A project of the Center for Community Change

“No More Heroes”: Why America Must Stand Up

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Today on the Huffington Post,  long-time community organizer Gabe Gonzalez writes about the historic moment we face as Americans. He cites our long tradition of creating American heroes that symbolize or catalyze social change and why, at this moment we need collective action, not heroes.

We should have a country that has no need for heroes. One in which you can get health care, save your home, work in peace. We have the ability to do this. Even in the midst of crises we remain the most powerful country on Earth.

I believe firmly that what this country needs, wants, and what it must have if we are to prosper again is a focus on community values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. That’s why I organize, and why I work so hard to get others to do the same. If there is one thing we saw clearly in the debate around the stimulus, it is that entrenched interests in both parties are the biggest obstacle in our path. And right now, with so much on the line, we need to ensure that they do not prevail.

We know from history, that for change to happen, we must have a bold president and an electorate willing to have his back. This is the only way to seize the opportunity presented by crises and act to change the fundamental structures that put us here.

Were we stand right now is with a President that has laid out a bold vision. But that cannot become real if we, those that chose him, are silent. We need to become active in ways that this country sees only once in a generation. We need to all act with consistency and determination to support an agenda that includes healthcare, immigration reform and fair banking laws. We cannot fail — even America cannot create enough heroes to save us from the repercussions of missing this opportunity. I believe our president has the capacity for greatness, but not if we let him stand alone. Mass public action is what this country needs most of all if we are going to create the change we so clearly demand.

As a country, we must work together (all of us) in order to overcome the crises and obstacles in our way. During times of turmoil, America has historically looked for a scapegoat (typically immigrants) and turned to the politics of divisiveness and finger-pointing to alleviate the fear and tension the country was facing. We must learn from our history and understand that, like MLK Jr. said “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly”.

I encourage you all to read Gabe Gonzalez’s full post here.

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