I avoid political talk. People tend to get excited about politics and hold firm opinions, and see things in black and white. Last time I believed in black and white I was five years old. Even when discussing issues I feel passionately about (child molest and rape), I acknowledge that the people who commit these atrocities are themselves damaged. The action is wrong, but I still have a smidgen of compassion for the person who did it.
No one is pure in politics. To accomplish anything in politics you have to be pragmatic, and that means compromise. Sometimes compromise is a good thing, because what is generally good exists in the middle, rather than in anyone’s radical extreme. But is it really compromise if one side of an issue is required to give up everything, because the other side is more powerful? Power exists in influence, and in the modern world influence is often controlled by money. Not everywhere, of course, but probably most often in “developed” regions (who then use that power to club the less “developed” regions).
I am getting very frustrated with Big Business and Big Money in the United States. It’s like that blog entry I wrote, “Thriving Regions?”, where I wanted to talk about the need for better mental health care and the Chamber of Commerce talked about how to help businesses make more money. I am truly willing to live at a lower “standard of living” if it means other people get the help they need, and I put my money where my mouth is. I talk with other people about that, but mostly I listen to what people want and need.
Listening to what people need — what a concept! Lately a lot of politicians in the United States are busy telling us what we need. Unfortunately, the only people they are listening to are on the radical edges of ideology, or the people with money who can finance their campaign.
In the early 1600s the English Parliament passed a lot of laws restricting the rights of religions other than the Church of England. Non-Anglicans (particularly Catholics) became so frustrated and desperate that they planned to blow up the House of Parliament. They did not succeed, but Guy Fawkes (a principal in the plot) was vilified, and England still celebrates Guy Fawkes Day (as a time they stopped the rebellion). Fast-forward to 1982-1985, when in England Alan Moore and David Lloyd wrote a comic called “V for Vendetta,” about a totalitarian English government that outlawed homosexuality, all non-white races, and anyone or anything thing who disagreed with their Christian-based ideology. Individual rights were severely curtailed. A man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, “V”, conducted a solitary terrorist assault on the government, and in a year’s time the nation rose up behind him and supported the downfall of that government. When people’s individual rights are so severely curtailed by Big Money and Big Business, they are left with no choice but to take radical action.
I am not a radical. I am an average person who wants to live a peaceful, happy life, and to help those around me do the same. But I am angry about the potential for having my rights and the rights of people around me taken away. The right to grow my own food from seeds I saved from last year. The right to choose how many children I will have. The right to marry the consenting adult of my choice. I want us to help people who have lost hope (which in the long run saves us money, too).
There is a group call Anonymous. They have created a video, “Anonymous: General Strike #OpMayDay.” Yes, I realize this group of hackers did illegal things. Am not sure how I feel about that, but perhaps that is what it takes to call attention to the problems. At least they didn’t try to blow up Parliament. What they are suggesting in their video is that people around the world participate in a General Strike on May 1st, to show Big Business and Big Money they need us. [Please watch the video.] As a friend pointed out, one day of not working or not spending is not going to affect Big Business/Big Money. But I am hoping it will serve them notice that we are not going to shut up and roll with their program.
I am participating in the May 1st General Strike. As a friend suggested, I am using that day to rethink my lifestyle, and how I can change it so I do not support Big Business and Big Money on a daily basis. Am not sure what direction that will take yet. But I challenge you to make a similar committment to strike on May 1st, or to at least stop and question what you are being told to do, and how that fits what you believe.
Things are not black and white, but I’m looking for Hope in the grey.