Every major faith has a set of values grounded in the pursuit of justice and equity. This universalism is important. It creates the potential for far-reaching, welcoming movements that cut across boundaries of race, class, sect and nationality.
To a generation of current and future voters, Barack Obama has deftly offered a choice: a respectful and inclusive voice of the future; versus a schoolyard tormenter aligned with the intolerant voices of the past. Not bad for a community organizer.
It is time to address the proverbial elephant in the room. For the past decade, the relationship between Western Muslims -- especially American Muslims -- and their governments have been unable to move past the events of 9/11.
Why wouldn't our government want the people being governed to be educated, healthy, well-housed and able to freely be in nature? Is it wrong to think that government should want these things for all people?
While the oil and gas lobby dominates at the federal level, communities across the United States are making great strides in gaining control of energy production by advancing an impressive range of renewable projects.
We can't put our hope in politicians and organizations that attempt to smooth out the edges of terrible legislation while people lose their homes and programs are gutted. In communities across the country, groups are joining hands to build a movement for the human right to housing.
The Occupy movement has been incredibly inspiring. But it is time to move beyond mere inspiration. We must parlay this unprecedented (in most of our lifetimes) uprising into an effective and lasting transformation.
Like participants in previous movements for justice, the Occupiers need to avoid the false choices between protest and organizing, community building and electoral involvement, surrealist theater and the grunt work of change.
One idea that development agencies tend to rely on is that there is this thing out there called a community, where people behave in a "communal" way of sharing and organizing, implicit within their societal structure.
Across the board, we are beginning to see progressive organizations working to scale up the size and sophistication of their efforts. Groups that have previously focused on their own particular issues and communities are banding together.