Monday, January 16, 2017

Moving Forward

A wise man once said:
If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, whatever you do keep moving forward.
This is my single favorite Martin Luther King, Jr. quote. He said a great many inspiring and grand things in his time, but this strikes a chord within me. I wear the mantle, proudly, of "Progressive," because it's root is "progress" and that is what Mankind has done throughout its existence: moved forward.

The journey forward is not always easy. Dr. King could certainly attest to that. The journey forward is not always swift. President Barack Obama can attest to that. The journey forward is not always safe. Representative John Lewis can attest to that. Some never get very far in the journey forward. Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and many others can attest to that.

In my heart, I know progress is a slow, painstaking, agonizing road. Most of us who hew to the wisdom of it know we will not see the fruition of the actions we take to bring it about. Every Progressive is heir to Sisyphus, pushing the stone that is the burden of shoving a mewling, kicking, screaming humanity forward, only to occasionally see it roll back.

We stand in that moment now, aware that the stone we have struggled to roll forward stands to kick back toward us. Like Sisyphus, we could see this as a part of our punishment for hubris, and we should, for while we have pushed the stone, some among us have made it harder to move. There are those who will not push, because the stone is not what they want it to be. There are others who see pushing the stone as a waste of time, and look fruitlessly for another stone that will be easier to move. To be true Progressives, we must all push the stone together, and take what little movement it makes as progress nonetheless.

The struggle to move forward is never-ending. There is no stopping for breath, as many are wont to do, when a milestone is reached. For whatever progress we have made up to that point, there is much further still to go. We should never be satisfied, we should never be proud, of where the stone lies; we should always be asking ourselves: Where must the stone go now?

At this moment, the stone is inching backward, threatening to gain momentum and crush us beneath its weight, because we took our eyes off the ultimate goal: freedom and justice for all. All the gains we have made can be erased in an eye-blink of human history if we do not set our feet, place our hands on the stone, and keep pushing. Some may use their Herculean strength, some their full might, some a mere hand, others maybe only a breath, but the sum of all our force is necessary to keep the stone moving forward. No effort can be counted as too small, save no effort at all.

What happens in the coming weeks may well determine the fate of a nation. If it is to be so determined, then let each of us, to whatever level we can, to whatever amount of force we can muster, push this great nation forward against whatever tide opposes its progress. A flake of snow has little weight, but a mass of such can form a mighty avalanche. Let us be that avalanche. Let us be that force. Let us continue to move forward.