The fellow riding the Expresso workout bike next to me at the gym today made the comment that he’s noticed so much bad news on the Internet and teevee lately. I was curious about his statement because I can’t remember a time when bad news was not the bait to reel in viewers and listeners to any sort of media. I asked him to which events was refering. He said the social unrest in Egypt and Libya came to mind. He was also concerned about the walkouts of lawmakers in Wisconsin and Ohio. I asked him why he believed those events would be considered bad news for the average news consumer. I opined that the social unrest in Egypt and Libya would certainly be bad news for dictators and tyrants who wish to maintain their grip on power. The walkouts mean bad news for radical conservatives who desire to exersize their own power trips. Even many teabaggers are experiencing “buyers remorse” over their votes last November in opposition to reasoned dialogue.
My fellow gym rat replied that he hadn’t thought about the issues in that way. He said he was numbed by the usual “ambulance chasing” approach of so many newscasts. Stuff we don’t really need to know. He pedaled awhile in silence. He then said something to the effect that he now considers the Egyptian and the Wisconsin stories to be good news stories because they have alerted people in other areas about oppression and that folks are not powerless to do something about it. Hopefully in peaceful ways. He then mentioned that sometimes a person has to go against the grain of mass public opinion if you want to be true to yourself and wish to maintain your best ethical behavior.
Usually, that isnot very easy to do. It’s just so much easier to go along with whatever your favorite political party tells you to do. Maybe some commentator on the radio practices his art of persuasion and your critical side agrees with his opinion and you just go along with that negative view of whatever minority or “other” person is the target du jour.
When a nation or group of people become entrenched in certain beliefs about other nations or groups of people, real problems of social decay and violence can grow. These are manifested as discrimination and violence, even to the point of warfare. We find this sort of clinging to the status quo manifesting through the advocacy of political and religious dogma by our leaders and clergy.
The right thing to do, the fair thing to do, the compassionate thing to do is oftentimes very strongly opposed by the vast majority of people and certainly by our social institutions.
Social inertia is the enemy of revolution and change. Our own inertia and fear of who and what seem “different” adds to the social gridlock that keeps us from progressing socially and personally.
If the revolutionaries of the 13 British colonies in America had just gone along with the socially approved status quo and fell in line with the conservative Tories, there would have never been a nation called the United States of America. But plenty of folks decided to get out of their comfort zones. Many, many of them gave their lives as well.
So, the next time some minority group or a revolutionary movement makes the nightly newscasts, stop and think about what has motivated them to protest or revolt. Try not to cave in to your usual knee-jerk reactions and thought patterns.
The liberal American radicals had their say in 1776 and took on the most powerful empire in the world to win independence. Radical, liberal suffragettes of the 19th Century gained the vote and the beginnings of equal rights for women. The civil rights movement of the 20th Century made great advances and won legal equality by not just going along with the status quo. The labor movement made the workplace more humane. The struggle against oppressive dogma and status quo will continue as it does with advocates for native peoples and LGBTQ citizens.
These efforts are all works in progress in line with the great human tradition and yearning for real freedom and liberty for ALL.
Viva la Revolución!
The Blue Jay of Happiness advocates your own personal revolution. Look at people and issues from the “other’s” point of view.