Being a Hope: Committing Ourselves to Making a Positive Difference by Getting Involved in San Diego’s Community Planning Groups

by on March 1, 2022 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

Cornel West Inspires at PL Nazarene’s Writer’s Symposium

By Mat Wahlstrom

Last Friday, I had the great fortune to hear Cornel West speak at Point Loma Nazarene University’s 27th Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. He resigned from teaching the public practice of philosophy at Harvard last year in protest over its dismal response to the Black Lives Matter movement because he lives what he teaches.

For Dr. West, the values of dignity, integrity, honesty, and generosity are as scientific constants: variables in every situation that cannot be changed. And it is foremost the neoliberal experiment of our time that requires their input from all of us.

I confess I am unable to express how much warmth and meaning was packed into his one-hour interview that cold evening in such a beautiful place. But once the video is posted at this link, I urge you all to see and hear for yourselves.

But for the larger purposes of my subject, I take my title from his new introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of his classic book, Race Matters. And in particular, this quote diagnosing the sickness of our current situation:

“Yet [Trump’s] triumph flows from the implosion of a Republican Party establishment beholden to big money, big military, and big scapegoating of vulnerable peoples of color, LGBTQ peoples, immigrants, Muslims, and women; from a Democratic Party establishment beholden to big money, big military, and the clever deployment of peoples of color, LGBTQ peoples, immigrants, Muslims, and women to hide and conceal the lies and crimes of neoliberal policies here and abroad; and from a corporate media establishment that aided and abetted Trump owing to high profits and revenues.”

As I and others here at the OB Rag have written many times, so much of what is wrong in our world and in San Diego can be traced to this systemic and cynical appropriation of values for packaging policies diametrically contrary to their meaning.

To gaze upon the enormity of the beast is to be invited to despair at its defeat. Which is precisely why we must focus on those beside us, keeping it only in the corner of our eyes. For as Dr. West has also written, “None of us alone can save the nation or the world. But each of us can make a positive difference if we commit ourselves to do so.”

All this month offers us chances to make a positive difference. Every March, all the community planning groups hold their annual elections for openings on their boards. As regular readers know, CPGs are the greatest common denominator of democracy in our city. And with them under greater attack than ever, your participation can make the greatest difference of all.

Here is a link to the map showing which CPGs cover where you live.  And here is the link to the schedule for when each will be holding theirs, with either a Planning Department page with election notices or separately maintained websites for finding out who is running and how to participate.

Please take the time to find out about the candidates, where they stand on the issues that matter to you, and whether they are committed to making a positive difference or enabling the establishment. And vote your heart.

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