This is a revision to the previous blog post, "It Depends on Us." As I thought about what I had written, I realized that some of my perceptual filters had been in place, and that the piece reflected that. I've tried to remove them a bit more for this revision.~
There is a lot of turmoil since the Wisconsin anti-labor bill was passed. The Republicans were able to vote on it, even without the absent Democrats, because they stripped the bill of financial provisions – thus allowing them to vote without a quorum. There is a lot of grief, anger, and anguish among the people I know. Some are calling it a class war, with the Republicans on one side and the Democrats on the other.
Instead, I am focusing on what I believe to be true:
- That nearly everyone – including Republican and Democrat legislators and governors – want Americans to live full and healthy lives, with happy children, access to healthful nutrition and good education, and adequate medical care. We just differ on how to make that happen.
- That we are polarizing our discussion about the ways we are different. I'm sorry to say that some of those who are feeding that division are people I have personally admired.
- That it is possible to speak clearly, and strongly, without blaming or attacking others, and without backing down.
- That all of us regular working folks, regardless of our political affiliations, have more in common than not. And that we have more power together than we have apart.
- That there really are some who are greedy and manipulative. They tend to have a lot of power, so it will take all of us working together – and it will cost us something – to oppose them.
- That every human being, including those who are greedy and manipulative, have a spark of the Divine in them, and that this spark has the potential to transform greed.
- That speaking to that spark, without anger or violence, in the way that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did, will do more to transform our economy and our country than any amount of political discourse, angry discourse, or name calling.
- That the oppression and greed of a few simply cannot stand up against the power of millions.
- That we will receive what we envision. If we envision battle and fighting and anger and fear, that is what we will get. If we envision strength, courage, and victory, that is what we will get.
- That it is up to us and no one else to transform the economy so that the children are cared for. So the old people are cared for. So we are all making a living wage. So we know our pensions and our savings accounts are safe. So we are able to buy and keep our homes, and live in them. So we have the means to grow or purchase healthy food to eat, to see health practitioners if we are sick. And so we know that our freedom to get these things is protected, so we don't have to live in fear, without choices, like indentured servants.
I believe these things because I have experienced them. I know the power of the spark within that can lead my tongue in ways that help, and don't harm. That can turn the darkness in my soul toward the Light. That can open my heart to compassion when I am only feeling judgment and hatred.
If that can happen within me, it can happen within the hearts of those who are getting richer, while the majority of workers are getting poorer. And if it doesn't, then they will have to face millions of nonviolent, determined voters who will not allow themselves to become their poorly paid servants.
So – any who know the tools of nonviolent campaign, we need you now. Any who know how to listen deeply to your neighbors and coworkers, even when they disagree with you, we need you now. Let us not comfort ourselves by numbing with our televisions and newspapers. Nor let us feed the seeds of anger and hatred that are so ready to sprout among us. Let us pray, sing, gather, and be confident in our power to effect change on behalf of the future generations. It really does depend on all of us -- and no one else.