Take Action

Looking for Inspiration? Try This

People are feeling in the dumps these days, and for very good reasons. But there's hope in working together.

People are feeling in the dumps these days, and for very good reasons. Everywhere you turn, there is corruption and exploitation by corporations trying to squeeze every last penny out of our pockets, and it seldom seems we get much in return. Elected officials from the top down seem to respond far more to those with money bags than to the rest of us. But you know this already.

What do we do? Well, let's just say that giving up, as much as it is attractive, is not an option. AlterNet's former tech director Deanna Zandt (who, by the way, has a new book coming out in June: Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking), sent me the Marge Piercy poem, "The Low Road."

It's tough, but inspiring. I wanted to share it with everyone this weekend. It is a fitting Valentine to all of you who don't give up, who won't give up, and who will support your friends, family, those you care about, and those who need it the most. And the hell with Washington, D.C.

The Low Road
What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t blame them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fundraising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

--Marge Piercy
Copyright 2006, Middlemarsh, Inc.

You can listen to this poem, and many more of Marge Piercy's political poems on her CDLouder: We Can't Hear You Yet! or find it in her famous collection The Moon is Always Female.

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018