Post on Occupy Seattle’s twitter feed today, as protesters were being arrested (peacefully):
“OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD we WANT our DEMOCRACY BACK!”
Back? Do you think we had successful democracy in the States? When was that? Do you want to return to it? You think we can return to it? There is no other governance structure you would like to develop or serious reforms you would like to see happen?
One of the best things you can do is protest peacefully. Good work to those standing in Westlake today for Occupy Seattle.
I am sorting out what I think ideal government (oxymoron?) would look like and have a few ideas about how I would like American federal gov’t to be changed. In the meantime, while I am upset about the society I live in, I think about how I can change myself. (I read in the Kite Runner, an Afghan proverb says, “If you do not like the image in the mirror do not break the mirror but break your face.”)
Thing #2 is to change your lifestyle. Trying living 100% debt free to start. That will change what you buy and do- maybe you wouldn’t buy a new car or a large conventional house. These are two huge ticket items in American lives that people think they have rights to, which are built and created mostly out of our country and shipped in. If you are upset about our economy, back out of it for a second. Have a local seamstress repair your clothes, shop at Goodwill, look into earthen building, think about growing and preserving your own food, look into commuting to work, look into working less than 40 hours a week so you can practice self-sufficiency skills and spend more time with your family.
Also- think about NOT going ‘back to school’. Think about the price of a large university education. Think about taking out a small loan from a credit union or family member to pay your living expenses while you intern, volunteer, or apprentice with someone who knows how to do what you want to do.
Everyone wants to take off and travel- why? where? We are all supposed to be following our personal legend, following our bliss, and on the path of the hero and the warrior, but does that really mean you should leave for x number of months and hope life in the States will be better when you return? I think it might. I think you will be better. Better at looking with a more worldly view, possibly more patient, maybe more compassionate. Will you be able to transmit that understanding to your friends, family, and neighbors? I hope so.
I think it might also be good to move around within your city, within your region, or within your country. I think regions are unbelievably undervalued. I have lived in Seattle for 4 years and have received unbelievable kindness from other Midwesterners who also live here. We underestimate the power of shared cultural values and overestimate the power of political regulations. Are some aspects of life better governed on State, County, or City level better than federal?
A friend of mine read some portions of Thoreau’s Walden and also Civil Disobedience to me a while ago. I was amazed to hear Thoreau’s sense of wonderment for his own back acres sound similar to my experience visiting India. If your eyes and heart are open, you are bound to notice a few things. How can we open up in our own community? What sacrifices would need to be made? If you weren’t afraid of your debt, would you have a different job? Hang out with different people? Pursue your passions? If our country wasn’t crumbling under its debt, what could it do?