You might expect that the closing session of the National Conference for Media Reform would present rousing speakers that reaffirm the previous days experiences – the information, inspiration and connections – and act as a catalyst to provoke impassioned and sustained activism. That expectation was met. But one speaker, Van Jones, founder and executive Directer of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, delivered a unique insight that we would all be well served to contemplate.
After acknowledging the necessity for inclusion of minorities, women, youth, and every facet of our diverse culture in the media reform movement, he cited the excuses that Don Rumsfeld and his colleagues employed to explain our difficulties in Iraq. Rumsfeld had said that we were not prepared for our “catastrophic success.” While pointing out the Rumsfeld was, of course, lying, he turned the question back on us. The struggle to achieve our goals, whether they be media reform, health care, fair trade, environmental, whatever, consume such a great portion of our awareness, we may be neglecting to consider what we will do when we succeed.
That is not a triviality that we can address when we get there. There actually is some truth to the notion that America was not prepared to act productively after the fall of Baghdad. And there is also evidence that our new Democratic majority in congress was taken a little by surprise. As an example, many of the first comments from Democratic leaders were egregiously free of any mention of Iraq. And worse, some were asserting that they would support the President’s
surge, …um escalation, …um augmentation. That was a symptom of not being prepared. But within days, after being forcefully reminded by the people that we wanted out of Iraq and that’s why we elected them, the leaders reversed course. We will have to be there to remind them often, I have no doubt.
Recognizing that victories can be hollow without confirmed action to sustain them, is something we must all be thinking about now.