The Common Good

M2EP Live: First blog

This is my first blog, so bear with me if I get it wrong. With a blog you only have 140 characters to convey your message and ... no ... that's a twitter, I think, from people who twit. Now I remember. A blog can be of any length and encompasses themes both universal -- in this case the broad issues arising from our three-day Mobilization Against Poverty -- and personal; specifically, how best to sneak a bottle of water into the Convention Center.

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The Convention Center is one of the largest buildings in Washington, D.C. The lobby where I'm sitting could easily accommodate a commercial airliner, provided it was piloted by Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, a man of considerable skill. Although, even he might have trouble navigating through those revolving doors. While imposing in size and architectural scope, the Convention Center also projects the familiar ambiance of a baseball park: Namely, you can't bring in outside food or drink.

Yes, there are water fountains place conveniently so that, when setting a brisk pace, visitors can walk to the next one within a fortnight. But well-prepared conferees should bring in their own means of hydration. Personally, I strapped a 12-ounce water bottle around my ankle, inside my pantleg. I chose the smaller model, figuring anything bigger would result in a noticeable limp and worse, an unsightly wet spot on the trousers, something hard to explain even to the tolerant and understanding people gathered for an anti-poverty conference.

And there are a lot of us here. Over a thousand people from all across the nation joining together in the nation's capital because, so far, there are no reported cases of swine flu here. But that's not the only reason we're here. We've come to hear speakers, learn strategies, and share ideas for reducing poverty. This morning there will be a major address from a member of the White House staff and a video from the President himself. He would have joined us in person, but he heard you can't bring in your own food. (Secret Service agents you can bring in from the outside, but not that apple you were saving for later.)

We're just about to go into our first plenary, a major presentation on the "Fierce Urgency of Now," and I don't want to be late. (Nobody ever talks about the Fierce Urgency of a Little Later, which would certainly fit my schedule better.)

Ed Spivey Jr.

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