What is my life worth? I’ve been a protester most of my adult life, writing and calling legislators, attending rallies for peace and social justice as far as Washington, D.C., and New York City. It’s easy to feel discouraged when Congress tries to read the constituent tea leaves and make decisions based on whether it will keep them in office rather than being the will of the majority – or even ‘of the people’ at all. Members of Congress are beholden to corporations and monied interest groups. They don’t care what the peasants think, and neither do the corporations – unless it hits their bottom line. The politicians need the money to win elections and maintain their seats, while fewer people cast votes because they don’t believe it makes any difference.
This is a democracy, and corrupt or not, our vote absolutely matters. How many women fought and died so I could check off that box in the voting booth? How many minorities have fought and suffered longer still, and died for the right to say they matter, to those who purportedly make decisions on their behalf?
White men need not apply for they’ve always been the ones with the most power and privilege, but women have often been counted as a slight step up from dogs (no offense to dogs – they are good and I love them, but they are not human…), with non-white males slightly above women.
What’s worth dying for though? What for and when do I deliberately put myself in harm’s way for a cause? There are so many to choose from, unfortunately. It’s important to try not to die in vain though. If I choose to be martyred for a cause, it needs to be known and championed, or it cannot affect change. My body wants to preserve my life because that’s my body’s job – but my higher senses know I’m going to die – so do I die well and purposefully, or stupidly and/or pointlessly?
I never wanted to join the military because I’m not a nationalist. I’m a humanist and actually into the whole ‘one people, one planet’ thing. I know there are already international agencies doing relief work on a consistent basis, but there remains great disparity in wealth and access to services growing wider all the time, and many of those agencies are purposefully non-political.
Maybe we have to ruin our nation before anything changes because we seem to like repeating history or pretend that serious issues like climate change, for instance, is up for debate. We’re having to fight harder to hang onto basic services that preserve human dignity in which government helps provide for the common good, like Medicare and Social Security. Corporations and monied interests engineer outrage, fanning the flames of hatred and fear, creating groups like the ‘tea party’, the majority of whose members are often not savvy enough to see that they are shills for the corporate benefactors.
I don’t know if continuing to fight is enough, or if some other drastic action has to happen. The petitions of the people seem to go unanswered, but maybe this is how it’s always been and I’m more interested in the process at this point in my life? I’m grateful for people like John Cusack who portrayed the current political climate so well in War, Inc., and I’m thankful for a myriad of others who make documentaries and other films shedding light on food and water resources as well as energy and what corporations are trying to do – like Monsanto getting governments to force impoverished nations to use their terminator seed or not get aid. How messed up is that?! Food, Inc. is a documentary film that describes what Monsanto has done and continues to do, very well.
Constant vigilance is democracy’s watchwords, but like the fires my cousin and I started while playing in the woods at our grandfather’s house: the fewer there are, the easier they are to put out. We were unsuccessful that day, and enormously grateful for a fire department that wasn’t privatized.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.