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two waves of change

Two Waves of Change; Dean AND Kucinich by Stephen Dinan

Many Kucinich supporters lament the number of people that have assembled, somewhat skittishly, behind Howard Dean.  Since many Dean supporters have confessed that they would really prefer Dennis Kucinich were he "electable" many of us wonder, "why not get behind the candidate you REALLY believe in?"

Instead of fighting the current situation, I say celebrate it!  The reason is that there are two main waves of change sweeping the country.  Howard Dean provides a powerful rallying point for the first wave and Dennis is providing the rallying point for the second.  Many people involved in the early stages of the second wave wonder why the masses haven't yet caught on.  But this misses a crucial point: people can't be forced into the second wave until the first wave has worked its magic.  And that magic is this:

Many, many Americans are hurting.  Every new announcement from the Bush administration is like a dagger, cutting the proud ideals of America into red, white, and blue ribbons.  We are ashamed of America's behavior in the world, outraged by the overthrow of so many advances, galled at the waste of life and resources.  We feel grief and pain over our national trajectory

For quite some time, many have felt the wound, but most felt powerless to stop the ongoing abuse.  Corporate money, fear of terrorists, distorted media, and the juggernaut of Bush's neo-cons seemed unstoppable.

The magic of Howard Dean is that his feisty demeanor and anti-Bush rhetoric has stirred progressive America from its slumbers.  Through righteous anger in the service of ending the abuse of power, he has provided a rallying point.  Through his goading, he resurrects our confidence that we can defeat Bush next year.  Through his attacks, he inspires the grass roots to organize.  He is allowing us to shed the first layer of our cocoons.

The thing to notice, though, is that Dean has a much more cloudy vision of the society and world we want to create.  His energy is that of rebellion, not progress.  His voice is that of combat, not peace.  His vision is that of railing against the status quo, not creating a truly just world.  His stance is one of antagonism, not the stance that goes beyond the fight and stands in a fundamentally wiser place.

Dennis Kucinich spent some of his early career in a more oppositional stand, just as Dean does now.  He fought the good fight with the "enemies."  However, he now stands beyond that, in a place of commitment to truth.  He will certainly go into battle for a good cause, but he does so without rancor or demonizing the perceived enemy.  He has worked through the dramas that are necessary to become a man of wisdom and integrity.  He has been through his fiery trials to become a light unto the world.

>From that place, his policies emerge as a service to the country and a service to his constituents rather than a way for him to maintain or increase power.  In doing this, he rekindles the noble fire at the heart of America and reminds us of our highest mission as a country.  

He is a new kind of political leader for today's America, more like Mandela in South Africa or Lula in Brazil, or stretching backwards in time, like Abraham Lincoln.  These leaders surface at moments of crisis when it is imperative that a country evolves beyond the problems of the moment into the next stage of maturity.  

I am thankful these leaders do arise and - against every possible obstacle - triumph.  However, it often takes some time for them to be heard.  The heart is vulnerable.  When leaders speak from their heart, they are not always heard at first because we, as listeners, need to open our hearts as well.  The more clear their message and the deeper the truth they offer, the longer it typically takes for a society to be ready.  First, the anger and rage and fear must come to their own conclusion.  Our defenses, walls, and barriers must come down.  Then, the sweeter music can be heard and the notes can sound that call us into a life of beauty, purpose, and destiny.

For now, much of progressive America appears to need the strident chords of rebellion, the tone sounded by Dean. We need to find our authentic strength and power. In doing this, we can let anger and fear work their magic until they have empowered us to stand stronger and bolder.  

But as anger and fear wane, as they necessarily do, people will need to turn, one by one, to someone of wisdom, love, and courage.  Someone who offers more than rebellion.  Someone who offers a vision of what we can become as a nation and a world.  That person is Dennis Kucinich.  

The second wave assembling around Kucinich may be smaller at the moment but it is strong.  There is an inspiring loyalty, love, and commitment in those who are helping to get out the word, raise the money, and find future allies.  The roots are going down deep.  As the roots strengthen, something more than a political campaign is being born.  It is a movement, a movement that seeks to fundamentally reshape our society.  Those who are in the second wave are now being strengthened and seasoned for what is to come, as the skitterish herd begins to lose its enthusiasm for the bluster of the first wave and open to the second.  We are providing the scaffolding on which their renewed dreams will be built.

Instead of fighting those who stand behind Dean right now, encourage them to stand in their truth of the moment.  Encourage them to engage the anti-Bush stance with every ounce of intensity in their being.  That intensity will serve as a magnet to those who still slumber and need to be welcomed into the first wave of change.  The intensity also hastens the day when their anger and fear are expended and love becomes the driver.  Love, commitment, and noble ideals are the rocket fuel for the longer mission.  Anger and fear can only provide the first boost.

As people leave the first wave and enter the second, welcome them while continuing to honor Dean.  His role for the Kucinich campaign is important and necessary.  When we win, as I believe we will, it will be by standing on the foundation that he has helped to create.  So honor him while beckoning to those who are ready for the next, more enduring wave of change.  

Eventually, the next wave will become a tidal wave that overwhelms the limitations of the past.  That wave can only be delayed, never stopped, for it is the movement of the human adventure into greater destinies.  It is the march of evolution itself.  And the only national political leader right now who can lead that wave is Dennis Kucinich.

I encourage you to read through the website of Dennis Kucinich, especially the area called "Welcome to the Movement" where people write about why they have joined the campaign.  Their words are deeply inspiring and speak more clearly of these shifts than anything I might say here.

Most of all, I urge you to begin to believe that as one person after another finds their authentic heart and their true passion, we cannot help but triumph.  May that group include you as well. 


Stephen Dinan is the author of Radical Spirit (New World Library, 2002), and founder of the Radical Spirit Community.  Stephen directed and helped to create the Esalen Institute's Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers, and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. Currently, he serves as the marketing manager for an HR software company called Enwisen , campaigns for Dennis Kucinich and runs workshops.  Stephen is developing several new books, including a companion volume to Radical Spirit entitled Radical Spirit in Action, a memoir set in India called In Kali's Garden, a collection of poetry and a novel. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in human biology and holds a master's in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.



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