Sunday, October 9, 2011

Protests and it Fashionable?

Hello Readers, Friends, and life voyeurs,

I came to peek in on my blog, thinking that if I let it be idle, no one would be reading.  After all, I touched a subject that rips at many of us.  Then again, there are so many people who are totally desensitized, possibly because they don't care about anyone, including themselves.  It's amazing what people have sacrificed for material things, careers, and approval.  To some degree, we are all guilty of killing what we love most to have success.  I have still felt lost at moments, almost impatient for a sense of being something to someone, forgetting everything I learnt abroad, almost being pulled under.  It's a sense of seasickness or self sickness, perhaps.  That is the one vacation you can never take, one from your own company.  Where can you go from yourself?   Well, that is when you focus on the world and others, and that is precisely what I did for the past few years to feel a sense of 'cleanliness'.  Perhaps I wanted to rid myself from everything I suspected but didn't want to prove.

I found there are two types of blindness, intentional and unintentional.  The intentional type comes from desiring to trust blindly.  Those are people who are incredibly close to that fall in this category.  The reality is we don't want to find anything wrong with them, after all we have enough flaws within ourselves that competing in this area is often not wise.  Institutions fall into this category as well.  Blind loyalty, to a cause, to a belief, to a mass emotion.  The list of forbidden things to speak of was always religion and politics.  Beliefs are what people die for.  Interesting that our loves are used against us to such a point that it ignites hates and passions that 'make us feel alive'.

Recently, the Occupy movements are starting to sweep across America and to be honest, I haven't watched any of the televised reports or read most of the mainstream press because of how few of the major papers know anything about investigative journalism anymore.  6 major corporations have consolidated all media.  That is very worrisome because corporations are concerned with profit and can and do control the messengers.  

Earlier this year, I decided to return to America, rather than to stay in China and teach another year.  I felt within me that this year, was a pivotal year for us, as a people, as a nation, because we are actually learning more about the world and we have been learning more about how our government has been controlled by outside sources.  We have learned how it has been by the contents of a wallet and not character that people are placed into office by those who have deep enough pockets.  Our politicians have been purchased all around the world to exercise the will of others.  We know it, and have wondered if there is really anything we can do about it.

Personally, I have been wondering if we are serious about changing our ways.  I have read many of the signs the protesters carry.  They are life stories on cardboard.  They are the rule players who are pissed off that the game was rigged against them.  In short, it's not really about anything important, not really.  

The complaint can be summed up in a word.  Money.  

The typical American is upset that all of the material is gone, they are in debt, lost their homes, pensions, government assistance, and Occupy Wall Street is our venue, for now.  We are going to quickly learn that we do have to change this whole game that no one is supposed to discuss.  This game that has only a few winners and far more losers.  

We haven't cried out for peace.  We haven't cared that we go into other nations and strip their resources.  We are mad because we paid for Wall Street bonuses.  We are mad that we paid for the bail-outs of AIG, big banks, and continue to fund the Military Industrial Complex, The nation of Israel, and all of those chemicals that are dumped on us (which was authorized in public law, hidden in a National Defense Authorization Act).  We want to know why.  We really want to know the truth, even if it hurts to know the truth.  I never liked doctors that withheld information from me.  It would make me distrust them even more.  Truth, in its complete ugliness, can be a tool or a medicine that begins its work to either cure or kill you, but you must deal with it and not run from the pain it may cause.

So, I am asking a hard question.  Are we just complaining instead of doing something about it?  Let me flash back to earlier this year.  There was a protest in March 2011 in front of the White House.  I was there as an observer.  I was there to speak with the protesters.  I wanted to record the events of Veterans for Peace, and looked at how the public viewed these protesters.  It was kind of astonishing that people seemed to not care about our presence in the middle east.  The Washington Post wrote a one paragraph blurb in the back pages. Total media silence usually sends a message about it not happening in America.  I also witnessed 105 people get arrested and one of the people caught my eye.  Colonel Ann Wright, US Army and former State Department Officer (back when Colin Powell was running the State Department).

Here is Colonel Wright getting arrested.  I didn't get a chance to talk to her before they put the zip strip on her  wrists, but she gave me a smile.  
Mary Ann Wright (born 1947) is a former United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand people during the civil war in Sierra Leone.[1] She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

She was a passenger on the Challenger 1, which along with the Mavi Marmara, was part of the Gaza flotilla.
Source: Wikipedia

Here, without fans or much fanfare was a person who reminded me of the Buddhist monk I had met in South Korea that looked at his life and realized he had spent 20 years on the mountaintop.  This peace protester had made a career based on the passionate need to tell others to say no to anything nuclear, a total of 30 years holding a vigil that was actually more tied to a partner than nuclear weapons.  In a strange way, I had found a love story and a public display of passion to change the world.  30 years passed and the world had not changed despite the images and signs.  We do things that are dangerous in this world.  They disfigure people and we do know radiation kills.  We have yet to see the full horrors of Fukushima.  Chernobyl wasn't pretty either.
 Is it that some people feel things more intensely than others?  Is it based on a measure of personal pain that one endures until they have to scream?  Why aren't we horrified enough to stop harming the world?  Is it that we just can't do without all of those shiny things?
 I stopped by the nuclear protester's tent with a new friend I had made on this journey.  Sometimes we can't see what the impact will be, who will be touched by the life sacrifice she made.  However, something to really think about, if the world suddenly stopped using nuclear weapons and energy, this woman suddenly loses her purpose.  Think about it.  What would she do next?
 If we ended poverty in the world, just think about it, we wouldn't have to worry about having nuns in Calcutta caring for the sick and needy.  One of the nuns smiled at me and thrust emblems of Mary in my hand.   I guess vows are vows.
 I haven't stopped caring about people.  Humanity is still achingly beautiful and horrific.  To see this man in a drained fountain within a mile from Capital Hill illustrates perfectly how we all are in trouble.  I went there when it wasn't fashionable, but out of a pure need to ask myself who we are.  It was a choice that wasn't safe or secure.  

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