Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Scudder, Vermont's Next Grassroots Governor

I never thought I would have a title for my post that resembled a campaign slogan because political cheerleading is not my thing, but every now and then there are people who run for political office that are actually natural leaders. Scudder Parker http://scudderparker.com is that type of leader. I'm reading the companion book to the Eyes on the Prize PBS series about the Civil Rights Movement http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/eyesontheprize/ and there is this wonderful quote about social change and leadership. In the introduction by Julian Bond (While Martha Rainville's staff does not feel obligated to site sources, I was taught that plagiarism is illegal-see MLA style guide) he reflects on how this printed companion to the documentary Eyes on the Prize series, emphasizes the grassroots nature of the Civil Rights Movement. (This is where you use quotation marks) "First, it takes readers beyond the popular belief that larger than life figures such Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy were the movements important players. That is not to diminish those men, but, as you will learn, they were not solely responsible for this era or its successes. That insight is important because, nowadays, few people believe it."

With his people-powered engine (PPE-see picture at left), which is a vehicle that is powered by people pedalling bicycles inside the "engine", Scudder has created a beautiful literal and metaphorical representation of people power. Scudder Parker and his supporters recognize that the only way for real change is through leaders that represent the grassroots movements. Bond goes on to explain why the turning point for the Civil Rights movement came when it did. "When people stopped waiting for someone else and formed their own movement in the 1950s, the problem of legal segregation was overcome. That movement molded a Martin Luther King, and perhaps a future movement will create another leader of comparable stature." At his 60th birthday party at the shelter in Montpelier's Hubbard Park, Scudder articulated a sentiment that reflects his commitment to his leadership role in grassroots change. I am para-phrasing, but the thrust of Scudder's statement was that a leader comes about when the need arises out of a people powered movement and he is honored to be that leader. Leadership that emerges from the people instead of the corporations! Wow, what a novel concept. Maybe that's what our fore-people meant by a representative democracy.


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