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Happy Dog Takes on the World

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On Tuesday, March 6th, we attended another "Happy Dog Takes on the World" forum (we always love attending these programs because they feature fun but thought-provoking dialogues) which took place at the "Happy Dog" on Detroit Avenue (where else?) and featured our friend from both the City Club and Cleveland Council on World Affairs Ms. Carina Van Vliet who moderated a discussion between Professor Pete Moore and Professor Karen Beckwith, both from CWRU, concerning "Contentious Politics and the Global Implications of Revolt and Revolution".

Another factor that draws us to the "Happy Dog" is the opportunity to connect with people we wouldn't ordinarily get to meet. On this occasion, for instance, we shared a table with Ms. Lucy McKernan who admires Ms. Margaret W. Wong tremendously and her husband, Mr. Charles Cassady, Jr. who authored several books like "Great Lakes Folklore: Legends of the Five Sisters" and "Cleveland Ghosts-Nights of the Working Dead in the Modern Midwest".

Needless to say, in the course of the discussion, a lot of time was devoted to discussing historical revolts and the recent revolts in the Middle East as well as the circumstances that caused them to succeed and/or fail.

What really interested us, however, were the sections that concerned the "campaigns" that are now taking place in the United States around such issues as immigrant rights and gun control because they especially pertinent to us as U.S. citizens. Even though it might be a stretch to consider  these endeavors to be "revolutionary" they do shake things up a bit.

As was said, a truly significant social movement must challenge society's norms and ideas by causing people to re-think their conceptions about what is fair and unfair.

Along these lines, the way that the high schoolers have organized on behalf of much stricter gun control laws is especially noteworthy because they seek genuinely consequential instead of incremental change and the public seems to be behind them so far. Most importantly, they are forming a definite plan of action that targets those who actually have the power to enact the changes they seek. As a result, the ever-powerful NRA is quite frightened that the youngsters just might beat them this time.

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Solidarity is certainly a key factor and we all were impressed by a suggestion that the Florida students might consider partnering with the inner-city students who are well-familiar with the effects of gun violence. Likewise, as we proceed with our efforts to help the dreamers and bring about constructive immigration reform we must build as many alliances as possible.

A challenge faced by all is how far out of our comfort zone we will be willing to go. It is one thing to show up at the polls and vote and take part in a demonstration in a park on a warm, sunny day but it was justifiably pointed out that night at the "Happy Dog" that relatively few of us have the level of commitment to put our personal relationships, our jobs, and even our safety (i.e. the casualties of the civil rights movement) on the line for what we profess to believe in. Yet such a commitment by at some of us is necessary to bring about societal change.

As we said before, the "Happy Dog" forums are thought-provoking.

 

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC