07/30/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

CNN on Progressives Pressuring Obama

CNN today today published a long piece on its website about what an Obama presidency would mean for the African American community. The article fronts an absurd title asking whether an Obama presidency would "hurt black Americans." I'd say there's very little chance of that. However, I do believe the amount that Obama moves the country forward on all issues is contingent on how much we pressure him.

2581824136_fec1f79696_m.jpgTo that end, here's my quote in the piece:

"He's like any politician. He's cautious," Sirota said. "He's a potential vehicle for change, and I think he is a good vehicle, but he is just a vehicle."

His presidency may represent fundamental change, but that doesn't mean he will initiate such sweeping changes if he's elected.

"Politicians, even the best-intentioned ones, are weather vanes," Sirota said. "If the wind isn't blowing in the right direction, they will perpetuate the status quo."

It will take more than a presidential candidate to change the status quo; it'll take a movement, Sirota says.

"My concern is that people will think that by simply electing Obama, change will come, whether it's on race or economic justice issues," he said.

"If people believe that, then real change will not happen."

Movement psychology - the kind that is going to take the populist uprising and turn it into a movement - requires us to focus on making that wind blow in our direction before the election and after. If we can do that - and I think we can - we're going to see the kind of change we are all hoping for.

This is an ongoing series from the national tour for THE UPRISING. You can order The Uprising at or through your local independent bookstore.

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