They call it the grassroots because that is where spring begins.

The first sign of change is the slight blush of green in the grasses brown and yellow from the winter. As the thaw drifts downward, flowers rise and the change becomes visible in colors. By then the bushes are responding and the first buds and leaves are manifesting hip high. As winter vacates the deeper dirt, the trees finally show the spring has come.

Spring begins at toe level, moves ankle high and grows higher, changing to the waist, then shoulders, and finally past the point that we can reach.

To view where change will come from, note where the thaw is. To observe the future, feel for where creative forces are established and growing. We may not be able to see the thaw, but we can feel its effects.

The American Left is interconnected in ways that it has never been before with almost 30 national organizations able to quickly communicate with local members and receive feedback from their experiences in the field. It is the equivalent of 30 huge oak trees with roots extending, intersecting and influencing a wide group of people. For these organizations, it is still early April. Though the sap is moving, there is little evidence of leaves.

Local Left organizations are budding as their roots warm. These bushes, closer to the ground, are influenced more quickly than the trees. There are literally thousands of them. Still, members of these groups are mostly over 50 years old. They are not participating in the activities of the grasses.

In the way that spring begins with the lowest and moves quickly higher with the thaw, political change begins with the youngest, moves to the older and influences more ancient institutions established over time. Though the trees and bushes of our political landscape reveal interconnections far healthier than has been the case in the past, it is the grasses that reveal an astonishing webbing of interconnections leading to more than just seasonal change. What the young are doing that we older activists are dimly aware of is establishing massive, online, horizontal linking relationships, thereby forming the foundations for future change.

Neoteny is the process by which the features of the youngest or earliest stages of ontogeny or growth are manifested in the later stages of evolutionary descendants. We are observing features of the seamless communication of the cellular structure of a single human being manifesting in the behaviors of young humans communicating across the planet through social networking, new more sophisticated cell phones and the web.

It’s as if the prairies were returning with root structures that have no end. If wisdom comes with interconnection and relationship, then the grassroots will guide us.


Name (required)

Email (required)


Share your wisdom