anger, hope and a plan

I’ve been thinking about writing something about the passing of Coretta Scott King & Betty Friedan, but I’m about three days late, and I feel like everything good has been said in other parts of the feminist blogosphere. So this post, while not specifically about them, is dedicated to their memories, and to the hard work they spent their lives doing.

In my first real job as an organizer, I was lucky enough to be trained by some people who took the responsibility of training activists very seriously. Instead of learning to recite a pre-written script, they taught me how to structure an organizing conversation that could be used for any type of issue campaign. The structure was called “problem/ solution/ strategy,” and the basic theory was that the organizer had to, very quickly, define the problem (‘US weapons manufacturers sell arms to dictators’), provide a solution (‘we have to make this illegal’), and lay out a strategy (‘join our organization/write a letter to your Congressperson/volunteer to get others to write letters’). A few weeks ago, I was at a meeting where one of my co-workers described this structure as ‘anger, hope and a plan,’ which I actually like better.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because I feel like I’m off my game at work. It’s odd, because I just pulled together an event that was pretty successful, but at that event, I was really unsatisfied with my own performance, and I just realized that it came down to the fact that I forgot the ‘anger, hope & a plan’ approach, and just talked plan, plan, plan.

It was Betty Friedan who taught a generation of American women that it was okay to be angry. And it was Coretta Scott King who taught us, by her shining example, that giving in to anger wasn’t enough, we also had to have hope. As an organizer, I know that it’s not enough to just give people the plan without engaging them in the problem and how to solve it. I’m disappointed in myself that I forgot that.

February 7, 2006. politically motivated.


  1. Sandra replied:

    Did you read in the news recently that Ken Mehlman, RNC Chair, said that Hillary Clinton is too angy? Doesn’t she know ladies ought not to get angry? It might lead to a host of evils, such as shrill, demanding, and bitchy.

  2. kdubs replied:

    Awesome reflection. I appreciate the transparency.


  3. fidget replied:

    i think you need to read the historical fiction novel : Sex Wars
    i have a feeling it’s right up your ally and may remind you of anger and hope

  4. Twiss replied:

    It’s okay. You’re okay. Maybe that’s not what you want to hear but this is one time where you forgot. So, today I misplaced $10 that I kind of was hoping to still have in my pocket at lunchtime. But I am not a careless person and I cannot remember the last time I misplaced money. I do not know when that was. And you probably don’t remember the last time you forgot about hope. And that’s a good thing because you mostly remember it. And if I say “chin up,” to you it’s because I want to say thanks.

    I stumbled across your blog in the way that these things happen and I’ve been over on v.1 reading your archives. I write a pretty great letter most Christmases and it’s not where I went on vacation, etc. It’s about what I’ve been thinking about for the last year. But I haven’t written a letter since Dec. 2003 because I think there just isn’t much good to write about. And the letter goes to people on the left and the right and I haven’t been able to think of something I cared about to say to both sides that I thought they would listen to. But because of your thoughtful writing – about books and your kids (and really, I could give a shit about the mommy blog thing) and the way you want the world to be for them and how you decide your life and actively choose to live it, today, I cranked out a Valentine to send to the tribe. And at the end of it, after I described loss after loss, I told them we had to start finding. Because we have to still keep going. And we do. So I should probably address those letters and put them in the mail but this is my valentine to you. You put your hope in the tip jar at Starbucks – at least I’m pretty sure that’s where my $10 ended up, folded up in a $1.

  5. Comfort Addict replied:

    Too often, I realize after the fact that I have lost my center or my soul while enmeshed in some “important” activity. This usually happens at work. In fact, it happened the other day when I said something to someone that I shouldn’t have said. Soon afterwards, I apologized and, since then, I’ve been trying hard to bring my values to what I do.

    I guess that I’m saying that at least you realize now what is important and I’ll bet that you are resolving not to forget it. That’s more than many people on the planet can do.

  6. Trasherati replied:

    LM, I hope you’ll allow me to reference your entry while teaching my Comm 101 class this week. I just discussed Monroe’s motivated sequence with them, but feel they’ll understand it better and relate to it more if it’s described in terms of “anger, hope, and a plan”.

  7. Half Changed World replied:

    Citizens and consumers…

    This post started bouncing around in my head in response to Andrea’s comments on my post about Eating local and the environment. And then she posted a long piece today in which she amplified her frustration at with the idea…

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