Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guest Post: Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul...Oh My Enter the Future of the Progressive Party, Meet this year’s NLC Fellows




Being asked to suspend one's belief is completely appropriate when reading science-fiction or watching a magic show. To date, there has been many a moment when the GOP presidential primary race has felt like both.

However, no moment was more oddly pronounced than GOP hopeful, Rick Santorum failing at sleight of hand or lips when attempting to redact comments he made in pre-caucus Iowa. Altering, "I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money," to "I don't want to make black people’s lives better."

Newt Gingrich prefers to rely on the pattern of truthiness. The former speaker took center stage in the sideshow, calling President Obama the "food stamp president." A moniker Gingrich finds fitting since, according to him, under Obama more black people are on food stamps than ever. This seems to be a favorite illusion of republicans- to make it appear as if minorities blacks, latinos, gays, (heck) anyone other than them, is the problem in America.

But where, I ask, are the solutions? Republicans are quick to place the blame, but where, I ask, are the solutions? This three ring three ring circus that is the the Republican presidential primary has become the best reality show on television. The utterances from its stars are completely absent of the innovative ideas our nation desperately needs. It seems amongst this weird, wacky and very irreverent class of GOP presidential contenders, decency and civility have all exited stage right. Those of us who respect intelligence, have had enough partisanship, love America and still believe in her ability to uphold the promises of life, liberty, and prosperity are left to wonder: is this really the best in leadership that America has to offer?

The good news: New Leaders Council is sending its next class of fellows through the doors of their annual training academy. This training is intended to cultivate the ideas and leadership that are so woefully missing from our current political scene. New Leaders Council is the future of progressive leadership. This month, the organization launches its 2012 Institutes in 20 markets across the nation; this represents the group’s largest number of fellows and chapters in its seven-year history. Progressives are often and mistakenly considered godless, anti-capitalists or dismissed as a radical sect of the left.  University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Joel Rogers defines progressivism as, "equal opportunity and equal access for all. Period." Progress means forward motion, something members of NLC are no longer looking to elected officials on either side of the aisle to create for them. New Leaders Council trains each of its fellows, all young professionals in their prime and under 40, to put innovation to work to create social solutions.

If only a spell would allow today's young people to inherit the economy, policies or even political civility that bolstered American society for a generation. This is why many are organizing themselves to create the equity and access that our nation’s framers intended.  It's what abolitionists did to end slavery, women to obtain suffrage, women to end prohibition and young people of all ages and backgrounds who organized during the 1960's to make civil rights a reality. Community organizing has come under intense scrutiny in recent political cycles. Yet, it is when communities organize that progress is actually made.

Progress. A – a simple concept able to better the lives of all, regardless of what party they may pledge allegiance to. The future we all face is too important,  too fragile, to leave to chance.  This is why anyone calling themselves a New Leaders Council fellow has gone through an intense application and interview process to determine their commitment to progressive values and causes. New Leaders Council knows that we must provide our people with the tools and network to implement their ideas. Smoke and mirrors are what led our nation into the economic chaos we're currently experiencing. We're advocating for less trickery and more do-goodery. Forgive me as that is not a word, but the concept still stands.

Were the field of Republican presidential wannabes able to do anything outside of serving their intended purpose, some thought provoking, inspiring and much needed dialogue on reducing unemployment, reviving the housing market, resurrecting public schools and even race, could be had.

Our nation has no shortage of obstacles to overcome. Yet while those running for the Republican nomination are quick to point out what is wrong with America, they are incapable of illuminating the rest of us on how we can resolve these issues. Change cannot be legislated. It can only be carried out and accomplished. With unmitigated certainty the 2012 fellows of New Leaders Council are the people to do it.

Meet the NLC Class of 2012 by visiting www.newleaderscouncil.org



Lauren Brown Jarvis is a writer and producer of digital content for web. With ten years experience as a broadcast media professional, including time spent with The Weather Channel, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and All The Hits Q100, Lauren currently serves as Director of Communications for New Leaders Council. Prior to, Lauren developed new media and content for Atlanta Public Schools, The International Society of Africans in Wine, Adrene Boutique, Upscale Magazine, and more. Serving as the first ever Social Media Professional at Spelman College, Lauren implemented social media campaigns focused on Spelman's broad base of alumni, students, parents and donors. As a result, Spelman College was named number sixteen of the top 100 colleges using social media besting the University of Georgia. Lauren has also facilitated training of professionals associated with All Women's Media Alliance and Cascade United Methodist Church. In 2011, she hosted and produced Digital Doyennes, a celebration of women leaders in social media and digital innovation. Lauren has been named a Vicki R. Palmer Scholar, and a fellow in New Leaders Council and the National Black Programming Consortium's New Media Institute.


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