Two ideas stand out to me thus far.
The first is his effort to inspire young activists to stay strong in the face of adversity, and to remain hopeful and committed. I think this kind of motivation could apply to anyone pursuing any goal, but it is especially relevant to those of us that seek to affect the direction of public policy, and ultimately the direction of society, i.e. the future. He reminds the young activist to find joy in their work.
In other words, when you act politically, act playfully too - not out of sheer contrariness but out of free delight. Duty requires reason - because you don't want your action to interfere with your goals - but duty is not condemned to bleakness. Duty leaves room for joyful initiative. Just because you let the dark side of the world into your nervous system doesn't mean that you have to surrender to gloom, which in any case is never as justified as it thinks. Let the poseurs sneer at the activists, calling them humorless while wearing humorless smirks - they don't know what they're missing.
I cannot think of a better bit of advice to give to Tea Partiers around the nation. Let people call you a tea bagger. Who cares? I certainly don't. Let the detractors roll around in their pig pens of overtly biased analysis and cynical, childish commentary. Gitlin is right, you do not need to surrender to gloom, ever. Take pride in your efforts to have an effect on society, and dammit, have fun while you are doing it.
Strength and joy can combat sneers and ignorant derisiveness any day of the week.
Well done to everyone who has fought so hard against the 2,000+ page monster of a bill, knowing that the bill does not contain "reform," but instead contains payoffs and paybacks and transformational policies that only very few desire.
There is still hope, so don't worry.
I'll discuss the second main idea tomorrow.