Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shouting in the streets

In "Feeling Too Down to Rise Up", Sudhir Venkatesh examines why we have not taken to the streets in protest over all the present ills in the United States. I think that the analysis given misses certain central points.

First, while there is much shouting going on these days, it comes in a fundamentally different form. We are in an era of non-stop communication and we debate, discuss and dissect through our computers, our iphones, our blackberries and television sets. Our voices are heard but not in the ways of past generations. We don't have to organize rallies when we can have instantaneous polls, questions of the day, and liberal and conservative viewpoints deliberated ad nauseum. We don't have to plant ourselves outside the White House to be heard.

Further, while we may have a fundamental distrust of those with opposing views, it seems we ALL want to see the President and his agenda succeed (Rush Limbaugh notwithstanding). We are in the very early stages of a very different political universe in our country. We are all hoping that the administration has a way out of the hole we have dug. We do not place the blame on the shoulders of those now in control for us being in this quagmire. We want to give them the opportunity to make it right before we send out the lynch mobs. While we might have had uncontrolled rage for AIG executives (and some did take to the streets, and to the homes of the beleaguered bonus babies), we choose not to exhibit that kind of venom for those whom we must trust to lead us to the promised land.

President Obama has preached patience, over and over. He knows we are down, but he tells us we are not too down to rise up. If the President can show us that we have the ability to overcome, and that we are on our way there, then we won't have the need to rise up in the way Sudhir Venkatesh would suggest. If belief in this administration wanes, then and only then may the streets be filled with shouts of anger. Until that point in time, we will let our 21st century form of communication act as our forum to air our concerns.

No comments: