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bE A sPiRiT! nOt A gHoSt!!

In the movie Bulworth (1998), Warren Beatty plays Jay Bulworth – a U.S. Senator up for re-election who starts speaking his mind – after putting a murder-for-hire contract on himself. He's sick of politics as usual and is having a breakdown. 

Since he expects to die soon anyway, he starts speaking the truth as he knows it – even if others don't like it. When he does, all the respectable company around him begins to lose it. But then Halle Barry's character arrives on the scene, and the jaded white-guy Senator gets the fever. He wants to rap, and he starts speaking in rhyme.

And throughout the movie, an old homeless man (played by Amiri Baraka) who's black and has a warm poetic voice keeps turning up. He urges the Senator to keep telling the truth: "You gotta be a spirit, Bulworth! You can't be no ghost!!"

Well, ok, the plot does sound pretty outrageous, but let's bring this to reality. 

You’re not a jaded Senator who's ready to die. Halle Barry isn't hanging with you to spice up your final hours. And neither is Denzel Washington. And you're absolutely NOT being followed by a  homeless man praising your actions with song. So what is it that puts the life back in you? 

When do you feel like a spirit, not a ghost? Talk to me.

Posted by Quintus Jett on October 31, 2005 at 09:07 PM | Permalink

Comments

When an issue has got me angry enough, I push aside the logic in my head that tells me to keep quiet and keep in line. That's usually when I do my best activism.

Love the craziness of this movie plot, going to have to check it out. My hubby has a thing for Halle Barry so that ought to help get the movie in our queue. ; )

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:12:16 PM

It also helps to have people singing your praises. That is, by reminding each other that we are doing the right thing, we are reinforced that we're on the right track. There's so much out there to distract and de-track us from our paths.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:14:21 PM

Quintus, thanks for joining us on a night with lots of little distractions showing up at the door. : )

Speaking of distractions, you'll notice that we've added a couple of sponsors on the right-hand side. Please take a look at them when you get a chance.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:16:32 PM

When do you feel like a spirit, not a ghost?
Posted by Quintus Jett on October 31, 2005 at 06:07 PM

I think visible positive feedback (reinforcement) is important.

Tonight I marched in the Haloween Parade with the local Democrats and we got lots of cheers and clapping. That's important, because it lifted my "spirits" (ha, ha).

I also feel re-energized when I plan events, because it's something tangible I can see that I did....that's one of the reasons I like to plan events.

Many, many of our activities have no tangible effect...we will probably never see the results of most of our efforts in our lifetime. That can get discouraging, and that's why I feel it's important to do things that you can see results from, even if the activity isn't really that significant (like marching in a Halloween Parade) in the big picture.

Discaimer: I havn't seen the movie, so I might be way off base on the topic here...

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:18:06 PM

Here's a pic of my copstume for the parade tonight if anyone's interested...

http://www.rutlanddemocrats.org/12345.html

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:21:28 PM

Just heard from Quintus, he lost his internet connection but it's back up.

I think that you're right on, Jess.

We have so many people around us that tell us we're wasting our time, that we can't make a difference, etc. We need to hear from those who get what we do that we're doing well or that we're on track. Of course, I also need those same people to remind me when I'm falling off track.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:24:19 PM

Hey Charlene and Jessica,

You guys are completely on topic, even without seeing the movie!!

Sorry I was offline for a bit. The ghosts severed my Internet connection. : )

Q

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:24:33 PM

Speaking of "spirits", I usually go out to the bars on Halloween. I'm totally exhausted this year (from the political stuff I'm doing), and am not going out.

I think some of us have probably devoted all of our spirit to politics, and have become a ghost in our "normal" life activities...not sure if this is a good or a bad thing...

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:24:55 PM

Love that get up. You're a rocking Ms. Liberty!

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:25:39 PM

We have so many people around us that tell us we're wasting our time, that we can't make a difference, etc. We need to hear from those who get what we do that we're doing well or that we're on track.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:24:19 PM

That's one of the reasons I think "preaching to the choir" events are good sometimes, even though they get a lot of critism because they're not "making a difference". I think they are. I think it's important to be reminded sometimes that you're not alone in your thinking, and to be re-energized by that.

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:27:47 PM

Good analogy, Jess. I've been hearing that from friends lately. I made a point of surrounding myself this w/e with some long time girlfriends. We had a great time. Went into Salem and got spooked by ghost stories. A reminder of the sadness of the witch trials, but it didn't hamper our spirits though.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:28:07 PM

Great costume, Jess!

For me, working with others definitely keeps my spirit of participation up. The ideas, the feedback, the comraderie...

Q

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:28:26 PM

Great costume, Jess!

For me, working with others definitely keeps my spirit of participation up. The ideas, the feedback, the comraderie...

Q

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:29:31 PM

Q,

Last week Tom Hughes told us about the event that you and Monisha are organizing in NOLA.

I'd like to hear more about it from you.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:30:14 PM

So how do we turn the knowledge that people need positive feedback into an action that keeps people from becoming ghosts in the political activism world?

I try to give positive feedback to volunteers every chance I get, but I'm only one person...and I've noticed a complete *lack* of positive feedback and appreciation from certain organizations (including the Dem Party).

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:33:10 PM

Char,

The event is going to be in Baton Rouge on November 19 with the Louisiana NAACP.

The local news that I'm getting that people are getting tired of just hearing the empty (and too often partisan) rhetoric. There's a lot of spirit to do something in terms of recovery, but there's a lack of direction.

The event will therefore focus on Rights, Recovery, and Renaissance.

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:33:51 PM

Jess,

In addition to positive feedback, I've seen the need for a message. Goals are important, but it's not much that. It's more than being instrumental. It's about tapping into community values that we share, even it isn't clear what goals they translate into.

That's why the Louisina event is focused on Rights. Not "Katrina" rights. Or "New Orleans" rights. Just Rights, the kind that reasonate with us as Americans.

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:37:11 PM

Q,
Renaissance, can you elaborate?

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:38:09 PM

The rights we're focusing on:

1. You have a right to environmental protection

2. You have a right to participate in the economic development of your community

3. You have a right to politcal representation

4. You have a right to economic security following a public catastrophe.

Also, the website for the event is: www.rightsrecovery.com

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:40:11 PM

In addition to positive feedback, I've seen the need for a message.

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:37:11 PM

Or perhaps a better communication of the message.

BTW, what is African Americans for Democracy's message?

Posted by: Jessica | Oct 31, 2005 9:40:42 PM

Wish I had something to add, but I'm feeling a little ghost-like at the moment. Nah, not really...more like just a living, but sleepy human. But I did post a couple plugs for the discussion.

Posted by: Renee_in_Ohio | Oct 31, 2005 9:42:25 PM

I find that compliments are contagious. When you hand them out freely (which I often forget to do), they often start a chain of events. It's like the pay it forward idea.

Perhaps we give our compliments to quietly and others don't get a chance to hear them; therefore, they don't resonate.

Jessica, you do a great job of keeping up with day to day activities with MViMV that most wouldn't notice, like keeping our books in order. Thank you for always being there for MViMV!

Quintus, your enthusiasm is contagious and you inspire with encouragement. Thank you for always being there for us.

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:43:10 PM

Char,

Renaissance refers to the aspiration to bring an economic and cultural Renaissance to the Gulf coast region following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The downside to the term Renaissance from a local perspective in Baton Rouge is that FEMA has apparently made a camp of unattractive trailers, and the camp has been named Renaissance. Unfortunate.

We're consequently likely to focus on the first two. R&R. Not rest and relaxation, but the real R&R that's needed. Rights and Recovery.

Posted by: Quintus | Oct 31, 2005 9:43:50 PM

Is the Louisianna event free?

Posted by: Ellen | Oct 31, 2005 9:45:00 PM

Thanks, Renee! We appreciate you stopping by and plugging the discussion despite feeling like a 'zombie' right now. ; )

Posted by: Charlene | Oct 31, 2005 9:45:18 PM

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