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May 7, 2006

1000 Preachers and No Choir - Part I

There's this dumb saying "preaching to the choir." Progressives often disparage their own work by saying they're just preaching to the choir, not gathering new converts to their cause.

Let's think about the words progressives use - they have a superiority complex based on their rational reaction to the world. Instead of claiming higher authority for their cause, they (usually) claim superior intellect. Now, it's true that some people come to their progressive activism from their religious heritage, but if that's the case they usually have a superiority complex about their religion (as opposed to their more conservative brethren). It's all a vicious cycle.

Conservatives, on the other hand, could care less if you the outsider sense their moral superiority. They enjoy preaching to the choir because it strengthens the base. They know these speeches cannot sway large numbers of people who aren't already inclined to agree. They also understand that evangelicalism begins with an individual relationship, not a Big Rally or Demonstration. Two people, talking to each other. That's how opinions are formed, questioned, and ultimately changed.

So, that's why I don't usually enjoy demonstrations, rallies, or day-long forums. It's not just that I'm sick of being preached at. It's that I'm sick of progressives having no plans. I spent all day Saturday listen to people talk at me about their particular issues. Not a single person or organization presented a plan for how to involve me in their issue.

Well, that's not exactly true. I could've signed up to walked the picket line with Chicago public nurses. And I did sign up to visit my alderman with teachers to protest the "Renaissance 2010" plan for education overhaul. But usually, after a day of meetings, I've accomplished more than giving people my email address. Dude - I did not have to wake up early and spend a gorgeous Saturday inside to sign up for more listservs!!!

You know, it's not bad to preach to the choir. What's even better is to be a conductor and teach the choir to sing in harmony. True change will not begin until we all work together with one voice towards one goal. Some people think it's a good thing that there are no charismatic leaders leading "the movement;" they think this means we're truly grassroots. I'm not sure about that. As long as we chatter at each other and don't unite, the corporate controllers of our society will continue to call us the restless rabble, and the majority of our sisters and brothers will believe them.

Posted by cj at May 7, 2006 9:07 PM


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