Recently President Obama was in Ann Arbor, Michigan campaigning with Congressman Gary Peters who is running to fill Senator Carl Levin’s seat that he will vacate to retire. The President was speaking at a campaign rally. He seemed relaxed, funny as if he were enjoying himself.
He turned to raising the minimum wage where progressives and Democrats are circulating petitions to raise the minimum wage.
Clearly, the President and his folks think the campaign to raise the minimum wage is not only important for America and our people, but also good politics. Of course, they are right since according to the poll we Americans favor raising the minimum wage by about 2–1. That’s good policy, good values and morality, and good politics.
So, during the campaign rally, when President Obama talked about how the Republican Senate candidate opposed raising the minimum wage, the crowd quite rightly booed.
And the President said, “Don’t Boo, Organize!” Of course, it was a reference to iconic union organizer Mother Jones’ wonderful quote, “Don’t Mourn, Organize!”
There’s a lot of wisdom in both quotes. It is the only way we win, the good folks win. It is only when we are united and organizing and mobilizing that we can win. That truth is as old as human history and as full of joy, tragedy, victory, loss, highs, and lows as all of human life is. For some of us, organizing is how we live, what we’ve built our lives around, knowing that moving average people into collective action is the best and most important thing we can do with our lives.
And I’m reminded as I write this exactly why we struggle.
- We struggle to save a semblance of democracy and save the labor movement.
- We struggle to continue the long march to Healthcare for All, Medicare for All, to raise wages and living standards, to live our values in a public square.
- We struggle to defeat the Financial Elite and their schemes to take this country and all it’s economic value and send us all back to the 21st Century version of pickin’ cotton and choppin’ cotton.
- We struggle to save our water, land, Mother Earth, and one another.
- We struggle to eliminate the concept of the other from human life, and to embrace the reality that we are all One. Just as we are all One, the struggles are all One.
I’d say it’s time for us all to get busy. Take it from one who’s seen the view from the mountain and from the bottom of a wagon rut, jailed, beat up, given up on, who’s wept alone at night waiting for the joy to come in the morning. Who’s grinned just because another soldier was grinning and singing with refusal to be beat.
Through it all, “The going up was worth the coming down” as Kris Kristofferson sings in “The Pilgrim, Chapter 33.” Thanks, Kris, my friend. Thanks President Obama. Ain’t no quit in us.
Photo source: FB/Fightfor15