By Michael McGehee at Nov 18, 2008
I was wondering what would be a good title to describe the Information Age as it pertains to social, environmental, political and economic movements. What is short, simple and sweet?
First, I had to better understand what the message I am trying to convey is. I thought about it.
And thought some more about it.
Then I took a break.
And when I came back to my thought it occurred to me. Despite the massive amount of organizing right at our fingertips we are not much closer to a newer and better world than we were in the 1960s.
I am a newcomer to facebook.com. It has its ups and downs, but overall it is a wonderful tool for people to find other people, social groups and vice versa. I can quickly connect with friends I went to high school with and then turn around and familiarize myself with a huge list of groups.
I am using my page to spread information, awareness and my thoughts on subjects that mean a lot to the health and vitality of our world. This includes just about everything ranging from anti-war to civil rights to environmental protection to freeing of political prisoners and on and on and on.
But I just can't shake away the concern of how ineffective it is. And it's not that corporate consumerism is so powerful or that people are inherently stupid. I don't buy any of those excuses.
I do have a working thesis on which I think closer inspection is warranted. The relevant groups are not reaching folks in a way most folks want to be reached on here. I don't think most want to log on and see images of starved African children, though concern and action should be on their side. Similarly, I don't think people want to read about the degrading effects pornography has on women or how eating animals is morally wrong and environmentally unsound.
What I am getting at is people want two things: entertainment and a solution that shows them what the future could look like.
But that brings me back to something I said earlier that irritates me: "The relevant groups are not reaching folks in a way most folks want to be reached on here." It's the problem between want and need. We want easy, solutions given to us, but we need to learn to think for ourselves, determine our own interests, values, priorities and commitments.
I can share mine and offer what I think a viable solution is but that doesn't really help in the long run. A couple of years ago I tried starting an organization that went no where. I always had the impression that I was talking to people and not with.
Almost a century ago, the socialist labor organizer, Eugene Debs, said:
I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I led you in, some one else would lead you out. You must use your heads as well as your hands, and get yourself out of your present condition.
We haven't come much further. Sure, we have civilized a little bit. We can largely tolerate civil rights for blacks, though we shudder at the thought of tolerating civil rights for homosexuals.
We are Non-Revolutionary Revolutionaries in that the engine is on but it is idle.
All of this leads me to one more quote, the one I want to end with. It is a poem I first read in Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States of America. It is by Langston Hughes and is called A Dream Deferred. We need to pay close attention to his prophecy because there is such a thing as "too late":
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?