When power rests in the hands of the ignorant, nothing is sacred.
It doesn’t matter what you believe in, or how well you live your life -the content of your character doesn’t come into consideration if you can’t get anyone to recognize it in the first place. In these turbulent times everyone is looking for someone else to blame, and they rarely look past your skin or your clothes or the person you’re standing next to. Don’t let the regularly scheduled programming fool you; there is turbulence in this country and all over the world right now. Race, class and gender are still issues -and the villains are harder to spot than they ever have been.
Liberals point to the wealthy and the wealthy point at the poor, the tea party points to anyone with a natural tan and the occupy movement points at power and greed. Conservatives point their fingers at women and poor people and immigrants and unions and just about everyone who isn’t wearing a suit and getting paid six figures to crack metaphorical bullwhips in the air.
Is this a war on the working class or the successful 1%? Is there a war on women or on the freedom of a religion that has oppressed or converted every culture it has touched? We’re faced with so many potential villains, it’s as if there is no villain at all.
Or is that exactly what they want you to think?
We have “reality TV” taking over the timeslots of awesome scripted shows that people watch, while in actual reality governments are killing thousands of their own citizens and power-crazed millionaires are manipulating the economies of entire countries for their own clandestine agendas. Children are starving and what’s left of middle class America has spiraled farther down its own cycle of self destruction. How do we respond? Vitriol and ignorance.
Legislation is being passed that reduces protections for female victims of abuse, eliminates successful education initiatives and outlaws the joining of two people who love each other. We have lawmakers who bounce at the end of corporate strings with no concern whatsoever for the desires or the success of our middle class.
This weekend the NATO summit in Chicago will be met with protest and chaos, and while the Occupiers get treated like “enemy combatants”, a number of their fellow Americans will nod to the police who bully them -completely missing the point. They aren’t protesting NATO because they want something for free -they are trying to draw attention to what NATO stands for. If we don’t pay attention, nobody wins.
There are many culprits to blame for the tragedy our system has become, and the only way to turn this ride around is for us to recognize the truth and accept it -even if it makes us uncomfortable. The best things that have ever happened to this country, the biggest positive changes we’ve gone through, have been at the behest of a group of pissed off people speaking unfriendly truths to the power structure until something gave way.
As long as we continued to be tossed and turned and pointed at one another by the powers that are causing these problems -as long as we complain about those who are taking action in the hopes of making things better- we are all to blame.
If you truly love America, you fight to make it better for everyone who lives here. We call our country the land of the free and the home of the brave, and we love to remind each other that freedom isn’t free. The cost of that freedom has changed. We spend more on defense than every other military in the world combined and multiplied. We have the most toys. Our biggest enemy is ourselves -the silent giant that has once again fallen asleep at it’s post. Our men and women in the military can only do so much to protect us -it is up to us to be informed and civically engaged. To earn the sacrifices they’ve made, and to live up to the standard of involvement they have set. Be a soldier for justice right where you are, or you have no one to blame but yourself.
Today the cost of Freedom is comfort, and no one ever changed the world by staying off the old man’s grass.