Is it time for the pendulum to start swinging in the other direction?
So far the 21st century, which promised so much, has fallen far short of the promises. We've had precious few days of peace since the turn of this century. Wars and promise of decades of wars to come continue. Whole segments of American society are out of work – or inappropriately employed far below their capabilities because "there are no skilled people to fill the jobs that are advertised, while highly skilled workers can't find a way to support their families. We now exist for the benefit of Corporations – to fill their greed and ensure that their coffers are filled with profit while our children suffer from neglect. We've had more political scandals in the past 7 years than in the last 50 years. Some of us have no idea what it's like to live in a supportive community working for the common good. We, as a people, are afraid of terrorists "out there" who are going to destroy our great nation while the terrorists in our own backyards continue to haunt us. Meanwhile, we're creating a whole generation of children who have suffered at the hands of American imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America and Africa… children who have lost mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters… children who hunger and thirst and have nothing left short of deep-seated, gut-wrenching anger and hostility toward the Americans who took away everything… children who will be justified when they do grow up and find a way to retaliate.
All is not lost. We, ordinary middle-class American people, DO see the story that our media and our leaders try to cover up. We're living proof that all is not right in Camelot. We do know the truth – we see it in our everyday lives, and in the blank stares of our neighbors. We see it in the beggars and homeless. And when we choose not to look directly at the ugly truth, we feel it in our guts. We hurt deep down where the truth cannot hide and the frustration and anger is eating us alive.
We do have champions.
Some continue to make their tiny corners of this world just a little bit better doing the small tasks that eventually can grow into a groundswell of change – if not quiet revolution. They bike to work rather than drive hummers and SUVs. They plant gardens and pick up litter in their neighborhoods. They lend a smile and a good word to passing strangers and a helping hand to those in need.
Some, like Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan and others, have spoken out and risked ridicule to say, "The emperor has no clothes". They dared to contradict the status quo and remind us that we are, indeed, good people called to make this world better – not to suck it dry of all life. These were few and far between at first. They were the radicals who just wouldn't be quiet.
It is taking much too long, but finally, there's hope that all these efforts are being recognized. As more join these efforts, there's promise that, just maybe, Americans will wake up in time to revitalize the country that was once known as the land of opportunity and home of the free.
But they can't do it alone. Each one of us is called to do our part. It might be small…parking our cars and walking, lending a hand to a neighbor in need, planting a tree instead of a rock garden, recycling and being a bit more careful about what and who we discard as useless, It might be little more than repeating the lessons learned from such as Michael Moore, who reminds us that we can – no, must – change our way of life and return to lives that recognize the value of life and the dignity of all people at home and abroad.
We tried voting in new politicians last November… expecting them to do the right thing. We've been disappointed. Have we learned our lesson yet? We can't wait for someone else to do the work. It's up to each one of us. It's time to stop being busy about many things and feeding greed. It's time to speak up loud and clear – enough is enough. It's time to get down to the work of making a real difference for ourselves and for the generations of Americans who will follow.
Little by little, each of us doing our part will expose the truth…The emperor really does have no clothes… The first step is to recognize the problem…. and then we go on to make a difference.