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This diary is a takeoff of davidseth's excellent diary, Rant!! The Jobs, Part II that was on the community spotlight header a few days ago.  

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, or at least able to cut through some of the muck, and I have a basic understanding of what's going on with respect to the economy and job creation.  While the davidseth's righteous rant certainly captures a lot of my frustration, I'm moving more and more toward the conclusion that there's nothing that the government can - or will - do to pull the economy out of the fire until there's an almost total collapse.

After finishing reading an excellent book recently (Dancing With Dynamite) on the struggles, successes and lessons from democratic social movements in South America , I started to coalesce some thoughts.  This is my primary takeaway:

We have to stop looking at politicians for the answers, and start looking inward toward ourselves.

More below...

Social movements don't start with politicians, and rarely succeed with the assistance of politicians. Historically, progressive social movements actually fail (or become marginalized, as has much of the U.S. labor movement) because they become co-opted by both political parties and the businesses that the politicians represent.

I'm an old guy; an elder in the tribe, so to speak.  During the course of my life, there have been many social changes and movements that did work, and they worked because the movements forced change, however small or insignificant those changes may have seemed at the time, in the absence of politically expedient response.

Somewhere along the line, the movements, and we (as a country) lost the fire in the belly for collective betterment of our society.  We now let the national deficit emergencies (NDEs) and blue ribbon committees (BRCs) and big fucking deals (BFDs) and LS/MFT's (you youngsters can google that) to dictate our responses to the inequalities and injustice that we see around us, and hope for a better day tomorrow.

It just ain't gonna happen that way.

I could spend days dissecting and explaining why the occupation of Madison, Wisconsin earlier this year got off on the right foot, but then ultimately divided into two hard core camps that worked against each other to the detriment of a common purpose.  That being said, social progress (and setting up firewalls against destruction of social programs and safety nets) is incremental and takes time.  But it also takes the involvement and support of more than just the "illuminati" - those of us who have at least a basic understanding of what's going on - and knowledge transfer to those who don't.

A few days ago, I commented in another diary that perhaps I've always been a cynical person, and only trusted my own judgement and beliefs because of early life experiences.  I don't know.  The bottom line is that someone has to have pretty strong empirical evidence to convince me that my beliefs are flawed.  But presented with such evidence, I am willing to listen, admit that I'm wrong, and can change my POV.  At the end of the day, that is exactly the core difference between progressives and conservatives.

The only way that those of us desiring true social change are going to move toward some sort of solution to the issues is when we start coloring outside the lines, and not expecting (or perhaps not even desiring) a Washington-based response to solve the problems for us.

In yet another diary comment recently, I said that I have been an activist my entire life.  Sometimes I feel like I'm tilting at windmills; sometimes I can look around me and actually see the difference that my small contributions have made to a better world.  I have neither the command of the language to move people to action nor command of the heart of someone like Meteor Blades.  Yes, I have led, but have found that I'm a much better follower when given a task.  Passion only gets you so far.  Organizational skills and the ability to inspire can move mountains.  That's Tim's legacy, and that's my weakness.

As the title to this diary implies, it don't come easy.  I don't know the answers, or in some instances even the questions to many of the issues we face.  One answer I do know:

I am the master of my own destiny.  WE are the masters of our collective destiny, not a group of disconnected politicians in Washington, DC.  True movements and change starts locally.  Find a local home for your passion, nurture it, recognize your limitations, and bring others along with you (if you can) to shoulder some of the load.

Because you know it don't come easy.

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