Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking Back Our Democracy

I had originally intended for this blog to reflect on the human-nature relationship. My unexpected plunge into activism has led instead to exploring human's assault on nature and how we can slow it down. It would seem common sense to understand that we live on a finite planet and that an economy based on ever increasing profits is impossible to sustain.  With 7 billion of us now, we are doing irreparable harm to the planet's biosphere whose primary purpose is to sustain life. Yet, there seems no immediacy by our modern culture to address this crisis.  I believe most of us would agree that the planet is sad shape. Yet, scientists are stifled in their ability to educate the public about how bad it really is right now. Corporate media must take some of the blame as they repeatedly downplay and ignore real environmental concerns.  Environmentalists are often marginalized as treehuggers, hippies, or worse yet, liberal. Ultimately, we, the people, have become a pretty apathetic bunch when it comes to politics.  Perhaps, we are too overwhelmed, too entertained, or feel too powerlessness to do anything about it.  I imagine many have tuned out because of the corrupt nature of our political system. Sadly, our politician are incapable of having honest, thoughtful dialogue about the complex and challenging issues we face today.

I am elated at the arrival of the Occupy movement,  My hope for real change was quickly waning as things seemed to only get worse and worse.  Not surprisingly, the youth are leading the way and taking a stand against something most of us have known for a long time.  Our political system is broken and overrun with corporate and financial interests. Greed, one of the seven deadly sins, remains true to its nature. The idea of an ever expanding economy may have worked well to spur the great industrial revolution but modern times require a sustainable, earth-friendly economy if our nation hopes to persist well into the future.  The Occupy movement, regardless of what you're told by Big Media, has created a space for intelligent dialogue based on a consensus approach where all voices can be heard.  They are trusting that this process will bring real change and initial results bring great hope.

Mahatma Gandhi poignantly said, "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.”  The Corporate elites, who have profited well from the system they built, will do everything in their power to keep the cash rolling in. Big Oil is now fighting the people's movement to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, an environmental nightmare already under way.  Despite over 1252 arrests over two weeks, corporate media virtually ignored it with the exception of more progressive and grassroots media.  Then there was Fox News, among many, who echoed Big Oil's talking points of more jobs and greater security which is easily discredited upon closer scrutiny.  The corporate media has yet to give serious attention and dialogue about whether this proposed pipeline is in our nation and planet's best interest. I'm hard on the media because some networks purposely censor and spread misinformation to further the agenda of corporate interests.  A healthy democracy depends upon an impartial press that keeps politics and business honest. The truth is that corporations are deeply embedded in our lives and have the power to shape our culture.

Thankfully, we live in a democracy where the People are always given greater power than Corporations. We have given much of this power way and we are only strong when standing united in mass.  The great cultural transformations of freeing slaves, women's right, and civil rights were born because the people rose up and demanded it.  We live in a time of dysfunctional politics, two ill-advised and deadly wars, a stagnant economy, and the looming climate crisis. We have equated corporations as people and money as free speech; this should be proof enough that the corporate elites have hijacked our democracy,  The Occupy movement's auspicious arrival is not a minute too soon as we desperately need to begin the hard work of creating a sustainable future. Our nation is a mighty big ship and will require great effort and sacrifice by the people to steer in a new direction,. We were born into these times and it is our collective responsibility to leave our nation and planet in a better shape for future generations. The Occupy movement may be our best chance in a long time to make real changes and will happen when enough of us show up.