Monday, March 10, 2008

Irony & Activism

"Of the corporate institution, for the corporate institution and by the corporate institution".

It doesn’t just roll off the tongue, does it?

If Lincoln had made his Address in the present era of ‘Corporatism’ – government policy directed by and politicians ‘funded’ by corporations and their lobbyists - that’s how he would have had to word his catch-phrase had he wished to convey any truth at all.

What can we do about it?

Now, think about it. Isn’t that an odd question to ask if you firmly believe (or even suspect) that you live in a free, egalitarian democratic republic built on personal liberty and are guaranteed the redress of grievances by the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the United States?

Noam Chomsky, MIT professor emeritus, gives talks on US foreign policy all over the world. Again and again, Americans ask him, “What can we do about it? What can we do to effect change in US policy?”

Note this: he’s never asked that question anywhere else in the world; Nicaragua, Palestine, the UK, Canada or elsewhere.

Only in America.

Professor Chomsky responds by commenting on the irony of citizens in the US even asking the question. The ‘cradle of liberty’, the ‘bright shining beacon of hope’, the ‘grand experiment’, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’ yet its citizens, who by law, by tradition and by the decree issued in the Declaration of Independence, are consumed by a sense of helplessness.

The answer?

Americans need to simply start holding informal meetings about the issues that concern them; local issues, State-wide issues, Federal, International, environmental, etc. Meet in twos and threes with family, friends, co-workers, church members, etc and talk about what needs to be done to help our nation.

Of course, this would mean skipping half an evening of television or an hour session at the Playstation to do some research and attend the meeting.

Maybe that’s too much to ask.

No comments: