First, we must recognize the need for indigenously led, state-based, state-government focused, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, and transformative movement building. There’s no shortcut around this. We must build a movement from the bottom up. We must build relationships at the state level because that’s where most of the extremism of the current-day deconstructionists are happening. They see the possibility of a Third Reconstruction, which is why they’re working so hard this time to strangle it in its cradle — and we must know that. We have to recognize that helicopter leadership by so-called national leaders will not sustain a moral movement. What you need are local movements. The nation never changes from Washington, D.C. down. History teaches that it changes from Selma up, from Birmingham up, from Greensboro up.
Secondly, we need to use moral language, like the devotees of the First and Second Reconstructions. Moral language can re-frame and critique public policy regardless of who’s in power. A moral movement claims higher ground than merely a partisan debate, something that’s bigger than left versus right, conservative versus liberal. We have to begin to re-frame the conversation not to talk about left policies and right policies, but let’s talk about violence. And as people who run for office, are you on the side of violence?