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November 22, 2021

You, Elections, and the Movement

Even before the December 13 candidate filing deadline falls, individual Texans are “choosing up sides” over their favorite candidates. Please allow me to argue that, no matter whom they choose, they are making an error.

Building our progressive movement is more important than any candidate.

Instead of making early individual commitments, we “change agents” should take the time to build our progressive movement during the election process. The labor movement, with all the agonizing slowness of democracy, will process information and choose candidates soon enough. In Texas, the AFL-CIO is likely to endorse some primary candidates at its political conference January 19-21 in Round Rock. Following labor, other progressive organizations like the Alliance for Retired Americans are expected to endorse some federal candidates. The Texas Alliance will make recommendations more locally.

Once we have come together over issues and candidates, our individual efforts will be stronger. Not only are we more likely to win elections by working together, but we will be building a strong progressive movement before, during, and, most importantly, AFTER all the shouting!

I think most Americans would like to see changes made. But individuals, even individuals elected to high office, don’t make change. Change comes from great movements of many people. Pick any example: the civil rights movement? The anti-war movement? The suffragettes? There were great leaders in those movements, and some of the not-so-great who aren’t remembered, but it was the giant movements that made the changes.

For the most part, human beings are ego-driven. We want our rewards immediately. We think we already know what’s right and what’s wrong, even before examining the facts. It’s pretty much the way we are born. It’s the way we act as children.

But if we think it through, if we keep our eyes on the prize, and if that prize is real change, then it makes sense to build the movement, even if it involves waiting.

–Gene Lantz

Texas Alliance for Retired Americans

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