Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2008

Embrace your inner misfit

I can't imagine two people who have had a bigger impact on the struggles of the left than Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein. Would you be interested in knowing what motivated them to become activists? Or hear them have a conversation on topics like:

Something worth giving your life to
Making ripples
Blending journalism and activism
Online activism and street activism
Walking towards the fear
Embracing your inner misfit

Thanks to the work of This Brave Nation, that's possible. Here's the video of that conversation (its about 25 minutes).

You can find the video here

As a bonus track, I'll just add that Brave New Foundation has teamed up with Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks to produce a weekly show called Meet the Bloggers (think blogger version of "Meet the Press"). Here is the first episode from last week featuring an interview with Ariana Huffington and a panel discussion including Liliana Segura, Baratunde Thurston, and Marcy Wheeler on whether or not Karl Rove should/will …

Turtle, Crevasse, and River

What do a turtle, a crevasse, and a raging river have in common? I don't know. Perhaps you can tell me after reading these words of wisdom that, for some reason, came together in my mind today.

The Turtle
by Mary Oliver

breaks from the blue-black
skin of the water, dragging her shell
with its mossy scutes
across the shallows and through the rushes
and over the mudflats, to the uprise,
to the yellow sand,
to dig with her ungainly feet
a nest, and hunker there spewing
her white eggs down
into the darkness, and you think

of her patience, her fortitude,
her determination to complete
what she was born to do -
and then you realize a greater thing -
she doesn't consider
what she was born to do.
She's only filled
with an old blind wish.
It isn't even hers but came to her
in the rain or the soft wind,
which is a gate through which her life keeps walking.

She can't see
herself apart from the rest of the world
or the world from what she must do
every spring.
Crawling up the high hill,
luminous under the …

The Drum Major Instinct

I would suppose that most of us have heard the following quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.

But I wonder how many of you, like me, did not know that this quote came from a sermon with the same title as this essay? Yes, MLK was talking about The Drum Major Instinct when he said that.

Yesterday I read the sermon, and I'd like to share some of it with all of you. He gave the sermon on February 4, 1968 at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, exactly 2 months before he was assassinated.

Dr. King st…

May you live in interesting times

This old Chinese proverb is said to be a curse. I suppose that may be true, but we only live in the times in which we live. History will have to be the judge long after we're gone about whether or not that was a curse.

According to Wikipedia, Robert F. Kennedy was one of the first in the United States to use this proverb at his Day of Affirmation Address to students at the University of Capetown in June 1966. The main message of this speech can perhaps be found in these words of his:

So the road toward equality of freedom is not easy, and great cost and danger march alongside us. We are committed to peaceful and nonviolent change, and that is important for all to understand--though all change is unsettling. Still, even in the turbulence of protest and struggle is greater hope for the future, as (wo)men learn to claim and achieve for themselves the rights formerly petitioned from others.

He then goes on to list four dangers that will be faced in this struggle.

First, is the danger …