how to affect policy change and get something done in america

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

DURING THE ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATIONS of the late 1960s and early ’70s, I re­call Dick Gre­gory praising the demon­stra­tors’ in­ten­tions, but he said that they would have little ef­fect on Amer­i­ca’s in­volve­ment in Viet Nam. To get some­thing done in America re­quired more than mass protests.

Now this is all from memory, but he said that if we re­ally want to make a change, we have to do it with our spending. Be­cause in America, when money talks, people listen!

He sug­gested that if only 10% of Amer­i­cans re­fused to buy a Coca Cola or go to Mc­Don­alds for just one week, Coca Cola and Mc­Don­alds would see that the war ended the fol­lowing week. Such is the power and in­flu­ence of the cor­po­ra­tions in this country.

I may be sim­pli­fying his ar­gu­ment, but you get the point. Of course, we didn’t do it for that war and we won’t do it for this war or the next wars be­cause re­gard­less of what pop­ular his­tory says, there were never that many people in this country mo­ti­vated enough to go to a single demon­stra­tion or protest against the Vietnam War . . .

Photo of Dick Gregory and Ossie Davis trying to get something done in America.

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is of actor and ac­tivist Ossie Davis and former comedian-turned-politician Dick Gre­gory. Davis and his wife Ruby Dee were “swept up in the so­cial un­rest pro­voked by the start of the Cold War, and the mounting ten­sions over racial in­jus­tice. The couple spoke out against Mc­Carthyism and stood by people like Paul Robeson, whom other black celebri­ties had con­demned for his pro-Communist views.

Deeply en­gaged in the civil rights move­ment, Davis and Dee were mas­ters of cer­e­monies for the March on Wash­ington in 1963, where Martin Luther King, Jr., de­liv­ered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Mal­colm X was among their friends and Davis gave the eu­logy fol­lowing the black leader’s as­sas­si­na­tion in 1965.

Davis had the courage to praise Mal­colm X at a time when most of the white world vil­i­fied him, even in death. Said Davis, ‘Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, con­tro­ver­sial and bold young cap­tain. . . . And we will . . . say to them . . . Mal­colm was our man­hood, our living, black man­hood!’ ” (Amer­i­cans Who Tell The Truth)



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