Is it possible that western society has become so self-absorbed that we are blind to our own self-destructive behavior? While the rich get richer (apparently there are 85 that make up the 1% & they could all fit on a double-decker bus!) they seem to keep this plastic carrot hanging out there for the rest of us 99%-ers. You know the one, the carrot that says “if you work hard enough & long enough you can be wealthy like us.” And I call it a “plastic carrot” because it is a false dream. Not only is it a false dream, it is an unrealistic & unhealthy one, and a plastic carrot can’t possible be good for you!
I don’t know, maybe I’m becoming more & more contemplative in the midst of my mid-life crisis, or maybe just a little cynical. Or maybe I’ve just never really bought into the “keeping up with the Jones'” mentality. If I allowed myself to be seduced by that plastic carrot I probably would have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and be in debt beyond belief! So why do so many of the so-called 99% want what the 85 on the bus have? The only thing that the 85 on the bus have that I might want is control over our systems of governance. But, wait! How can a handful of people with money, jets, and mansions have more control over our lives when we outnumber them by, um, 99%??? (Ok, I am being cynical now, and a bit sarcastic!).
In the last several years we have all seen, and maybe even participated in, grassroots movements working for change. Some have sprung up after one individual stood up & said “NO!” to injustice. Some movements were in response to violence that is symptomatic of a long accepted culture of violence against women. Other groups like the CIW have been around for more than 20 years, yet are still counting their victories. Still other uprisings have been in response to oppressive regimes, violence, terror, &/or uninvited occupying countries. Who were the people behind these powerful movements? Us! Ordinary people with absolutely nothing to lose & everything to gain! People who decided that they would speak truth to power because it was what needed to be done.
On a day when we remember Martin Luther King, Jr., one can’t help but think of non-violent resistance. But how do we practice non-violence in the face of deadly terror or the everyday evils of oppression, violence & poverty? How do we practice non-violence without becoming so angry & frustrated that we become violent ourselves? I found Scilla Elworthy’s Ted-Talk answered these questions with clarity & wisdom. She’s right, I think we are finally “getting it” as humans. Scilla, MLK, and countless other peaceful people throughout history have come to realize this basic truth: Violence begets violence, but non-violence is a game-changer.
Whether it’s fighting oppression, violence, poverty, GMO’s, fracking, Big-Ag, modern day slavery, or any number of social justice & environmental issues, get out there & fight the good fight! We have voices that cannot be silenced. Find your niche & practice non-violence with the rest of us. Be a game-changer & get on the bus!