Column: Success can begin with 'I think I can'
By JIM HIGHTOWER, OtherWords
AUSTIN, Texas — Like that little choo-choo in the classic children’s book “The Little Engine that Could,” Moral Monday is the little movement that says, “I think I can” and keeps chugging up the hill.
This new progressive coalition became a full-throttle citizen uprising in North Carolina early last year.
Fueled by rising public outrage at the rampant right-wing extremism of the Republican-run state government, a few advocates for workers, civil rights, and other people’s issues went inside North Carolina’s state capitol on a Monday in April.
Led by Rev. William Barber, head of the North Carolina NAACP, they literally put their bodies on the line in protest of the GOP’s reckless crusade to turn the state into a privatized utopia for unfettered corporate greed and tea party wackiness.
Several members of the small group were arrested that day, and Republican leaders berated their protest as “Moron Monday.”
Those politicos aren’t laughing now.
The protesters kept coming and their numbers kept growing, for Moral Monday had struck a chord. The protest spread across the state. A rally in February drew more than 80,000 people, and public approval ratings for the governor and state assembly have tanked.
The legislature is now out of session, but Moral Monday still has weekly meetings and is launching a 50-county organizing and voter education campaign this summer.
It’s now a burgeoning multi-issue, grassroots movement for progressive change. And it’s literally on the move, branching out to other states — Moral Monday Georgia is going full steam this year, South Carolina has a Truthful Tuesday movement gaining steam, and the movement is getting started in Alabama, Florida, New York and Wisconsin.
Some of these states are mighty steep political hills for progressives to climb, but success begins with someone saying, “I think I can.” To build a movement, you’ve gotta start moving.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.