Monday, March 5, 2007

On the Importance of Leadership

One question that people who are already involved politically (i.e., they are attempting to get others to step forward politically) frequently raise, and particularly in times such as these, is why aren't there more people coming forward? Why isn't there more outrage being visibly expressed by the public towards the outrageous sins of commission and omission by this government?

In the most general sense, that is, without getting into the particularities of the specific situation one is facing, there are really two parts to the answer to this question. The first is that leadership is key in unlocking the broader participation of the people. If you want others to step forward, you yourself have to step forward in a bold and determined way. In the current situation, the existing political institutions and mass media - and this is the most positive possible way to put this is - have abdicated their responsibilities. They are countenancing crimes against humanity and fiddling like Nero as the earth burns.

In the face of this abdication of responsibility, the fate of the planet lies in the hands of the people. We must ourselves step to the fore and accept the mantle of responsibility that's been abandoned. This is a tough thing to have to face, but a necessary one. Many of us don't feel ready for such a responsibility. As they say, however, necessity's the mother of invention and there it is. We can learn as we go along. Our book, ITP, is a really useful tool in this regard. Taking up the responsibility, making that decision to do so and realizing "if not us, who?" will bring along with it the tools to find your way. As someone eloquently put it this past weekend in discussing the situation, "we're staring at the abyss" and we have to do this or else.

The second part to this question is that we must pay close attention to the fault lines in the situation as a whole and realize that the objective conditions are daily creating the basis for many, many people to move into political motion. There is widespread dis-ease among the people, and for good reason. As I've written previously: the fundamental remaking of the nature of America underway now, the abrogating of long-standing civil liberties and Constitutional guarantees, the overriding of the Nuremburg Principles, the Geneva Conventions, and the UN Charter, the annulling of habeas corpus rights, the legalization of torture, the greasing of the tracks for martial law, the explicit declaration of a "unitary executive" (i.e., an executive branch unaccountable to any other branch or to any one or anything whatsoever) and on and on, are not the actions of a government sitting comfortably in the seat of power. These are the actions of a government that must radically reshape the terms of unity among Americans in order to proceed down the path that they are on of turning the world into a "New American Century"- a world where, in their wild dreams, they think that they can prevent any potential rivals to their empire emerging and where they can crush any resistance permanently. These plans are those of dictators with an extremely bad case of hubris.

As Bob Dylan put it, "accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone, for the times they are a changin.'"

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