A Difference Between Martin Luther King And MoveOn’s Eli Pariser
I just finished reading The Argument—Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics by Matt Bai of The New York Times.
The title of this book, published in 2007, gives the idea of what it is about.
The future direction of the Democratic party is the subject of a struggle between wealthy activists, bloggers who represent the so-called “netroots”, and the old-line party establishment.
Representatives of these factions might be, among a number of others, George Soros for the billionaires, Daily Kos for bloggers and Congressman Rahm Emanuel from Chicago for the party establishment. (The Emanuel story I’ve linked with is two years old, but is still useful to read.)
If you care about the subject beyond this brief summary, you can click the book title above, read the review and figure out what you think.
Personally, I see it as an interesting question and I’m glad I read the book. However, until new ideas emerge instead of what often seems to be a zero-sum quest for power, what I feel I’m seeing is a circulation of elites and insiders (even if they are now sometimes self-created elites and insiders drawn from a somewhat wider base of people) and not real change.
What caught my eye most in The Argument was a quote by MoveOn.Org‘s Political Action Executive Director Eli Pariser. He said the following- — (To be clear, I like MoveOn and Eli Pariser just fine.)
The vision of Democrats controlling all three branches of government—That’s not the vision I’m in it for. The vision is to actually to get somewhere on the issues we care about. Democrats are a vehicle. But if I’m trying to got to Boston, you know the vision isn’t Hartford.
Contrast that to what Martin Luther King said in his great sermon Unfulfilled Dreams —
There’s a highway called Highway 80. I’ve marched on that highway from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. But I never will forget my first experience with Highway 80 was driving with Coretta and Ralph and Juanita Abernathy to California. We drove from Montgomery all the way to Los Angeles on Highway 80—it goes all the way out to Los Angeles. And you know, being a good man, being a good woman, does not mean that you’ve arrived in Los Angeles. It simply means that you’re on Highway 80. Maybe you haven’t gotten as far as Selma, or maybe you haven’t gotten as far as Meridian, Mississippi, or Monroe, Louisiana—that isn’t the question. The question is whether you are on the right road. Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination.
On this question, more relevant to daily life and to the goals we set for ourselves in our private and public lives than what group of elites controls the Democratic Party, I stand with Reverend King.
It’s okay if we don’t reach a final destination as long as we have made a good faith effort. I say this even though Mr. Pariser’s point is well-taken. In the end it is not about the Democratic Party, it is about the things that will make people’s lives better.
Still, life is such that many aren’t going to reach the goals they set for themselves. Reverend King’s message on this fact never loses it’s resonance.
Above is a picture of Downtown Hartford. Here is a link to the tourism attractions of Hartford.
Please click here for other Texas Liberal posts on Martin Luther King including a post on his Unfulfilled Dreams sermon.