"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Days Four and Five: Eye of the Revolver

There's a lot of positivity around here, a happy kind of soldering spirit. It's light in the house of Dean, even as the campaign endures a storm of attacks from all quarters. I imagine this must be what it's like to really do something revolutionary.

And make no mistake, this campaign is revolutionary. Howard's a pretty moderate candidate -- a moderate and a pragmatic and one who speaks his mind -- but the underlying promise of the campaign, the driving force behind it, is the outlaw promise of returning agency to individual citizens and communities. The movement is much bigger and wider than Dean; but it's a real thing. People are dying for lack of meaning, and the powers that be don't have a solution because this dearth of purpose is the basis for their xanadu. There's a lot of money riding on top of all this anomie.

Don't believe me? Look at how a line forms between people who "get it" and people who don't. The comments on Dean's blog sound like Bob Dylan circa "Don't Look Back."

dylan: you can't understand me, and you probably never will
reporter: why is that, bob?
dylan: because you work for time magazine man!

At least that's how I remember it. My historical reading says Dylan's insistence on a communication breakdown was about one generation being remarkably more free than another. What we're dealing with here is its own animal, but the underlying rubric is the same. The times, they are a-changing. Wake up and smell the coffee. The revolution will not be televised.

We're at a watershed. I think we've been at a watershed for the past ten years and just haven't wanted to deal with it. The question on the table is whether we (like you and me and all the other people with social security numbers, and all the other people who have governments) are going to be clients or producers of the national community we call the state. Consumers or participants, that's the choice. Are we going to take responsibility for our own lives, our friends, our neighborhoods and our country upon ourselves, or are we going to go to sleep?

Agency, accountability and consent are the underpinnings of good community. Individuals who have control over their lives, are aware of this control can make a conscious choice to be a part of something, to participate. When more than two people do this, you have the potential for good community.

But when people are deprived of this, negative things happen. That's what the lumpy atomized, anomic TV-fed bourgeois represent: people who don't recognize their own power, who can't think of anything better to do. Ahh look at all the lonely people. That's also what a ghetto is by the way; it's a bad community, one that no one chooses to be a part of, but which ends up affecting their lives anyway. Both these phenomena are tough nuts to crack.

This is what the movement is about; autonomy and community and transparency and trust, all key source ingredients for peace and love if you ask me.

Something big is going to happen. Ten years from now things are either going to be much better in the world, or much worse, and the tipping point is about whether or not enough of us decide to unplug themselves from the matrix and start reclaiming the dignity of their own experience. Whether we start dancing. Whether we find our voice, and learn to listen at the same time.