Somehow, I imagine, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s insistence (fifty years ago) on agape would be even more binding for today's "movements."
Community and collectivism of yesteryear have progressively dwindled into sentiments of utopia. Still, I am fortunate enough that I can recall a time when neighbors were more familiar with one another than fans are today so acquainted with their favorite celebrities; inasmuch, fans adopt the respective political standpoints of their fave celebrities--people with near irreconcilable self-interests. Consequently, without historical references to community, utterances of relationship-building are considered perceivable threats to self-interest politics. Hence, we are, today, eagerly committed to an unwillingness to reach across the aisle to those we believe to be, (or construct as), our cultural antitheses as self-preservation.
Since Dr. King's era, the boundaries and gaps articulating our individual existences have become insurmountable through mere political action. Without agape there is little motivation for a collective action built to sustain the longevity of a movement. We can surely rally to aid one another in collective self-interest, but the brevity of such alliances are merely campaigns as opposed to genuine movements. Social justice is now a sum zero game. Anything that suggests sacrifice, or anything less than strict adherence to political correctness and identity politics, is grounds to call off an alliance at the expense of the movement.
We see it all the time; people bunkered in their silos who reluctantly surface and do so only if their self-interests are aligned with another's. Selfish, disingenuous, fragile alliances. The interest of certain demographics I "belong" to may not always remain aligned well with other demographics, but I would be remiss to abandon the movement because I must forfeit some demands. Agape suggests that the overall movement is greater than my group's self-interest.
Bernie Sanders is a textbook example between a campaign and a movement and the exigence of agape. Sanders had an excellent strategy all things considered, but no agape. Thus, in the end, Sanders chose political expedience, capitulated to the Clintons, and retreated to his silos without penitence. He abandoned the movement once his self-interest became at-risk. There was nothing else to sustain him. "Berniecrats" demonstrated the ferocity of collective self-interest, but also exposed how its grounding can tear us apart with equal force.
So, of course, Dr. King puts agape first. That is hardly a mistake. It is an excellent strategy.
The problem, then, isn't agape or arriving at some mystic sainthood. We are fighting from a deficit when it comes to love. We (Westerners, primarily) are a people infatuated with violence: verbal, physical, emotional violence, inter alia. We are self-centered. We are most familiar with relationships framed as "versus". We don't come together for the sake of coming together. We must be coming together to combat something if we are going to have a relationship. The nonreligious and the nonspiritual must believe themselves incapable since agape is a love between a higher power and oneself. In many ways, we are simply unwilling to even try what Dr. King has suggested.
Thanks for letting me share.