We have PR executives posing as stay-at-home moms fighting for gun control. We have corporations who create false grassroots organizations with the faces of family farmers plastered all over them to instill fear into people so they vote against GMO labeling initiatives. The oil and gas industry fights environmentalists and the EPA to save their record-breaking profits from declining (so why are gas prices still so high?) while continuing to take taxpayer-funded subsidies. The bees are dying. Trees are dying. GMOs are dangerous. Guns are dangerous. Teens with driver’s licenses are dangerous. Drugs are dangerous. Terrorists are dangerous. Tea Party members are dangerous. Bleeding heart liberals are dangerous. Someone save us, please!!!
I mentioned in a previous post that I am taking an advanced composition course that is entirely focused on rhetorical analysis. I love this class (though it has been a challenge). I already had some previous experience identifying fallacies, and my bullshit meter is fairly fine tuned. One of my other classes just finished a week of studying the French Revolution. My conclusion after this unit is that the fight is not about right or wrong or good versus evil, but a battle for the minds of people, and the corporations know this. Wealthy, powerful politicians know this. What is dangerous is that the average person does not.
Oh, we want to think that we know this, but we forget it more often than not. The battleground is in our minds. So it’s all in our heads, huh? Well, not exactly and kind of.
We face serious issues in the 21st century: climate change (yes, this really is happening — I agree with the president), economic issues, environmental issues, human rights issues, and moral issues. The human race and our planet are in crisis. So what are we going to do about it?
The main problem I see is that we, meaning you and me, don’t want to take responsibility for the mess we are all in. We want someone else to fix it. I tell my kids that someone else doesn’t live here. He doesn’t live anywhere, really. What happens when we decide that someone else needs to fix this mess is that we give our power away to others. When we give up responsibility we give up power. Could this be the number one reason for human failure in the world? Could it be that simple?
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they have resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they suppress. – Frederick Douglass
When we refuse to take responsibility for the mess we are in we give up power — it is just so much easier to point the finger at someone else, isn’t it? “He’s the bad guy!!!” We turn responsibility over to those evil bastards in Washington, D.C. We know they are corrupt. We know they are paid off by big corporations and special interests. Yet we give up our power to them every day by buying foods filled with taxpayer subsidized GMOs (for my conservative friends who oppose SNAP yet buy foods containing GMOs or use canola oil, up to 30% of the cost of growing the crop that that product was made from was paid for by the federal government — you are receiving welfare from the government). We don’t grow tomatoes on our deck and share the extras with a single mom on our block because it is someone else’s job to feed the poor (government programs such as WIC, SNAP, and welfare). It is easier to pop some frozen junk food into the microwave than cook real food grown ethically and organically. We buy products “Made in China” knowing full well that those workers, the people who most likely slaved to make that cheap piece of junk, make almost nothing and their working conditions are deplorable. Yet we still buy that item because it is less expensive than its “Made in America” counterpart (so now who’s corrupt???).
When we demand that someone else fix the world we give away our power. Not only that, we give power to people who will most likely harm us in the future. Or they will harm our neighbors. Do we want an environment where our government must legislate everything for us because we are not able to take responsibility for our own families, communities, cities and states? When we demand that others fix the ills of the world we give up power.
Our founding fathers knew a few things when they formed this new nation: 1) freedom is expensive and has the potential for personal suffering; 3) power must remain in the hands of the people, not the government; 4) government power must be limited. They knew a lot more than this, but these work for my argument.
The Republican and Democratic parties have done nothing except polarize America. They offer no real solutions to the challenges we face as a nation. We must change our nation from within, one person at a time.
Power MUST remain in the hands of the people. Yet we are giving it up. We are giving it away. We are allowing powerful people who use seductive ideological arguments to lull us into thinking they are right, moral, or correct, to talk us into giving away our own power and the power of our neighbors.
How many people are in the House and Senate? How many of us are there? I would say we far outnumber the politicians in DC. I would say we also outnumber the CEOs of corporations such as Monsanto, Nestle, and Microsoft (Bill Gates is a big investor in GMOs and messing around with third world countries). We are very powerful because we are the people with the money. Yes, we have more money than Bill Gates. If we all decided not to buy Coca Cola products for one year we could force that company to make their products from natural ingredients without GMOs. Yes, we could. Read labels and don’t buy something made in China (by following this directive I just don’t buy much stuff anymore). Buy only organic produce (if available). Do not buy anything containing GMOs. Do not buy RoundUp. We are required to pay taxes. We must pay our mortgages, car insurance, and cell phone bills. Internet is not free (for most people). Beyond these basics we choose what to do with our money. We are very powerful. We just need to realize it. We need to wrap our heads around the idea that we, as individuals, who make choices daily have great power. Why do we allow politicians and corporations to cheat us of our power? Why do we allow men and women with ideological mindsets that benefit politicians and corporations to cheat us of our power?
Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility.
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
We don’t need to storm the Bastille to make a point. We need to think for ourselves. We need to step outside of our political party’s platform and think. We need to encourage our neighbors to think for themselves even if they are not just like us. We need to stop looking for a savior. We need to think for ourselves.
What do I want my home to be like?
What do I want my life to be like?
What do I want my neighborhood to be like?
What do I want my town or city to be like?
What do my neighbors want and how can I respect that?
How can we work together?
We need to start fixing things ourselves. We need to take back our power. We need to take responsibility. We need to begin in our own lives with responsibility for our own choices.
Think. Act. Be powerful.