People love slogans.
Some are clever, some disingenuous. The disingenuous slogans are given plenty of “air time” by corporate media. They are usually manufactured (as opposed to “created”) by parasitic people to help push an agenda which opposes cooperation and enhances subtle (and not-so-subtle) forms of violence.
However, this essay is about the slogans that have merit. Actually, it isn’t about the slogans themselves, but about the fact that we don’t do what we say. We love to parrot Mohandes K. Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or, maybe, the Dalai Lama. It makes us feel good. For a little while, anyway. We can pretend that we care about others and go about our short-sighted, apathetic lives as if everything is OK. But, this disconnect between what we do and what we say is one of the reasons the human race is on a murderous and suicidal path.
Now, individually, we can shake off some of the blame by saying that the social engineers have designed society to plant obstacles in the way of progress by rewarding ignorance and greed while punishing dissident opinion based on fact. True.
We can say that it’s difficult to stand up for what we believe in when we feel like we’re alone in doing it. True.
We can say that we aren’t heroes, other people are. Great people. Well, it’s being inspired and taking fearless, spirited action that makes people “great.”
We’re all born great.
While one person can make an incredible difference in the world by inspiring millions, it’s often a seemingly “unimportant” person that sparks that change, not necessarily a recognized world leader.
In 1955, a seamstress decided that an Alabama law prohibiting black people from riding in the front of public buses was unacceptable. She went to jail for that idea. And, a civil rights movement blossomed.
In 1906, an unsuccessful writer had a book published exposing the horrid, unsanitary working conditions of the Chicago meatpacking industry. The book sparked a debate around the U.S. which led directly, a few months later, to Congress passing the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act. This historic piece of legislation banned the sale of adulterated foods and required drug manufacturers to label all active ingredients in their products. (Maybe, there’s an idea there to help pass GMO labeling laws).
In the 1880s, an immigrant from Croatia went to work for the notoriously ambitious inventor Thomas Edison and made ingenious innovations that transformed the overrated businessman’s most important work into something none of us could even imagine doing without today. This compassionate man electrified the world – literally – and did it to better humankind, not to become wealthy.
There are other examples of people no one ever heard of (at the time) doing extraordinary things that have changed the world as we know it. They didn’t know their names would be written in books. They took action and made something happen. And YOU can, too. We all can.
We can’t afford to wait around for someone else to risk comfort and make necessary changes. And, conditions won’t change on their own.
We have to decide not to accept unnatural, immoral rules imposed on us by sociopaths bent on collecting as much wealth as inhumanly possible.
We have to look around and tell our friends and neighbors that we will not continue on a psychotic path of self-destruction. Sometimes, it takes one ordinary person to do something that ignites millions to change the status quo. All of us together are much more powerful than the small amount of manipulators with obscene wealth who get away with murder and mayhem every day.
IF we work together.
They get away with their heartless manipulations because most of us bow down in complacency and allow them to step on our dreams.
We need to take action according to those slogans we love to talk about in private. We need to make them more public. We need to make them real. We need to be moral and compassionate instead of talking about morality and compassion.
Mohandes Gandhi gave us an invaluable lesson when he said:
“They will follow me in life, worship me in death, but they will not make my cause their cause.”
Many people quote this great man, but this may be his most important lesson for us. All of the wisdom in the world means very little unless it leads to inspired action.
What can you do? Plenty.
You can be more like the people you admire. You can think of something other than your wallet when it comes to assessing your priorities. For example, you can refuse to put money into the hands of predators who care about no one but themselves.
Do you need to put your money in too-big-to-exist banks that charge you for using your own money? No, you can use a credit union and show support in getting a public bank to open in your community.
Do you need to buy toxic food manufactured in factories that partake in animal abuse, bypassing of environmental regulations and election fraud? No, you can buy organic food.
Does someone come into your house, turn the TV on and force you to watch pathetic shows about dysfunctional people or corporate behavior modification every night? No, you can read a book. And, you can pay attention to important issues that affect our lives instead of becoming morbidly fascinated by disingenuous infotainment.
You can question the motives of the manipulative rulers who finance the floating heads on TV.
You can hit the streets and demand action by corporate puppets in Congress who do nothing but help spread fear and hatred (at least until we get them all out of office).
And, voting for people who actually care about humanity wouldn’t hurt.
I could go on, but I think people get the idea.
Basically, words without action are empty. It’s like trying to be neutral on a moving train (thanks, Howard Zinn) – it’s self-limiting and a poorly disguised stance of acquiesence. And, the powers that be love neutrality, they eat it with breakfast every day. By not committing to a definite course of inspired action, a neutral position is a way of behaving “properly” by not crossing the lines set by these clever social designers who shape opinion to fit us neatly into their molds. Actually, obeying the corporate masters could be considered a form of voluntary slavery.
I’ve decided to end this with a quote by a brilliant 19th century writer, Henry David Thoreau, a staunch Abolitionist who passed away during the U.S. Civil War:
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Peace and Inspiration.