In my lifetime, Women refused to keep their place, Blacks refused to ride in the back of the bus, Men refused to be drafted into an unjust war. Gays refused to be kept in the closet. A Black man became President of the United States. So I know we have it in us to change the world.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen other, less hopeful signs, too: insider deals that made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Prisons sanctioned by our own country, but outsourced to hide the truth, where people are tortured and held without trials or lawyers or hope of due process.
I’ve seen our Constitution trashed by lesser men than the ones who wrote it. Our rights ignored… our privacy invaded… our fears manipulated… our stupidities exploited… our votes suppressed or voided.
Who have we become that we allow this, I wonder? Surely, we Americans never meant this to be.
I’ve seen our planet both pillaged and privatized. Water rights bought by men who wish to control its life-giving power. Whole ecosystems compromised. Seeds made purposely sterile to ensure the fortune of greedy manipulators. The Middle Class squeezed dry, as homes are lost and kids lose the dream of college, and the job market stays frozen, while Wall Street moguls, banks and the 1% grow ever richer and more powerful. So rich and powerful in fact, that they can buy off legislators and media and judges – so rich and powerful they can buy elections to insure that they stay in power.
I’ve seen wars created out of whole cloth and greed, and hyped by a media either controlled by Higher Ups or intent on a higher Nielson Rating. Wars fought by teacup tyrants who pose as statesmen and line their friends’ pockets with the blood money of boys and girls who are sold the bill of goods that they’re fighting for freedom, when the wars are, for the most part, waged to make profits, and then sold to the public as Patriotism.
Who have we become that we allow this downward spiral of compromised Truth, I wonder? Surely, we never intended to be fooled by lies so big, they begin to seem plausible.
I’ve seen a generation decimated by illegal drugs, while the vast fountain of money this drug traffic produces keeps banks in business, funds Black Ops for governments, and makes corrupt officials rich.
I’ve seen Women’s Rights, already so hard won, become a political bargaining chip for fundamentalist religious bigots who seek to co-opt our freedoms and rewrite them to fit their own narrow-minded political agendas.
I’ve seen a two party system in Congress that used to be willing to compromise for the common good, become so self-serving and polarized, it has paralyzed the country it claims to represent. I’ve seen Statesmen replaced by Politicians and Special Interest Groups given free rein to buy allegiances and elections with endless corporate and personal money, so the man in the street – the electorate – is left to feel confused and all-but powerless.
So here’s my question:
What if we’re the ones we’ve been waiting for to change all this? Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Lakota Sioux first asked that question. What if we’re the saviors of the world, born in a time of moral and ethical crisis with exactly the skills needed to create a better world? What if a hero lives in each and every one of us, just waiting to be called to action?
What if what’s needed is that we encourage one another to believe again that we have the power to change the fate of our country, by fighting back with the one strength we of the 99% still possess: the power of our vast numbers. Is it just possible that those vast numbers give us a shot at taking our future back from those who seem to have hijacked it? Is it possible we could muster enough courage and cohesion to take it back from the greedy and the ruthless…take it back from the self-serving who cater to the highest bidder…take it back from the spin doctors who twist the news and trash the truth…take it back from the fakes and the fascists who pretend to be keeping us safe, as they stealthily invade our privacy and blatantly ignore our Constitutional rights.
Take it back from the wishy-washy who care more about vegging out than voting. Take it back from the pillagers of the environment. Take it back from politicians who are in the pockets of corporate interests. Take it back before it’s too late… Before the very right to fight for your rights, is no longer guaranteed, because the Constitution has been breached and eroded for political profit.
I hate to say this, but much as I deplore the Tea Party’s policies and shananigans, I understand their frustration and admire their willingness to fight.
So the question becomes how do we muster the same determination and media noise level they’ve achieved while maintaining both rationality and purpose? How do we find time in the intensity of our overburdened lives to fight to save a way of life in which the American Dream can still come true? Where the system of checks and balances that worked to stem the insatiability of greed for 200 years can once again become the necessary norm.
We all know what we need — the list is pretty straight-forward: Corporate Regulation. Banks that aren’t permitted to be too big to fail. Presidential elections funded by the people not by special interests. A fairer system of taxation. A Congress that isn’t endlessly running for office so it’s always in debt to special interests. Equal Rights for all citizens… all colors, all genders. A government that stays out of people’s bedrooms and doctor’s offices. A military industrial complex that isn’t given endless wars to maintain its endless financial stranglehold on our tax dollars. An end to the insanity of lobbying. I could add more, but I know you get the drift…
We know how to do it. We’ve moved impossible mountains before. We know it isn’t usually governments or corporations that make profound moral and ethical changes for the betterment of humanity, it’s groups of like-minded individuals who fight for what they believe in.
We can do it again…and maybe we must.
Because I think we’re the only ones who can save us now.
© Cathy Cash Spellman/The Wild Harp & Co. Inc 2012