I wrote a Facebook status and Tweet last week that were meant to be a joke. A sarcastic, I want more out of the world, parody-type joke. But nobody laughed.
I’m not mad. It was a bit too subtle for me to expect folks to catch the jokiness, and it’s cool that people echoed the top-level sentiment. We’re exposed to a lot of things these days (thanks, Internet) that are making us aware of how badly we need change.
Matt Damon “blew our minds” when he talked about how the reason the world is broken is civil obedience, and we need more disobedience. We saw when Russell Brand started a revolution on Gawker, focusing on the corruption and ineptitude of politicians and our political system. We know how only a few conglomerates own just about everything we consume, thanks to our minds being blown by Buzzfeed. Before that, we were made aware of the devastatingly slanted distribution of wealth in the US by Upworthy, and before that the same thing was brought to our attention by the Occupy Wall Street “Movement.” And way before any of this our minds were blown in 1970 by Howard Zinn’s “The Problem is Civil Obedience” Speech, which is the speech Matt Damon read and blew our minds with in that first video. Full circle, y’all. So. Many. Blown. Minds.
We know all that stuff and more. We know that Monsanto is destroying farming and agriculture, and Walmart is destroying the lives of employees, and Kony is destroying the lives of children. We know that roughly 780 million people lack access to safe, clean, drinkable water (1 in 9 people). We know that there are roughly 630,000 homeless people in the US (1 in 5 people). We know that [BLANK] is destroying [BLANK], or that [BLANK] lacks [BLANK] (and so on, times infinity — we’re well aware of what’s wrong).
We’d be okay with a revolution. We all want to see the world change. But we’re waiting for someone else to do something about it all.
“You say you got a real solution
Well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan, oh yeah
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know we’re all doing what we can.”
And that’s where my anti-joke came from. The frustration I am experiencing with a global consciousness and a lack of global action. We’re hyperaware of all the struggles the world (or at least our respective countries) is facing, yet we’re too weighed down by the fabricated problems in our immediate personal lives to do anything. I talked about how we view activism and this frustration in my latest podcast. We talk about how much we want to change things, but we don’t. But we want to! We really do! I know we do. And that creates a sense of dissonance and shame, or at least guilt. And guilt is paralyzing. And leads to us saying things that prevent anything from happening:
- There are bigger problems in the world than [BLANK].
- [Person Who is Calling for Change] isn’t perfect, let’s attack them instead of the system they’re part of (and advocating against).
- I don’t have the [time, money, energy] for those people — I barely have enough to get by myself.
- I’m just one person, what can I possibly do?
Do you know how many people we can confirm took part in the Boston Tea Party? 116 (~%0.00005 of the population). That’s zero-point-zero-zero-zero-zero-five people. FOUR ZEROs. I’m not even sure how to express that as a fraction (about 1/20,000th?). That’s way less than the 99% of people who participated in the Occupy Movement (ha! a jest!). But let’s be serious for a moment, can we? Please.
Don’t let all this “blow your mind.” Let this help you be more aware of your mind. Let this push you to mind.
We need to stop being okay with the overwhelming amount of injustice happening in the world, our country, our state, our city. We need to stop being okay with greed that leads to death, corruption that leads to exclusion, and marginalization that leads to a lack of basic human needs being met. We need to stop being okay with a revolution and we need to start demanding one.
While digging through my archives to find today’s cover photo, I found this photo below, which seems all too apt a way to end this thought.