We gotta keep on keeping on
Because if we don’t do it nobody else is gonna
But you know if we can’t do it with a smile on our face
You know if we can’t do it with love in our hearts then children we ain’t got no right to do it at all
Because it just means we ain’t learned nothing yet
We’re supposed to be some kind of different – Steven Stills, 49 Bye-Byes
Not long ago, we shared Doug Hughes’s story here, and since then, we’ve been delighted to have connected with him directly, and honored that he’s agreed to participate in this year’s TEDxTampaRiverwalk event, August 29, at the John F. Germany Library Auditorium.
As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, it’s a good time to consider Doug’s thoughts about the nation our forefathers sought to establish and the nation we have today. In the 49 Bye-Byes, by Steven Stills, which Doug quotes in his Independence Day message to the New Hampshire Rebellion in the video below, America is still the Home of the Brave, and Doug’s message is that we need to keep being brave together.
We need to keep speaking up, working together – with warmth, love and good humor – to share the message that civic engagement is more than flag waving, and opining on social media. True citizenship means holding up our end of the social contract by being politically informed and civically active, capable of intelligent and reasoned discourse with and about our government.
Doug’s message is one that needs to be heard, and he has a compelling way to share it, with or without his flight to the Capitol. But he can’t do it alone. It’s one thing to take the first, dramatic, eye-catching step, but without all of us joining in the chorus for accountability, transparency and commonsense civil service, it’s just a gyrocopter on a lawn, and no amount of fireworks and rousing patriotic music will make things right.
In a great TED Talk called “How to Start a Movement,” Derek Sivers points out that it’s “the first follower that transform(s) the lone nut into a leader. If you really care about starting a movement have the courage to follow and show others how to follow. And when you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in.”
It takes some kind of different to do what Doug Hughes did, but it’s going to take all of us together to create the change necessary to regain a government by the people, for the people. As Doug wrote in his editorial for the Tampa Bay Times in May, “… democracy is not a destination arrived at two centuries ago, but a choice we make by engaging, paying attention, making our voices heard and voting.”
Words worth considering as we join together to celebrate our nation’s 239th birthday. Ask questions, consider the answers, keep the conversation going.