In the past several months, I've been noticing an intensification of things. Emotion. Conflict. Understanding.
People have told us the world is ending--by comet, death-star, renegade planet, natural disasters, financial collapse, Biblical Apocalypse. And yet here we are. Against all odds, we're still standing. And for the first time in a long time, it seems that the log-jam of apathy and denial that engulfs and paralyzes us is beginning to move. For years we talked about the same things, over and over, as if talking about them and blaming people for them would somehow fix them. Deficits, Terrorism, Spending, Evil Republicans, Evil Democrats, Facists, Socialists, and on and on. This led many people to get sucked into the swirling vortex of unending and unproductive drama. It's 'their' fault--they started it--they're the evil ones--they're the threat. If only everyone saw things like I do, the world would be so much better. For those of you who have spent the last year or so expecting the worst, look around--we're getting better.
Maybe it's hard to believe that the place we find ourselves today is an improvement, but think about it. A whole lot of people have come out of their electronically induced coma to protest in the streets, to criticize people for protesting in the streets, to begin losing interest in a political system of two parties who tell us to hate the other side to fix the world. We're talking. We're demanding that something finally give. And it is. Here's an example.
Yesterday, I tried to get on the Oakland City Government website to give Oakland Mayor Jean Chan a piece of my mind about the stormtroopers who shot Marine Veteran Scott Olsen in the face as he stood in front of a police barricade at Occupy Oakland. The website was down--crashed by activity. I tried to call. Busy on numerous occasions. I managed to get an email in this morning, as I would guess thousands of other people have. In 24 hours, Oakland authorities went from 'everything is as it should be' to 'we're awfully sorry about this.' Things they are a changin'.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think that we're anywhere near "there," wherever that is. But a month ago, Occupy Wall Street wasn't even reported in the mainstream, the Iraq troops weren't leaving Iraq, Mitt Romney had the Republican nomination sewn up, the "news" consisted largely of excited chatter about Chaz Bono being on Dancing with the Stars, and all was spinning the greased grooves, as Steinbeck said. But I predicted several weeks ago that the wheels were coming off the bus--and they are. There's going to be a lot more upheaval and chaos, a lot more inconvenient change, a lot less certainty that we actually know what we've been told we know. We are seeing the result of regular people envisioning a world that's different in fundamental ways--more peaceful, less corrupt, less opaque and secretive, and less stacked against the regular folks.
So don't give up. Maintain the daringly insane thought that maybe, just maybe, a world could exist where trillions in war spending gets cut and instead spent on education or Social Security or healthcare. Where, when trillions of dollars "go missing" from Federal budgets, someone bothers to look for it and maybe even prosecute the people who took it. Where our government captures, tries and convicts people who do bad stuff, not murder them by fiat. Where currency means value and rich bankers don't just get to make up electronic monopoly money and give it away to themselves and their buddies for the rest of us to pay back later, with interest. Where public officials meet with regular constituents instead of lobbyists and drug cartels and warlords and tyrants. Where we don't have to be constantly asking 'where are we going and what are we doing in this handbasket?' Picture that world; think about it every day. Occasionally do something that would lead in that direction. The cumulative effect of several billion people making tiny changes amounts to a huge revolution.
If we're crazy enough to believe it, we can conceive it. We can give birth to a brand new bouncing baby world.