform the way black people fought for the right to fully participate in American society - a struggle that took over a hundred years, a struggle that had its ups and downs, its naysayers and malcontents, as well as many, many setbacks along the way.
It was a righteous movement that could not be stopped, and in the end, it was a minority within a minority group that simply wore down the opposition, once they learned how to use the media to their advantage.
There are many parallels to this struggle for civil rights, which we are still even today working to protect, and the struggle for comprehensive healthcare reform.
I'm not a progressive, or a super liberal, or anything in particular - just a guy who tries to avoid labels, because I can and do support what I want, when I want, but I will say I enjoy the energy here, and the level of thinking, which on some days can be superb.
I've been working on a new video piece all week that seeks to give a non-minority viewer a different, more intimate, more visceral understanding of what discrimination looks like when you are its target.
And all the while, all the media tidbits that are flying by me on the web, Twitter, the news channels and the newspapers I read point to a different reality than the one we are being sold.
600 people in Nashville, at what is arguably nothing more than THE CRACKER CONVENTION, a new millennium version of the White Citizens Councils that sprung up all over the south in the 60's when the exact same kind of white people I see on my TV today felt they weren't getting their way anymore, are considered a major news event because they can pony up a hundred thousand dollars for a speaker who can't speak?
The news reporters themselves can only characterize this Tea Party phenomena as a mish mash of splinter groups, with varied names, similar platforms, no visible leadership and no sustainable fundraising apparatus. They are the flavor of the week, though, the same way progressives were eighteen months ago.
I've watched the Daily Kos site decide to raise money and pull in 500K over a weekend in response to a single issue. I've seen this site give the campaign of Michelle Bachmann's opponent new life in less than 48 hours, and bring a no-name guy within a few points of winning.
YOU HAVE THE POWER.
The modern civil rights movement was not a few marches across a few bridges - it was pockets of resistance that began after Reconstruction, itself the offspring of the anti-slavery movement, pockets of resistance that resulted in broken black bodies but not broken black spirits. It was the culmination of decades of legal precedent, hundreds of legal test cases brought in locales large and small, rural and urban, that built an immovable pyramid on which the favorable decision from Brown V. The Board of Education rested.
It was many years of cold chicken, dank buses, run down heels, sore feet, tired legs, weary arms and hoarse voices that went on before the cameras came, before the pictures that said a thousand words began to turn the tide of decency in the right direction.
The civil rights movement was fought on a thousand fronts by part timers and some timers who worked for free, the same way you guys do here. In case you missed it, the key word in the last sentence, and the most important idea in this long ass piece is A THOUSAND FRONTS.
YOUR ENEMY CAN BLEED TO DEATH FROM A THOUSAND CUTS.
Trying to knock your enemy's head off in a single blow is hard. A thousand cuts, from a thousand different directions, delivered simultaneously and relentlessly, is how my father got his first job with the federal government, whose southern offices were still not inclined, even after it was the law, to hire qualified black people for any supervisory positions in the mid 1960's
In the Daily Kos website alone, which is by no means the be-all and end all of your allies - many of the people who believe the things you do have never heard of this site - but at this website alone, there is the power to do so much for free.
Take for instance, the Sarah Palin versus Rush Limbaugh debacle. Why can't this site ask its hundred thousand plus members to blitz the media with calls for Sarah Palin to repudiate Rush Limbaugh's YEARS of "insensitive behavior"? How hard is it for a few of you to do some video compilations of Rush - "The Top One Hundred Greatest Rush Limbaugh Insensitive Remarks Tape, Vol One"?
The media is lazy - they'll bite.
And even though it is only tangentially related to the healthcare reform problem, it will put two players in the opposition out of commission. That's two voices who will lose a few thousand supporters over this. A few thousand here and a few thousand there and pretty soon your lazy media friends will sense some weakening - whether this is next week or next year or five years from now, IT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The same way it made a difference when the Bull Connors and the George Wallaces began to look less like regular Americans and more like the bigots they are.
YOUR OPPONENTS ARE ON THE ROPES.
The Republicans in office are between a rock and a hard place - they cannot appeal to Tea Baggers without losing Independents - they have a much, much harder push than you can imagine, and a party chairman they cannot fully rally behind.
There are some of the smartest brains on the planet floating through the Daily Kos website - all that brainpower won't do any good, though, if it is spent thinking up the newest way to put down people who don't care what you think anyway.
KEEP UP THE FIGHT.
If healthcare reform was important yesterday, then it is important everyday, the same way black people's quest for civil rights was not a flash in the pan moment, but a multi-generational effort that was ceaseless and relentless, no matter how tired they got, no matter how discouraged they got, because they knew if they quit, there would be no more progress.
The only choice we have in this country is healthcare reform - that is a given - whether it will eventually come under a Republican administration or a Democratic one is the only real variable.
YOU NEED TO BE IN CHARGE WHEN IT HAPPENS.
A thousand cuts, even loosely coordinated, can and will bleed your enemy to death if you commit to it week in and week out, no matter what your emotional state is.
So let's get to cutting some enemy ass.