Southern Beale asks a question about progressive organizations in the state of Tennessee:
But something is really bugging me and I’ve just got to speak up. In short: Why are we so scattered? Why did I receive, this weekend alone, not one, not two, but three invitations to organizational meetings of local progressive political groups? And, of course, two of the meetings conflict.
I mean for crying out loud, this isn’t Berkeley. There aren’t that many progressive activists around here. Why can’t we all be on the same page and focus our energies on a common goal, instead of doing everything in such a scattershot way?
It’s a good question and So Beale rightfully and correctly is addressing this. I have a few thoughts on this as well, opinions actually, and I will throw my 14 cents into the ring.
I can’t speak for Nashville, but I do know that from a statewide perspective, many of us outside the Nashville area have felt this way for awhile. It’s one reason we started Speak to Power (with a link here on why). There are a lot of good and passionate progressives that want to help out locally and statewide. This state, however, is geographically challenged in many ways.
There is also a changing of leadership in the state that never in a million years thought there were so many voices that wanted to be involved. I’m speaking of political leadership as well as activist participation. They are two very different things. There also isn’t a guiding voice, although people try, leading progressives to one common goal. Once again, I’m speaking from a statewide perspective not so much as a citywide voice in Nashville.
During this transition, which I think has been in the works for several years, activists got tired of being placated to. As there was no one shooting straight with them, they started their own places for discussing the issues important to them. The thing to remember is that in this world of constant and effective communication, we still have to put the human element into making sure that we are talking to people. You can tweet or blog or Facebook all day long but unless we are making human connections, social networking doesn’t work. It’s made the world smaller, but there has to be a person behind the message.
I do believe right now that people are trying to make that happen. Effective and creative activism has to be done with an attitude, in my opinion, of bite-sized chunks as is life. Not everything is going to happen in a day.
Southern Beale is right to question ways to connect this more effectively. To take the criticism constructively, how to we combine our voices in each Grand Division, not only in the capital. The thing is that we need to keep looking at ways to do that, realize that not everyone is on the same goal all the time and not let that be a factor because we all have an identical mission.
And that is promoting progressive goals, which are many and wide ranged. We just need to figure out how to use the tools we have effectively.
If we can help from the Western Division, give us a holler at speaktopower at gmail dot com.
We have to remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s not always going to be pleasant but we are looking to make it to the finish line with a win.