questions and answers: thoughts on global movement and the individual.
18 January 2012 § Leave a comment
If I’m always seeking out new experiences, how can I presume to turn away what they offer me based on some illusion of prior knowledge? I don’t know myself so well as to know how I will react to any given situation, and I doubt I’m the only one with that trait. It is widespread. what kind of spark do I need to feel as if I’d be doing what I should be – that is, doing something that seemed to matter, both to me and those around me? What have I stood on the sidelines, indeed even avoided being a part of the revolutions and protests which have swept the world in the past year? Surely I could contribute to the causes which bring proud tears to me eyes even as i read the mainstream media’s take on the movements, let alone the rare times i have braved my disappointment in myself for joining them to read and watch what’s happening on the ground in New York, Oakland, Madrid, Moscow, or any given Arab state (some now formerly) of ’emergency.’
Emergency, indeed – of the people! The flaws of modern civilization, in both the free world and the repressed, are under microscope and spotlight; their creators, propagators, and beneficiaries are being called out and are doing everything they can to keep a rapidly changing world the same as it never really was. To continue the ever-widening division between them and the people who unwittingly support them, to value still their wealth of cash which is subject to inflation but perhaps not to taxes – this cannot endure. Will not endure. 2011 was the first year of a struggle which will divide – has already divided – people from their governments, and governments from the principles on which they were established.
In the Arab world, last spring proved to the so-called leaders of nations that fear tactics and oppression are no longer affective ways to hold power. the United States’ law enforcement agencies’ violent reactions to the peaceful Occupy movement showed the world just how much integrity we hold for the Constitution and our Bill of rights, which people flock to be protected by, and point fingers at the first amendment while addressing a media so influenced and unfree that not only is it severely biased but flaunts bald-faced lies to an ignorant public it wishes to remain so.
It very well may be that every fifty years or so, some massive protest uprises from the people, and that such demonstrations are needed to tilt the wheel of power – to keep those wielding it from writing themselves into history as dignified and flawless leaders of a perfect world while manipulating that passive, ignorant public and crushing those courageous enough to call for truth (who are sometimes called dissenters, other times protestors, and later revolutionaries, patriots, and leaders), show their peers the reason for the semicentennial consistency.
However, when one generation demands change, and later, when they’ve fought their battles and won, integrates the characteristics of that protested, supposedly broken system they waned so badly to change into the society they themselves inherited, they are equal to the freedomfighters-turned-dictators willing, able, and happy to massacre those they vowed to free, protect, and enrich.
Why must their children wait until they grey in golden palaces to realize what they’ve done? Why have we waited through – waded through – ten years of war to stand up and say something, united? What fear had we before? How many illegal laws must the Senate pass on to an unfortunately ineffective president for the people to rise from their recliners to protect the rights they claim so fervently they enjoy? how can we support our armed forces who fight wars which do not protect our expensive freedoms but serve only those who can afford to buy them?
My generation fought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. My friends and schoolmates signed up for the front lines because we were being sold the idea of patriotism and freedom. With fires in their conditioned minds, they made their marks on dotted lines without so much as a post-it note of truth of what they were really fighting for. Some of them called me a coward for not doing the same.
And what have either of us accomplished, they, the fighters and puppets of political, cash wars, and I, the reluctant, invisibly supportive protestor, who has the same fear of being caged for something I believe in as well as for fighting for something I don’t? Nothing.
Therefore, there is only one answer to the unasked questions of those who govern the system we for some reason support – perhaps because we once superficially benefitted from it, or continue to have faith that a crashed economy will fix itself on the fundamental principles on which it was built, or maybe even on feel-good pep talks from Obama. Amongst those silent inquiries are Is This Working For You? and What Do You Want, If Not This? – an answer to which we must come up with to initiate any lasting change.
It is not enough to state only what we do not want, for the health of a movement depends as much on the solution to the problem as the courage of the people to not run away when the police shows up to shut them down. People must demand action, and change, and be willing to not only stand in the streets with signs proclaiming the faults on society with cardboard signs, but also to create something new from the ashes of the system they are slowly but surely burning down.