The Crusader Newspaper Group

Time to shift talk to action or risk more of the same in 2018

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

Talk is cheap.

I’ve made up my mind to minimize social media posts, and responses to such posts that simply decry the wickedness, incompetency and lack of compassion of the current administration. Nothing that needs to be said hasn’t been said.

The only worthwhile discussion at this point is, “What are we going to do about it?”

This is the point of the conversation at which you lose those people who just want to hear themselves talking. We needed to let it all out. It has been cathartic for the shock and the pain of those genuinely hurt and disappointed with this unprecedented mess.

But there comes a time when rather than create meaningful dialogue, we are simply talking in circles. It’s hard to resist when someone who does or says something that you think is the dumbest thing you will ever see or hear, shows you how wrong you were the very next day.

You just want to vent, and it’s understandable. But look at the election this week in Atlanta where a Democratic candidate was given a considerable chance to upset a Congressional nominee in a predominantly Republican district. Despite the media hype, it didn’t happen.

The point is, no matter how we feel about the misdeeds of the GOP, they refuse to break rank. No matter how vile their leadership, they stick together. No matter how divided Congress may be, Republicans refuse to place principle over party. No matter how outraged their home district constituency, they ignore the voice of the people because there are no consequences.

They don’t care about marching or talking – even when you march on Washington or talk to them face to face expressing your anger. There will be no change until it is systemic rather than emotional – until there is a threat to the process and not just hardy debate.

Breaking News: The 2018 is really coming in less than a year. It’s not fake news or your imagination. And if those who think we can do better don’t seize the moment with unprecedented energy and efficiency, it will be a harbinger of heartache politically and socially in America for years to come.

So again the bottom line is – what are those on the outside looking in going to do about it?

Let’s discuss the possibilities. How about you considering a run for public office – or identifying individuals from your civic, social, business, or community circle who have the potential to be viable candidates. Clearly, experience is no longer a prerequisite. What’s more important is a message that resonates, a support system to spread the word, and potential candidates with the capacity and commitment to deliver.

Here’s another idea. Become active in voter registration, education and mobilization. We need to usher every 18 year old and older through registration – then look at the vast numbers of those older Americans who have refused to play an active role in the election either because of apathy, skepticism or contempt. Time out for what’s wrong with the system. Until it’s eliminated and replaced, it’s the framework in which we are forced to operate for the time so deal with it!

Here’s another idea. Spark organizations, professional groups, congregations and people wherever they engage, in dialogue that articulates the challenges we face today, and potential alternatives. Once folk have understanding, get them to spread the word until there is a ripple effect of conscience.

Nothing short of people power can avert the perpetuation of mediocrity in our government. And the lack of integrity is not a condition that self corrects. We have to get rid of the scoundrels and replace them with those who understand “of the people, by the people, for the people.” But first, the people have to decide if they care enough to pay the price for change. That is advocacy.

The so-called Tea Party became outraged and channeled their anger into effective strategies for change. As ill-guided as their intention was in many cases, it is difficult to fault their resolve. We must create and sustain that same kind of momentum going into the end of this year and 2018. Otherwise, we can only expect things to get worse.

Finally, there needs to be coalition building among non-conventional political allies. There is so much at stake for the entrepreneur and the unemployed, for the pro bono lawyer fighting for justice and the prosecution feeding the profit-minded penal system. People on the south side of Chicago face some of the same obstacles as suburbanites in Middle America and impoverished rural communities in the South. People have to place common interests above differences.

Suggestions in this column don’t even cover the tip of the iceberg. Your ideas will likely be far more inventive than anything suggested. But let’s move our social media and break room conversation to what we’re going to do to fight the power – not just cry about it. Time is running out.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in

a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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