Thursday, May 5, 2016

Love Vs. the American War Machine

There's something you need to know about. It's called the American War Machine. 

Maybe you have an idea of what I mean; maybe you don't. But once I tell you, there's no going back. You can choose not to believe me, but unfortunately these things are well documented and the information is widely available online.

We're coming up on another election. Another charade of choice. When Jill Stein was trying to fight her way into a televised debate in 2012 she told reporters,

“Ninety million voters are predicted to stay home and vote with their feet that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney represent them. That’s twice as many voters than expected for either of them."

Our current president now has the support of less than half of the people of the United States. Our confidence in the structures of power is already gone. So what does that mean for this next election? 

Obama told us he was going to close Guantanamo and bring home our soldiers, and we believed him and we voted for him. But the Barack Obama we sent back to the Oval Office in 2012 has a kill list. He personally approves drone targets. Sometimes he will approve a strike even if the target is with their family. This practice has become an excellent recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. 

Most of us don't even know half of what our country does with our implicit approval. It's a horrifying thought, but it's also an empowering one. So listen up.

America has the meanest military around, by a lot. Whatever values we once stood for, our MO now is pretty much "we have the might, so we have the right," aka "fork over your lunch money."

Occasionally, one of the countries we've been taking advantage of gets it together enough to democratically elect a leader willing to push back. We're all about democracy, so we applaud them, shake their hands, and listen to their demands, right?

Wrong. We find some psychopath who's willing to be bribed, arm and fund his military coup, and say we've just conquered socialism.

I say “we” and “our” like we’re choosing this and/or benefitting it, when the opposite is true. We've all been pillaged, too. The vast majority of us can't claim a fair livelihood, a home of own, access to the world at large, proper medical care, regular meals, even. 

We are not powerless. We are literally the opposite. We are the labor, we are the power that makes the world go round. We can and should be beautifying our own communities, investing in things we collectively value, healing the world, and doing work that contributes to all of our well-being. There is enough food that no child need starve. There are more empty buildings than homeless people in the average city. Think of all the service organizations, all of the infrastructure, all of the communities that would benefit from more hands, more love, more attention. Think of all of the job creating we could do together if the bulk of the world's resources were in a public fund for the world's improvement.

Both parties love to call the other side brainwashed. The ironic thing is they’re both right. We’re all brainwashed. We’re brainwashed into deferring our dreams indefinitely. Even our most urgent and noble dreams. Like making sure our grandchildren have a planet to enjoy. Ridding the world of unnecessary suffering. Creating a society where taking care of one another is the rule instead of an admirable exception.

We have the technology now to vote directly on every issue that effects us. It could be an app that we check daily. Which bills are up for debate today? Ooh, the jobs bill. I vote for this bill only if Section 3 is deleted. I'm not sure what's going on with this one; let me go watch the condensed debate on youtube. Of course, there is no reason for the people in power right now to make this happen. If we want true democracy we have to demand it.

It's going to take trust in one another. We've got to stop giving in to our fear and hatred when it comes to people who see the world differently than we do. Hatred is easy. It makes us feel protected from our fear, but the cost is high. Love takes nuance. Balance. Love means respecting one another's desires, even when we don't agree with them. Love is the language of functional communities, of real democracy, the idealized, shiny, bright version we got in elementary school, the kind where everyone wins and no one loses.

We don't see a lot of examples of how to do this. People rarely reach compromises on televised debates or talk shows. If you believe the television, you’d think it’s literally impossible to make decisions that everyone can be at peace with. I’ve personally reached good compromises on gay marriage and abortion with my very Mormon, very Republican parents, compromises which leave everyone's values intact and don't threaten anyone's way of life.

Democracy isn’t failing. Its mechanisms have been subverted. It's time to update the systems. Get this machine running the way it's supposed to. Decentralize power. Put it back in the hands of people and communities. Get people talking productively instead of destructively again.

Everyone wants to be the hero in their own battle of good vs. evil. This is your chance.

Do you believe we should all have a say in what happens to us? Do you believe the world's resources should be used to nurture the world? Should people's labor go towards things that benefit them and the world at large?

Speak, people. Speak for yourselves.  Speak for democracy. #directdemocracynow #lovevsthemachine

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