I'm no longer an idealist. But that doesn't mean I can't admire the work of those who are. Here's a Youtube of the protest organized by the Portland Coalition Against Poverty outside the Portland Police Bureau on September 17.

Watching it, I couldn't help but cringe. These guys sincerely believe in what they're fighting for and calling for, and there's something about the speech that grabs me. Yet, at the same time, I can't help thinking the whole thing seems naive. One thing I'm sure of: They mean it. And maybe that's enough. I can't remember the last time I sincerely meant anything I said, without at least a trace of irony, regret, or doubt. Actually I can...it was last week. But I'm not about to talk about "community power" without a cynic's awareness of what that really looks like in Portland in 2008. It shaves, for starters. And it cuts its hair. And it gets these BLOODY kids off my lawn...