Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ok, I have to let off some steam. I have always been frustrated with the divide that forms between organizations that are investing and those that are destructive. I like to think of them as anvils and fire. Both are VERY needed to create positive social change, but they never seem to work well together. It's the burden of liberal activism to battle itself, as well as its enemies.

Let's look at the first step towards creating change, pushing comfortability limits. The status quo MUST be challenged before people are receptive to the idea that things should be different. That's where the fire groups come in. They are usually reckless and impassioned. They storm up to administration every time they feel that something is wrong. People sometimes get hurt in the process, but what are a few toes in the name of progress, right?

ummm, well, no. It's not alright. There are times that these groups work against their own interests and set back the positive change wrought by the other side of the equation... not to mention the unethical nature of hurting people to impose your viewpoints on them.

I should know, I tend to fall on the fire side of things.

There is the other group, the anvils. Despite their ideals, this group tends to be more conservative. They are usually filled with people whom the system works towards their advantage. This allows them to understand how it works and set about affecting LASTING institutional change. However, being a part of this system can alter your perspective. Working from within a system has its limitations. One tends to believe in the system that we work inside. We begin to adopt the very ideas that we sought to change. But stability is better and more long-lasting than the fire models, right?

Once again, and you probably guessed it... NO! It's no justification to berate the efforts of others working towards the same thing. Their projects and programs are just as valid as yours. On top of that, you need them to facilitate the changes that you try to institutionalize.

I wish some people would stop and think about what they're doing every once in a while before they go and burn buildings down, challenge every other program on the face of the planet, or smother a fiery group with limits and condescension.

Maybe I'm just mad because the, for the first time I'm playing the anvil and trying to create lasting change for social justice, and my own fiery brethren are trying to burn my efforts to the ground.

We are all drunk men, seeking truth with flashlights we refuse to turn on.

It's frustrating.

Oh, I'm reminding myself to write about the function of social justice groups and their place building social capital and increasing the efficiency of institutions. It'll be good. I promise.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I was on the bus today, on my way back home. I've been kind of tired with spring break preparation. It seems as though my professors are bent on exhausting me before spring break so I can properly enjoy my vacation.

Professors and logic... I tell you.

Anyway, the back doors of the bus start acting up. Once they're open, they would stay open, and occasionally try to close with no success. Of course, we were all stopped until somebody got the doors closed, and the guy standing next to the doors was just staring at them.

Perhaps he was on the wrong bus

So, the rear doors are opening and closing, and I'm not getting any closer to home. I sigh, as Leos tend to do when they have to do the work themselves, and get up. The guy dumbly staring at the door steps aside; I firmly grasp the door handle... and force the doors back into place.


The doors snap, as in seriously emit a loud metallic breaking sound. I solemnly go back to my seat aware that the whole bus is staring at me. I continue to read my newspaper.

A couple stops go by and someone rings the bell to get off at the next corner. The bus stops and he pushes on the rear door. Lo and behold, the doors won't open, no matter how hard he pushes. Suddenly, I am aware that I have effectively welded the doors together. I continue reading my paper feeling much more like a severe and no-nonsense type of guy. 'Damn doors won't shut, and nobody'll fix'em... then I'll do it.'

After a while, I start feeling a little guilty. I mean, the people are kinda looking at me whenever someone tries to exit through the rear door. Eventually, I go to the front and talk to the bus driver. I tell her that I'd be willing to put up an 'out of order' sign on the back door if she had paper and a marker. I had run out of paper just earlier in Statistics class. She says 'no, but thanks for the offer.' Ends up, the back door had been giving her trouble for a while and she was glad that was just closed. Someone was already going to meet her at a stop to fix it.

I rolled up my newspaper and got off the bus, telling her to have a nice day.