While I’ll have more thoughts about this later, one of the things to keep an eye on in the coming year(s) are advocacy movements seeking major policy changes in areas of obvious national neglect like health care, the environment, energy, water rights/distribution, etc. The reason is that I take (future President) Barack Obama at his word. Real change in the coming years will often require a movement, or as I said before, “Barack’s policy offerings are modest – too modest for his critique of what ails America – but the potential of a progressive movement to change American is the difference [he offers]….”
In this vein it’s worth looking at Health Care For America Now (HCAN), a 501(c)4 issue advocacy organization of over 100 national and local nonprofit, political, faith and labor organizations promoting quality, affordable health care for all Americans through legislative action in 2009. Yesterday they launched their $40 million national campaign in 52 cities including 37 state capitols like Springfield, IL and Madison, WI. In addition to spending millions on advertising, HCAN plans to fund 100 organizers in 45 states. HCAN’s impact alone likely will not change the agenda – one to three organizers in each state isn’t a ton. But when you couple HCAN’s efforts with national efforts, like the health care components of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU’s) major 100,000 volunteer/$85 million general election/$10 million post-election accountability campaign, plus state efforts like the Illinois Single Payer Coalition and local efforts like the Chicago Single Payer Action Network, then HCAN represents a piece of a movement that really is a big deal. It’s worth following – and better than “following,” it’s worth getting actively involved.
Change, by itself, is not necessarily good or bad. You can make change for the better.