So, at long last, here is the commentary on the Network of Spiritual Progressives.
First and foremost, I came away from the conference with a great sense that we are living on the cusp of momentous change. The organizers of NSP appear to be saavy, deliberate, sincere, charismatic, experienced, both practical and idealistic, and determined. Those characteristsics speak to me of a great probability for success. If the NSP can demonstrate even limited influence in the upcoming elections, in formulating policy, and then again in 2008, I think it will be cemented as a force to contend with in American politics.
The reestablishment of hope among the left is perhaps one of the most important goals for the next couple of years. During the anti-war protests, there was such a feeling of empowerment and hope that we could stop something horrible from happening. When Bush seemed to simply ignore the millions of Americans pouring into the streets, it delivered a crushing blow as to the impact even large groups can have on American politics. It left many of us feeling that there was little or no point to trying to work for change, because the government had no sense of accountability to the people or any need to do what the people willed. If NSP can demonstrate some success in changing public policy, it will breathe life back into the left, and, I believe, help bring about a sea change in the way the liberal public (especially the liberal public living in red states) feels.
Of course, I also hope that NSP can be successful in challenging corporate hegemony, and redirecting our nations resources to bettering life for people in need, both in this country and abroad, in encouraging a humane vision for the future where people are seen as more than consumers waiting to be sold to. It was so refreshing to be in a forum where the arts were celebrated, where people were celebrated for their ability to love, to create, to hold dear family and friends, to celebrate the Divine Impulse, and the divine within each other, not just as points in a political game or dollars in the race to create more wealth for the few. It was wonderful to hear people speaking about business as a place to provide for the needs of the many, to support families, not just vehicles to generate more capital, more profits.
I guess it is pretty obvious, I came away from the meeting hopeful and wanting to be a part of this movement, to the best of my ability.