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    Help Needed: Heroes. Must relate well to Huddled Masses

    Toward the end of my last blog, American Dreamer posted a Help Wanted ad:

    <blockquote>Help Wanted: inspiring, credible national spokesperson(s) to lead a nonviolent social movement that reflects widespread popular grievances in a vocabulary consonant with popular perceptions of what is best in our traditions and ideals. Job requires unusual and possibly impossible skill at creating both pressure and support for our elected officials to save and redeem our country and our world. Space reserved in heaven for the successful applicant.</blockquote>

    He then clarified:
    <blockquote>Not saying I believe in earthly saviors; I don't. I certainly don't believe in waiting for Godot--it is only through creative, thoughtful, collaborative efforts of us ordinary people that there can emerge opportunities for popular leadership to be exercised. The popular spokesperson's role is mainly twofold: communicative--signaling to the powers that be coherent demands, so they know what they're being asked/told to do; and spiritual--fostering among ordinary people a sense of hope that something can be done to address the grievances and problems.

    I do believe that the efforts of concerned individuals to voice their concerns can affect popular consciousness, and it is popular consciousness that permits a movement to develop. If not enough people are worked up about things, there can be no movement.</blockquote>

    My 24 hours were just about up but we kept the convo going and it evolved into a back and forth about social movement leaders.  Names like Martin Luther King, Lech Walesa and Cesar Chavez came up.  I thought later about Gandhi, of course, and Nelson Mandela. Other names popped up:  Walter Reuther. Mother Jones, Gloria Steinem. . .We could add writers like Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck and Howard Zinn. . .

    What connects all of the above, besides the fact that they were heroes to the downtrodden and the working class, is that their strong voices are mere whispers in the wind again--gusting only when we feel the need to draw on their wisdom, then pushed back into the doldrums until the next time.

    The social movements in our country are without heroes these days, and we need them desperately.   Can we talk here about possibilities?  I can't come up with anybody with the kind of voice and strength who could withstand the dark forces from the other side, who could pull us together and make us believe.

    Some potentials:  Elizabeth Warren, Rachel Maddow, Richard Trumka--who else? Spiritual leaders?  I can't think of any. Can you?

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