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March 18, 2008

Take Back America - Tuesday

-- by Dave Johnson

This was originally posted at Speak Out California

I am at the Take Back America conference in Washington DC. This is an annual gathering of a couple of thousand progressives. You see lots of familiar names and faces here, people you see on TV and in magazines. Just five minutes ago I was saying "Hi" to Arianna Huffington. Earlier today I said Hi to Jesse Jackson...

I was thinking about why people do this. I don't mean the overnight flight with a three-hour layover in Atlanta. (But really, why did I do that?)

I mean, being a progressive is not a big-money gig. So I am attending these great panel sessions and the speakers are very sharp, productive people, who speak very well, and who have dedicated their lives to helping other people. Yes, some make pretty good money, but nothing at all like they could make out there in the corporate world.

Trust me, nobody does this for the money.

I was watching one particularly good speaker yesterday. She was very good, very persuasive, interesting to listen to... and I thought, "I used to do this for products." Now I can't do this for products. Something inside of me will not let me.

It is about being a citizen. In a morning session today Taylor Branch was talking about lessons from the civil rights movement. One thing he said resonated with me. He said, "Citizens in a democracy are all supposed to have an equal share in that democracy, so we ought to act like it." We all have a duty, a responsibility to be involved in bettering our country, and to work to stop the wrongs we see.

That's why.

Posted by Dave Johnson at March 18, 2008 3:22 PM

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Comments

Yes. We have to do what we have to do. Keep it up.

Posted by: Angry African [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 18, 2008 7:53 PM

I was thinking about why people do this. I don't mean the overnight flight with a three-hour layover in Atlanta. (But really, why did I do that?)

***

Betcha that three hour layover looked a lot better after being trapped in that same airport overnight. :)

Seriously though... Mario Savo said it all, a long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away:

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

All the people at that conference were beyond taking part... and I'd be that it isn't a choice, it is a compulsion.

... and really, what do you have to lose by stepping off the treadmill? How much money, how many toys, how big a house do folks really need to be happy?

That's the secret truth that keeps the progressive flame alive, and keeps corporate America up at night: once you've got enough to survive (and it doesn't take a lot), more money, more *STUFF*, doesn't make you any happier. The guy making $30,000 a year is just as likely to be happy as the guy making $300,000 a year.

At least until he or she gets sick (or someone in their family does)... which is why they hate the idea of universal health care, it is the only "stick" they have to beat us with.

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 22, 2008 3:04 AM

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