A friend forwarded this email to me. It was sent to him by a friend of his, as a way of urging him to vote.
Today is Election Day. The Tea Partiers and the cynics are hoping we all decide not to do anything and stay home.
Today Common Dreams published the transcript of a speech Bill Moyers gave this past Saturday night as part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series at Boston University.
It’s rather long but we encourage you to read the whole speech.
Here’s the final paragraph:
But let’s be clear: Even with most Americans on our side, the odds are long. Money fights hard, and it fights dirty. Think Rove. The Chamber. The Kochs. We may lose. It all may be impossible. But it’s OK if it’s impossible. You heard me right. I’ve learned something about this from the former farmworker and labor organizer Baldemar Velasquez. The members of his Farm Labor Organizing Committee are a long way from the world of K Street lobbyists. But they took on the Campbell Soup Company – and won. They took on North Carolina growers – and won, using transnational organizing tactics that helped win Velasquez a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation. And now they’re taking on no less than R. J. Reynolds Tobacco and one of its principle financial sponsors, JPMorgan-Chase. Some people question the wisdom of taking on such powerful interests, but here’s what Velasquez says: “It’s OK if it’s impossible; it’s OK! Now I’m going to speak to you as organizers. Listen carefully. The object is not to win. That’s not the objective. The object is to do the right and good thing. If you decide not to do anything, because it’s too hard or too impossible, then nothing will be done, and when you’re on your death bed, you’re gonna say, ‘I wish I had done something.’ But if you go and do the right thing NOW, and you do it long enough good things will happen-something’s gonna happen. Shades of Howard Zinn!”
I hope you will join all of us in the Common Dreams community in defying the polls and the cynics by going to vote. We can’t give up “because it’s too hard or too impossible”.
And no matter the results of today’s elections, Common Dreams will be here for you going forward, bringing you the breaking news and views from the best progressive voices of our time.
“Do the right thing NOW” and go vote. Good things will happen,
for the whole Common Dreams team
First of all, here we have the typically lame progressive stratagem of attempting to motivate their base of voters by conjuring up the dread twin specter of the Tea Partier and the cynic. You see, because the enemy isn’t a bankrupt political system, it’s a (largely) media-created and driven non-movement and their apparent allies, those dastardly malcontents who are tactless enough to notice the steaming turd on the carpet that everyone else is desperately trying to ignore.
Secondly, I’m not sure what the passage by Bill Moyers quoted above has to do with voting. He’s talking about a labor organizer who won concessions from some big businesses by “using transnational organizing tactics”—not by dutifully plodding into the voting booth and hoping that one of the two available corporate-sponsored candidates would actually do something to help his cause.
(I didn’t read the Moyers piece, so I’m not sure if he’s actually endorsing voting; it seems, from a brief skim, that he’s just talking about “organizing.” Although it wouldn’t be entirely out of character for him to go on and on about the corruption of the system and then turn around and extol the virtues of “democracy.” Moyers strikes me as a well-meaning and serious guy, but ultimately a true believer in the US government and its institutions.)
But nevermind, just get out and vote. Good things will happen, says the guy from Common Dreams. He got the “Dreams” part right, anyway.
And for additional reading enjoyment, check out this compendium of progressive voting scolds.