The Great Polarizer:
You may well ask: "Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.The Coalition Builder:
When the Bush Administration secretly abolishes fundamental rights, telling no one what they have done, and we scream bloody murder when it comes even partially to light, then King's words describe us as well: "We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with." And when consultants, pundits, and leaders like Barack Obama scold us for polarizing and poisoning the political debate, they are acting the part of the eight Southern white clergymen who told King to shut up and go home.I like the talk of change, and I like Obama and Edwards (which is why I am more critical of the two). I also like what I've seen from Dodd, despite his poor chances as a candidate in the GE. Much of what I've seen from Hilary, Biden, and even Kucinich lights an encouraging fire under the future of the Democratic Party. And I agree with this completely.
But I really can't stand all the talk of bipartisanship and middle-ground. When the party of the President has us at war, while stripping away our civil-rights and blowing holes in the Constitution, it isn't a time for reaching across the isle to make nicey-nice, but rather reaching across to bitch-slap the moron who's propping up these policies and ideals.
We shouldn't fear tensions or even polarization, but rather acquiescence and a complacent voting block. If you have to call someone a jackass on the evening news to get voters to the booth, I say grab your megaphone and head to the station.