Movements make change, not leaders: Election 2016

By Jasper Smith (November 8, 2016)

As we hold our noses and vote yet again, I remind myself that we need to be the change. If a president or politician is elected, the system is working well enough for that candidate. It is their job to run the government, and the government does some good things for disadvantaged people that must be maintained. It also serves monied interests that must be challenged. It would be wonderful if a president could lead change for the better, but it has rarely been that way in this country. The institution of slavery changed under Lincoln, but he did not lead it. The abolitionists led and pressured the government to follow.

Abraham Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.”

Just as there was no real abolitionist candidate, there is no real Black Lives Matter candidate now. The movement must move the leaders whoever they are, but some are more moveable than others.

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