Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Heart of Activism

Jesus was an activist.

Earlier this week, The Unapologetic Mexican posted "Politician, Represent Thyself," in which he captured the heart of what drives activism (in my opinion and experience) and challenges politicians on their racial bias on immigration issues. I was moved to share some of my favorite parts with you:
IN POLITICS, PHRASES ARE HURLED ABOUT with a repetition that becomes a song; a pattern of mouthsounds spelling out a sonic shape with a predictable, recurrent, and lulling rhythm. Mind, you, the message is a lie, but the beat is so on time, that we find our feet stepping along in a shuffling, delusional line.


I remember as a child being so amazed that so many (everyone, insisted my immature mind) took everything in stride. I mention this now and then: the sensation I had that the world was upside down and burning and everyone in the world (i.e., school, stores, etc) was happy go lucky and not talking about it. (I am sure this had something to do with the conversations and teachings in my early home and community.)

So, I grew to feel out of touch with society’s reactions and evaluations of life as presented in larger settings, TV, newspapers, general social dialogue. And I suppose that is part of the age. These are normal conflicts we have to evaluate at a certain age.

In too many cases we simply have to accept untruths or mechanisms that confuse the mind. We read the real thinkers in college, and then we pretend it was just for a course. We accept that when X is really going on, the TV will frame it as Y. We accept that advertisements, essentially, lie. We learn to restrain, perform, operate in society. We are taught not to be ourselves, as it does not pay. We are sent on job interviews to offer a well-groomed doppelganger which may have little basis on truth, but have more to do with how you can appear a valuable commodity to a corporate mechanism. The media helps sell wars that feed the fatally wealthy, and focuses on celebrity nose jobs while the public is robbed blind on the backside by the bankers.

You know how this goes, top to bottom. Same as it ever was.

But did it jam at you in your adolescence? Did the first sweeping vista of disappointment make you weep? Did that initial understanding of how little we expected of ourselves make you angry? Did it nearly topple your mind to gaze out at the wasteland of hypocrisy? Did the wrongness matter? Did it touch your inspired soul, your feeling soul, your uncallused soul and provoke a reaction?

There was too much pretend-truth and too much noise and too many lies in the world, and too much apathy. When I was young, it chewed at me. It would not let me be. I could not imagine why there were not armies of citizens banding together to fix every ailment facing the People. I was a little naive.

But to me, this is adolescence in US society as I’ve seen it, in more than a couple cities and states. Children, those vast stores of human possibility, reach the end of the playground grass. They must grapple with letting the reality of our sickened culture overwhelm the childheart with one, long, coal-tinged static-studded sigh.


And with this body and mind…with this amazing system meant to rebel against untruth and to wade toward joy, we must force non-sense and illogic and ignorance into our own tubes. You are required to Get Over It and Learn How to Manage. It makes us ill.

Get on a few stomach drugs, some head drugs, have the doc say its cool, grind out the salary. Protest virtually. Do what you can and have time for which is mostly go mad or be distracted.

The American Dream?

Too cynical?

As I grew up, those times when someone was inflamed about injustice and saying “HELL NO, THIS IS NOT RIGHT AND WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THIS!” I felt my spirit respond in kind. The scales, as they say, fall off of my eyes. I could feel that truth ringing sharply right behind my breastbone, a massive silver bullhorn calling to me. And I loved them for that. For taking that on. I thanked the universe for whatever it was that compelled that person to speak, at that very moment, from a place that was truthful and outraged at whatever entity or action was trying to establish itself in our world. That voice belongs to nobody, it belongs to all of us. We access it when it is time, when the moment calls for it. There will always be that moment in this very flawed world!

There is another voice, too. One that rises in the absence of reaction, maybe. One that needs a bit of stillness to emerge. One that listens, and hears those things being said, and lets them melt into the moment. And finds where they don’t quite nourish. Finds where they fail to adhere to a true shape. And seeks not to batter, deflect, crush, or challenge…but only to question. Only to probe and discover what may be overlooked.


Political gamers, humanity is in dire shape.

This challenge comes to us in many forms right now. Wars over petroleum. Poisoned oceans with petroleum. Police state pre-pubescent and gangly. Class divisions becoming untenable. Economy severely unstable. Political dialogue false. Media turning to sheer propaganda stations. Banks taken over our economy. Corporations taken over the courts and both wreaking massive havoc on our national security.

It is an age old reaction to blame the powerless when we panic. We are better than this. California already apologized in the 1930s for panicking and shipping Mexicans to Mexico—many who had never been there in their lives! The focus now on Mexicans does not feel so different to me.

Our society is, in the next few decades, going to undergo some drastic changes. We must secure our own hearts and minds and be ready to deal with these changes in a way that is reasoned, loving, progressive, broadminded, flexible, and kind. We must first secure our own consciousness in grounded, positive place before we can pretend to represent millions of human beings.
Read the complete post here.

(All emphasis was mine).

Related posts:
The Unapologetic Mexican

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