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Blogging Our Grand Divide

America’s Heart Problem

Reverend Dr. William Barber II takes the message of the Moral Monday movement to a national audience in his most recent book and Moral Revival tour. 

The United States has a heart problem. We need justice-loving people to come forward and act as moral defibrillators for the nation. We need more people like North Carolina’s Rev. William Barber.

Rev. Barber sees the social and political ills plaguing America — everything from moves to cut school funding and make voting more difficult to attacks on LGBT and immigrant rights and drives to slash taxes on the wealthy — as all part of a single national moral problem. His solution: a moral revolution.

third-revRev. Barber, the head of the North Carolina NAACP chapter and pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, first came to national prominence in 2014 as the architect of the Moral Monday movement. He’s now taking this statewide movement to the national stage with his new book, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.

The Third Reconstruction works as both autobiography and blueprint for building a progressive social movement. Its message has its roots both in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today’s progressive values of today. Its goal: to help us improve where past movements have failed, to spark “indigenous- led” movements at the statewide level.

Moral Mondays originated as a response to the Republican state legislature’s efforts to limit voting rights in the state. It started as a small group of clergy going down to the state house to protest and risk arrest to draw attention to the issue. Before long, hundreds and then tens of thousands of people were rallying at the statehouse with them and engaging in civil disobedience.

Rev. Barber’s rhetoric deftly integrates an evangelical reading of the bible, but he welcomes people of all faiths including, as millennials often are today, atheists. He sees no distinction between the regressive forces of the 1890s, the 1950s, and today who fight against movements for justice and shared prosperity. The new justice movement must learn from these past struggles and organize against today’s oppressors.

Rev. Barber is touring now in over 20 cities across the country as part of “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values” along with Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, and Sister Simone Campbell.

“Some issues are not left vs. right or liberal vs. conservative but right vs. wrong,” Rev. Barber summed up in a riveting speech at the Democratic National Convention in July. “We can’t give up on the heart of our democracy. Not now, not ever.”

  • DHFabian

    I disagree. There’s no indication that America actually has a heart. We’ve simply turned our backs on those who aren’t of use current use to us. We know that not everyone is able to work, and there aren’t jobs for all, and insist that “there is no excuse” for being jobless and poor. Americans seem to find a perverse pleasure in dehumanizing our own poor. Liberals have “disappeared” them, churches turn their eyes away, citizens complain and demand that our very poor be kept out of public view. This is what defines America.

  • Jacqueline S. Homan

    distinctly remember well-paid blue-collar white male union skilled
    trades workers driving around in expensive brand new 4×4 trucks with
    bumper stickers reading “Rush is right!” back in the 1980’s – they
    wanted some of the benefits of socialism and collective bargaining for
    themselves but fought viciously to prevent women and minorities from
    being able to benefit and get into those same good-paying union jobs.
    Only white males didn’t deserve to be poor – but POOR women and
    minorities struggling just to NOT die? We can just suffer and die from
    unrelieved abject poverty for all everyone else (including
    middle/upper-middle class feminists and anti-racist activists) could
    give a fuck. Because Privileged People (TM) c.b.a. to give up their
    monthly Starbucks mud or their $9/mo Netflix subscription so that
    someone else in dire poverty can simply have a chance at being able TO
    survive (never mind thrive!).

  • Jacqueline S. Homan

    sizable chunk of the population – the jobless and unemployable poor
    with ZERO INCOMES and healthcare (most who were pushed out of the job
    market due to age discrimination, who’ve lost everything and ended up
    homeless and in “tent cities”) – is totally preempted from social and political participation
    because of being stripped not only of the most basic human rights to
    food, shelter, and medical care, but also stripped of any voice in the
    public square – at the demands of those fortunate to have jobs, food,
    housing, and medical care who want a bigger piece of the pie for themselves while begrudging any life-saving crumbs to the poorest of the poor who have

    Read my medical Gofundme here and then compare that sad result to the medical fundraisers of middle class people who already had health insurance and who had been getting medical care:
    – notice the lack of support I got compared to middle class/rich people’s
    medical Gofundmes that got 50 times more money than I ever
    got, and they didn’t have to suffer with being sick without medical care and incomes while begging for help and donations for three goddam months (like me)!

    poorest of America’s own homegrown poor have had our basic human rights
    redacted and the brutal realities of our suffering and existence in
    extreme poverty denied – even by “bold progressives” posting all over
    social media. People fortunate to have jobs/livable incomes and access
    to medical care – including many so-called “progressives” – don’t know
    (or more accurately, don’t care) that the life expectancy rate for the
    poorest of America’s poor has plunged to age 60 and is still in a state
    of free-fall.

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