Share |

A time To Act

The Road to Resilience

Throughout the time I’ve been writing this column, I’ve tried to point out ways in which we as individuals and as a community could become more resilient to changes that are and will be occurring in our world.  I’ve also attempted to convince you that unprecedented change is, in fact, occurring.  This year, I’m going to be talking a lot about the November election at the national level because we may be presented with starkly divergent choices of direction that our country could take.  One direction could take us to a positive, cooperative future in which power and resources are shared by all.  The other could take us to a future in which we further give up power and freedom for security and survival.  This latter direction represents a surrender to our fears, real and manufactured, and we must not allow these fears to dictate our future.

We have to understand that fear-mongering is a powerful tool in the arsenal of the corporate interests.  Whether it is fear of bodily harm, loss of your job, lack of access to food or medical care, or loss of your home, security is a drug they can dispense at will and know that we will pay whatever it takes to get it.  For instance, consider the life saving drugs for which the prices have been raised from say $5 per dose to $5000 per dose.  Consider the TTP and the TTIP free trade agreements with Asia and Europe.  We are being asked to forfeit our national sovereignties to a private trade commission that will overturn our laws if they happen to impede private access to resources and profit.  We are asked to do this in exchange for a vague assurance that this is the only way our future can be secure.  We are being convinced that terrorist groups, characterized by different ethnic, racial, or religious affiliations, are trying to kill us and bring down our civilization.  It is not that some such groups don’t exist, but our decision to respond in kind will perpetuate this crisis.  It will also perpetuate our surrender of freedom for security.  

Ben Franklin said, “Those that give up liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”   The original context of this quote was a commentary on a pending decision by the colonial government of Pennsylvania to tax the extensive land holdings of the Penn family in England to help pay expenses for the French and Indian War.  The Penn family offered the colony a one-time lump sum in exchange for their agreement to give up any right in the future to tax Penn property.  I believe that today Franklin would tell us that nothing is so threatening that we should give up our freedoms for a vague promise of safety.

On the other hand, we have a movement around the world that espouses peace, justice, cooperation, and equality for all the Earth and the beings that inhabit it.  We see it asserting itself throughout much of South America, in many countries in Europe, and in groups in virtually every corner of the planet.  It is an appeal to our higher nature:  to deny it for fear would be a horrendous mistake.

I’m not trying to say that the future will be trouble-free if we just follow our better nature.  We have done bad things to the planet and to each other, and I can’t deny the likelihood that there will be a reckoning.  We will all have to do our upmost to be brave, imaginative, resourceful, and hopeful.  We will need to be steadfast in our knowledge that Love conquers Fear.  There really isn’t any acceptable alternative.

Now, as pertains to the coming presidential election, in my humble opinion, there is only one candidate that recognizes that the accumulation of power by the wealthy few is standing in the way of equality, social justice, and the welfare of all.  Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that will state flat out that he intends to lead the battle to take our power and wealth back from the few.  Let’s make one thing clear.  Bernie is not a silver bullet who will make everything right.  We are at war.  Those that have the power and wealth will not give in easily.  The President is powerful but is only one man.  Our government is filled with elected and unelected servants of the wealthy few.   Changing a paradigm is a monumental task that will take much time and effort by all of us.  But, it is vitally important that we take this first step and get Bernie elected.  There is no telling when the opportunity will come again.

Getting Bernie Sanders elected president may not be easy.  For now, it is encouraging to see how well Bernie’s message resonates with, not only active progressives, but also cynical citizens that have long ago given up hope and conservatives that understand that we must unite in the battle with the wealthy few.  Getting Bernie elected is just a first big step and a chance for us to physically manifest the strength of our numbers.  We must not give in to the counsel of the status quo that he can’t win.  We have to maintain the courage and imagination to see that we are in fact in sync with where humanity wants and needs to go.