Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Really, Is Anyone Surprised?

I stumbled across this article from NPR today via Twitter about how the Obama administration "fought Washington and Washington won".  It cites a New York Times magazine article in which one of their reporters interviews a White House aide in depth and gets some pretty revealing quotes from the source about the administrations views and strategies, especially as we enter mid-term elections.  And the gist of it is that the administration was surprised that it got so much push-back and wasn't able to "change Washington" - and in fact, it's just politics as usual.  In my opinion, the Tea Party candidates that are out there are running on the same platform - "We're going to change Washington" - when, in reality, once they get there, they will have to play "by the rules". Just like the Obama adminstration found out.

I mean, seriously - seriously - is anyone really that surprised by these revelations from the article?  What boggles my mind is that the administration is/was mainly consisted of idealists who thought the strength of their ideas would change the way that politics are played.  AND that Tea Party candidates think the same way - they think that they can "change" Washington.  In discussion with my parents a few weeks ago, they stated that the Founding Fathers never designed the political system to be the way that it currently functions.  To which I laughed and said, seriously??  That there was never an intent for career politicians - that they would go back to their farms and work there.  Maybe for George Washington that was the case, but not for most of the other Founding Fathers.  Nor most politicians throughout the history of the United States.

The truth is anyone who wants to bring "change" to the way the country operates is going to have to push that change through the existing political structure - because that structure is not going away anytime soon.  So you better know and understand what "change" you want to accomplish and believe in it with all of your being, because it will not happen without a tremendous fight.  And you will need to not only work the political system, but also public opinion, while avoiding the traps of today's current 24hr news media culture - and do both simultaneously.

However, big issues can be changed and make their way through the political system.  Civil Rights reform did happen in the United States - though that is still an ongoing issue.  Women did gain the right to vote and wield political power.  Monopolies were disbanded in the early 20th century.  But the best example that I hold on to for any kind of change to happen within a political structure, is Adam Horschwitz's book "Bury the Chains", which is about how slavery as a morally acceptable institution was forever disbanded in 18th, 19th century England.  There, the reformers took on an institution that had been around since the dawn of time (literally - read your Bible) and banned its acceptance on any English shore.  It is a fascinating account of how morals, politics, and persistence finally triumphed, and if any reformer really wants to bring about sustainable change on a national level, they should read this account.

You have to work within reality.  But just because there is a reality doesn't mean that hope can't exist for real, significant change to occur within the structures of the current political and economic systems.  And the sooner that all these politicians advocating for "change" accept that, the closer we'll be to seeing some real strides made in significant issues.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Be a Part of Making a Movie

I think this is one of the coolest projects I've run across that mixes social media and real stories.  Donald Miller posted last week that the movie he was making, Blue Like Jazz, had stopped and was on the proverbial backburner in Hollywood because they had been unable to get the funding they needed.

Well two guys decided to do something about it. They started a Kickstarter campaign in which people sign up to contribute an amount to make the movie.  Different amounts come with different rewards packages.  The amount needed to get the movie made is $125k.  In a matter of days they have raised over $90k and counting.  It is crazy - this morning the amount was at $85k.

It's really cool to see that this movie, that Miller and company thought was dead, may actually happen because a couple of guys decided that they should try to help get the movie made - it's message was that important to them. And by inviting everyone else along with them to make this happen, we all get to be a part of the story of how it's made.

I've added a widget to the side of my blog that takes you directly the website to learn more about the movie and campaign.

And here's Miller's post from this morning on how something that he thought was dead and God had shut the door on is now becoming a reality. Pretty cool.

**UPDATE: On October 25, 2010 this campaign became the largest crowd-sourced project of all time, with over $345k donated from 276 people.  The movie is being made and if you head over to Donald Miller's site/blog, you can details on their progress every Monday, as well as follow specific links on the movie's overall progress.**

Friday, October 1, 2010

One Item, One Week

If you can, please take a moment to visit my other blog, Small Time Style and vote for the item that I'll wear each day next week!  Click here to vote!