Wednesday night, there was a protest at the Washington State Capitol Building. Thousands of protesters peacefully occupied the rotunda, demanding that we no longer kow-tow to corporate interests, and that corporations be taxed according to their income, just as we regular citizens are.
In Wisconsin, thousands protested when unionized teachers' ability to negotiate with the state was threatened. And finally, one brave judge signed an order for the legislation, which was passed without the state's Democrats present, to be stopped because it was unconstitutional. Unthinkably, the governor of that state went ahead anyway, until the judge finally had to say, "No means NO!"
After decades of passive complacency and blind trust in our government, the people are standing up once again to tell the government - this time their own and not one located across the ocean - that we are not going to have corporate interests usurp our own rights.
The actions of multinational corporations have ticked us off since before we were even a country! The original Boston Tea Party was about the colonists protesting the British government's tax subsidies to the British East India Company, while regular citizens were taxed mercilessly. (Thank you to Thom Hartmann's show for a beautiful explanation of this.) And here we are again, with a government (this time our own) bowing down to the whims of multinational corps while we lose public services like Medicare and veteran's assistance. I mean, is it not enough that some people dedicate their entire lives to our economy (our elders) and that some even put themselves in harm's way for our nation's security agenda (our veterans)? Now they're going to get screwed as well?
This particular budget crisis has been brought to you by the Republican Party (the politicians my parents vote for - I hope my folks are re-thinking THAT decision). But really, this isn't about one party being better then the other. This is about both parties being really corrupt, and the corruption of one being highlighted on this occasion. I don't think for a moment that Democratic Party politicians don't take bribes or turn their noses up at corporate lobbyists. The reality of the situation is that the system itself is rotten.
This political process, this entire system, is a meat grinder. People love to tell us how Obama has failed this and failed that. My Republican friends (and family) like to tell me that he was a bad egg from the beginning, and my Democratic friends wring their hands in disappointment and despair at this man. For what it's worth, here's what I think:
I think Barack Obama had big dreams for reforming this nation. The Bush administration did their level best to end any goodwill Americans might experience elsewhere in the world by behaving like an overgrown teenaged bully on the global playground. Bush wrote NO legislation while in office, and sat back while corporate interests had a field day getting tax cuts and subsidies, while our economy plummeted. A budget surplus left by Bill Clinton was immediately obliterated by Bush and his cronies. And this brave man, Barack Obama, thought he might be able to bring some hope.
On the promise of that hope, he was elected into office. And as if the meat grinder of a corrupt election process wasn't enough, Obama then entered office and discovered the miasma of degeneration, corruption, and greed that currently masquerades as our government. I think that anyone that hopeful, and that able to inspire others, will be met with the vilest of attacks on his character because that's all the opposition (the system) really has as a weapon. And boy did they attack.
Some are saying that he's a foreign national, others that he's not a Christian (what First Amendment?), and others even go so far as to say he's the Antichrist. I have heard this from the mouths of people I love dearly and it only proves to me the corruption of the beast that is our political system. Barack Obama is the Antichrist ONLY if Jesus is a rich, white CEO filthying up our oceans, air and land, robbing the poorest and bravest of us, poisoning our food, and tossing the elderly overboard. I'm sorry, but that's not the Jesus I worship.
Bottom line: I think poor Barack got into the Oval Office and saw that it was a rabbit hole that went way deeper than anyone realized.
But now, things are turning. We the People have not forgotten about Obama's promise of hope and change. And now, after a budget proposal that pretty much craps on regular citizens and coddles the very wealthy, people are beginning to remember that promise. They are taking it to state capitols right now, this very minute, and they are demanding change. I am so proud of my nation right now. I am so proud of the people of this nation, who are writing letters to their congresspeople, praying to whomever they pray that this will actually do some good. They are forming communities and gathering to find out how they can change the very system that threatens their well-being. One group tried this and ended up being co-opted into the very system they said they wanted to fight. Now another is trying. Let's get this one right. But even if we don't, we'll keep trying.
I have to remember, however, that revolution must happen inside each of us before it can happen outside of us. Robert Ohotto, a brilliant intuitive life strategist and excellent public speaker, recently did a radio show in which he outlined the difference between rebellion and revolution. As Ohotto explains, rebellion always exists in opposition to an adversary, but revolution takes us out of the equation of that polar opposition and forms a new system altogether. Revolutionaries are able to say, "This isn't working. Let's try something else." (Thank you, Robert. I just listened to that download TODAY and it was perfect for this post.)
That revolutionary change begins within us, as soon as we are able to imagine, as individuals and as a culture, that we can have leadership that is honest, strong, wise, and full of integrity. And we have done this. There have been movies and television shows for decades now, that have described this revolution (they're tough to find amongst some of the mind-numbing garbage we usually see). As we watch these imaginal heroes create a better world, we take some of that in, and make it a part of ourselves.
One such television series was a science fiction show called Babylon 5. Written by J. Michael Straczynski, it is almost prophetic with its story arc of movement from rebellion to revolution. I will end with a quote that Straczynski used in a Season One episode ("Mind War") about a revolutionary named Jason Ironheart. Ironheart quotes a Sioux poem as he faces the old regime:
"You cannot harm me.
You cannot harm one who has dreamed a dream like mine."
~Sioux Shaman song
Let us dream dreams of freedom, integrity, and a life lived in compassion and wisdom. Let us dream dreams of hope and unity, and a future that is bright and healthy.
Viva la Revolution!!