September 18th’s words provide ample fuel for a movement…and a cure for road rage.
Every day is Fighting Bob Fest
STEVENS POINT – It was the post-Fighting Bob Fest Blues for a few minutes as my friend Kurt Andersen and I became mired in thick, obstructed traffic in Wisconsin Dells on the way home from Baraboo last Saturday.
We had been energized all day by speeches from some of America’s best progressive minds, and challenged to take action once we got home. It was taking us longer to get home than we had anticipated. Now we were trapped in a bizarre other world of amusement where thousands of glazed-eyed vacationers roamed up and down the glitzy way.
Then we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were just catching a last summer fling, up from Illinois for the weekend. We figured probably half of them would vote the right way in November. So there we were, deadlocked again.
Which is why events like Bob Fest are so danged important right now. Speaker after speaker made note that this is truly an election to be won by those who work the hardest, reach out the most, push themselves farther. In short, 4,000 people at the Sauk County Fairgrounds on a beautiful late summer Saturday can make a difference. Make that must make a difference. First of all, they made a difference by being there. Then they get a chance to make a difference again and again by acting on that, spreading the word in the truest way, from person to person; one house, one block, one contact at a time.
Yes, as state Senator Gwen Moore said Saturday of her crucial congressional campaign in Wisconsin’s 4th District, “I am going to the battlefield.” We might be tired, Moore said, but Nov. 3 comes around soon enough. We can rest then. Or perhaps start packing for another land. In either case, as Atticus Finch told his precious daughter Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, “It’s not time to worry.” No sir, it is time to work, and work we must.
Nevermind that the mainstream media pretty much ignored Bob Fest and its great lineup of speakers. We might as well get used to the idea that we are not going to get their attention for a while. When we succeed at restoring progressive values in our society, we will get plenty of attention. They may be surprised and ask how we did it, but that will only be because they did not pay close enough attention when it was happening right under their noses. In the meantime, we have a glorious opportunity right now, through collective action, to grow this cause by great multiples. The 4,000 who gathered in Baraboo will become 20,000 by networking with just five other strong-minded progressives, and the 20,000 will become many thousands more by doing the same.
Even the smallest actions amplify themselves. A few actions every day amount to a lot, especially in states like Wisconsin where a few thousand votes can make a huge difference. No taking Sundays off until after the election.
September 26, 2004
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Bill Berry is a FightingBob.com contributing editor who lives in Stevens Point and writes columns for the Capital Times and other publications.