The successful people we spoke with — in business, entertainment, sports and the arts — all had similar responses when faced with obstacles: they subjected themselves to fairly merciless self-examination that prompted reinvention of their goals and the methods by which they endeavored to acheive them.
Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer, Temple University Press
57 Years Since Rosa Parks’ Arrest
On December 1st, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama—57 years ago today—an African-American civil rights activist named Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and was arrested for civil disobedience. Though she did not know it at the time, her act of defiance became a catalyst to the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott and a prominent symbol for the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Today, there are dozens of streets, highways, parks, statues, and even municipal transit centers and stations dedicated in Rosa Parks’ honor around the United States.
You can do more good in politics than in any other sphere. You can end slavery, open opportunity and fight poverty. But you can achieve these things only if you are willing to stain your own character in order to serve others — if you are willing to bamboozle, trim, compromise and be slippery and hypocritical.
The challenge of politics lies precisely in the marriage of high vision and low cunning.
We end up as a sheer supplier of raw materials; our African intellectual resources end up in the developed world, strengthening the stranglehold global companies have in relation to us; our countries become markets for manufactured goods and services from developed economies.
We have an incestuous web of interconnected, predatory political and economic elites who have a stranglehold on our growth potential.
Whereas the West practiced majoritarian, or representative, democracy, ancient Africans practiced participatory democracy, where decisions were taken by consensus at village meetings variously called asetena kese by the Ashanti, ama-ala by the Igbo, guurti by the Somali, dare by the Shona, ndaba by the Zulu or kgotla by the Tswana.
We must be just as critical of those who seek to hide the challenges we face, as those who seek to present Africa as a continent of victims. It is our role to speak the truth as we find it and stimulate debate about the issues that matter most.
So much of our energy now and for the foreseeable future will have to be devoted to further reducing poverty levels relating to decades of political selling out. And the selling out continues, even as our economies are bouncing back. Why do our leaders keep selling us out? Same reason we all sell out – for nice things.