Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The "Q" Generation

I don't know if everyone in the country knows who Tom Friedman is or not, but if they don't, I wish they did. I have written posts on any number of things he has written about any number of times. I can't help it. I think he is one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times and, at least to my mind, the gift he has in terms of how he communicates in writing is enough to take one's breath away.

If you didn't catch his op-ed piece in the NY Times today, check it out. He is talking about the need for what he has labeled the "Q" generation (college students) to be much more active in terms of trying to make, what we laughingly refer to these days as political leadership in America, really accountable and focused on critical issues - e.g. global warming.

There are a number of great lines in this piece, but two paragraphs in particular stuck me:
"Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy didn’t change the world by asking people to join their Facebook crusades or to download their platforms. Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall. Virtual politics is just that — virtual." and his closing paragraph :
"Maybe that’s why what impressed me most on my brief college swing was actually a statue — the life-size statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Meredith was the first African-American to be admitted to Ole Miss in 1962. The Meredith bronze is posed as if he is striding toward a tall limestone archway, re-enacting his fateful step onto the then-segregated campus — defying a violent, angry mob and protected by the National Guard."
"Above the archway, carved into the stone, is the word “Courage.” That is what real activism looks like. There is no substitute."
There's not much to say after that.

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