Time for Revolution
Not long ago, I had an email exchange with a fine man to whom I am related by virtue of our mutual connection to an extended blended family, and with whom I often respectfully disagree. In a discussion with him where we DID agree, I got to thinking about how much I appreciate his effort to base his considerable opinions on considering the facts, and being (at least sometimes) considerate of the feelings of others.
He and I agree that in a world that is often defined by contentiousness, we each appreciate being among the seemingly few people who remind other people to (1) verify the sources of their information, and (2)choose against inflammatory language … no matter what side of a political, philosophical, economic, religious, or paradigmatic fence one may be on. Making important decisions about how we will live together as human beings is tough enough without having to wade through misinformation or outright lies, or having potentially meaningful dialogue complicated by needlessly antagonistic word choices.
We have no one to blame but our collective selves for everything that is wrong with the political and sociological systems of the world, and no one else to congratulate for the places where we get it right.
Political leaders – whether elected … or powerful by virtue of being respected opinion leaders – are often lightning rods for our displeasure with what is. Either we hold them responsible for the status quo, we hold them responsible for not doing more to change it, or perhaps we just appreciate them for saying things that makes us feel better about our own biased points of view. Ultimately, though, the continuing disorder in the world boils down to the fact that far too many of us are quick to complain, but slow to roll up our sleeves to work on our collective problems.
President Barack Obama, for example, is just one man. So is former President, George W. Bush. Some Americans like to blame presidents and other politicians for what’s wrong in the US. Actually, many do. Don’t be one of them.
No matter who is President, that person has limited influence on how decisions are made in this country because ultimately it is MONEY and POWER that talk. And usually, it is the people who have the money who also have considerable power; and generally speaking, they are most interested in keeping both. The powerful and the privileged often don’t know or care about the poor and disenfranchised. You know that, and I know that. Pointing fingers of blame at one another is a distraction at best, and a dangerous misuse of influence at worst.
As the great Gandhi famously said, we need to “be the change we wish to see in the world,” and that means taking action not actively complaining. It also means leading by example in the directions that we hope the world will collectively go – not hoping that others will lead us there, when our ignorance and apathy leave us with no possibility of influencing their decisions OR their leadership.
Until we start working together to find ways to FIX what seems to not be working very well in our world (and it will probably take some sort of “revolution” … and hopefully not a violent one), we will get more of the same toxic soup of anger, posturing, lip service, blame, sound bite politics, manipulation, apathy, ignorance, and more.
So the question is: What are YOU doing to help society evolve toward a form that more closely matches its best self?
- Are you one of the folks who complain and do nothing?
- Are you among those who are certain you are right and are not willing to carefully consider or even truly listen to opposing viewpoints?
- Do you play the part of the activist just long enough to feel justified that at least you’ve done something, but you have no sense of persevering until you see things change for the better?
- Are you – heaven forbid – among those who feel so entitled that you actually would destroy those you think are not worthy of the same entitlements?
Ultimately, if you and I are not part of the solution, then we are part of the problem. You’ve heard that before, but hear it again. Either be part of real solutions, or accept what others decide your world will be. There is not much in between, and the dangers of such acceptance are real and imminent.