‘Power to the people’. Peace signs. Raised fists. Interlocked hands or arms. Lying in front of bulldozers or police. People, especially the young used to campaign for social change. They were inherently idealistic. Idealism is just an engagement with the world not far from the sense of optimism. Whether built out of intellectual growth or a religious faith, our world view is a dynamic evolving core of how we live. I am a bruised and scarred idealist.
I approached the world with the notion that people had a voice. I listened to John Lennon and Bobby Kennedy. Lately I notice that the cry for a better world is being quietened by a mood of resignation. A sadness toward an oppressive world. People increasingly feel their sense of voice or power is eroded if not already expired. Conspiracy is becoming a world view not just one Presidencial assassination. People see ‘big pharm’, ‘big Gov’, ‘big oil’ or the 1% wealthy, as forces handcuffing their rights and opportunity. I recently engaged with some young people who have little comprehension what civil rights even are. Resignation, apathy, or fear are being disguised behind all the cultural distractions like entertainment, intoxication or materialism. Idealism and optimism have been eroded by a malaise of pessimism. Maybe the ‘axis of evil’ is already here and maybe I’m delusional or numbed. Maybe my bruises are in fact an inoperable cancer. I hang on to the notion that our community has a profound resilience to sustain a civil society but my my philosophy, even theology, is shaken too. All well-being is utimately a divine intervention but please don’t just sit back and pray. Please also participate here and now. Volunteer, stay informed and yes- vote.
#elxn42 Canada’s 42 federal election. Too many countries have a grand total of zero. Some people, like Syrian refugees, now live only in a disheveled crowd. Their community is uprooted in devastating ways. My interpretation of our community is adapted over time by my personal success and failings, my family and friends, education and communication, wavering faith and political reality.
I rant away, at home or office or online, about the injustices of Harper or other political musings but that is rooted in my activist, idealistic youth. The discourse for change and a goal for a gentler world was expressed by protests and a sense of idealism. Even my father’s WWII generation was developing a sense of public good and the desire for equality and opportunity. They argued against protesters because of the fear of social unrest. They still feared the Nazi. Revolution worried them yet they still were idealistic believing elections could harness civility.
“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. ” Luke23:34 -KJV
We all chuckled about the hippies(or we were one)but deep down the generation ( boomers) believed in the aspirations or at least for awhile until they could afford the BMWand a boat. In many ways we were naive. My bruised idealism pains me when my critical inquiry discovers the very same fascists not in brown shirts but hiding in plain view behind their limo and Armani. Public office or corporate tower, those who strategize against ‘power to people’ are winning.
Power is manhandled by a gun wielding bully psychopath. Too often they are put there by us! Through colonialism or just wars of greed, dictators are everywhere. We argue about finances, public health, daycare, niqab, the Senate… Yet many regions or countries cannot speak out about anything with fear of torture or death. Parts of Syria, Iraq, Africa, are run by corrupted Muslim gangsters- terrorists. Individuals are meaningless. Public good is based on the murdering bully’s own interpretation of the Koran or other text. People have zero power. They grab their kids and cross deserts or seas to sneak away to something they hope is better. They have no plan, no passport, no money. Only desperation of a world that to them is an Armageddon. By fate of time and geography, we are cushioned from these oppressive events but for how long? This is the root of why some people oppose immigration. Fear.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.– Franklin D. Roosevelt. ( http://www.brainyquote.com)
Oh …the heady days when people protesting had influence. I still find threads of idealism embedded in my nature because I was a lucky boomer. I recall civil rights marches. My school had ‘sit I s’ . We had an ugly Vietnam to galvanize people to protest. Canadians argued about a national bill of rights- Charter of Rights and Freedoms- Quebec didn’t sign but Canadians didn’t jail or execute them in the town square. The concept of citizenship had some teeth. It felt like idealism could moved things along.
I am a jaded idealist. (Oxymoron?) But each individual must craft and carry a personal world view while living among a community. Like my rickety back and arthritic knees I still limp around and venture out. My idealism is injured but maybe understanding that is even more powerful? A healthy skepticism is like an analgesic that helps you get out and enjoy the world. This grumpy old man avoids the oppression of negativity and fear by licking my wounds and enjoying our natural gifts as often as possible. I rant and debate against the imperfect but only because I’m too imperfect and seek redemption. I guess I’m a bruised idealist! 🙂 but please vote.
Even if your choice doesn’t win, some of your power lies in you going on public record. Even if you think Harper is a psychopathic leader, he is just one flawed man within a flawed set of institutions but alternatives are not pretty. Your vote, for any man or party, reminds our country that zealots and dictators are not welcome but rather that your 99% singular quiet voice deserves respect.
– Al Smith
John Lennon tried to convince people society was corrupted by money, war, elites. The CIA had him on ‘watch lists’ . ( nb. They also had Pierre Elliot Trudeau ‘watched’ as a communist threat to USA. His cooperation with Cuba’s Castro was considered subversive behaviour. ) **** Lennon was murdered in New York by a fan. Some people still believe it was assassination.
Listen to Preview: Power to the People: The Hits (Deluxe Edition) by John Lennon. https://itun.es/ca/8z6B2
Bernews. “10 Lesser Known Facts About John Lennon Only A True Fan Can Tell You.” John Lennon Birthday, Amazing Facts about John Lennon. N.p., 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <http://www.polkacafe.com/john-lennon-birthday-amazing-facts-about-john-lennon-1992.html>.
“Luke 23:34 Jesus Said, “Father, Forgive Them, for They Do Not Know What They Are Doing.” And They Divided up His Clothes by Casting Lots.” Bible Hub., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <http://biblehub.com/luke/23-34.htm>.