Today, too many would-be movement leaders simply want to be Dr. King or Mrs. Rosa Parks: they want the glory and privilege of leadership without the burdens or sacrifice and sustained hard work. Movements are not built from the top down by powerful leaders but percolate from the bottom up from people who share common grievances.
On the commemoration of the 82nd anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth, we can take some solace from what Dr. King did in the face of forces far more annihilating than the ones that progressives face this cold January. He built a movement when the consequences for challenging the racial order in the American South were swift and brutal. It is all too easy to make a list of why all political avenues to a more progressive society are blocked. At a time when the economic dreams of tens of millions of Americans are being crushed, I have no doubt that we shall see another progressive social movement.