from my state – literally and figuratively – and other places. i'm not in florida any more, but i haven't given up the sunshine.

1.03.2006

patience, perseverance … and the quest for effective impact

for four years, i spent a november day joining thousands of people from all over the u.s. in columbus, georgia protesting the school of the americas. (video) with our tax dollars, the school provides training to soldiers from latin america which has resulted in injustices from peasant massacres to murders of many human rights activists in countries to our south. at times these weekends seemed like festivals with booths pushing politics, patches and petitions from all walks of liberal life. other times the somberness was chilling as the crowd chanted, in memoriam, the names of the dead and disappeared.

i haven’t been in the last two years, disenchanted with marching and watching others – nuns, college students, vets for peace – get arrested with no readily apparent progress toward the goal. but human rights awards, legislative progress and solidarity from organizations like the catholic peace movement show that momentum is building, however slowly.

although sometimes hard to recognize, there truly are compelling stories out there of victories accomplished by a group of souls who band together toward a cause. it’s the recipe for success that’s difficult to distinguish.

a recent mother jones article points out 2005 david (vs. goliath) style victories like those of the coalition of immokalee workers, and cindy sheehan and supporters.

the moveon 2005 report is particularly poignant. a movement that could have died along with our hopes of ousting w in 2004 instead grew to more than 3.3 million members and raised more than $9mil for candidates/campaigns (with an average single donation of $45). more importantly, moveon has built an important voice.

a note senate democratic leader harry reid asked me to send on to all of
you:

to the members of moveon: i know congress can often seem very far away. but when you folks call, and write, and hold events that demonstrate how much you care about something we’re doing, it really wakes people up. your voices remind me and my colleagues that democracy works. i see the impact every day—you’re forcing congress to answer to the people, not the lobbyists or the white house. and i’m looking forward to fighting alongside you next year.

and here’s what a bush aide in the white house told a reporter for the conservative weekly standard: “obviously the bombardment of . . . ads and the earned media by moveon et al. had an impact."

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