Over the past year I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the way America seems to be rising to the occasion of it’s own evolution. Note that I said evolution and not revolution. I make this distinction because we are evolving no matter what we do. No matter how much we choose to participate or not, our country is moving forward in time just like anything else. So while SO many of us are crying out for change, unless we’re actively doing the work to direct that change… then we just plod forward rather than grow deliberately.
So if our evolution is pretty much guaranteed then what’s the difference between that and revolution? For me, it’s the conscious participation in making sure we’re participating in the evolution together. When all of us are “doing our part” to contribute to the actual work that must be done it becomes a revolution. This is why I don’t really accept that all revolutions are violent in nature.
Change can come upon us through a multitude of avenues and violence is only one of them. While history has shown that violence can be used for a quick fix, it’s also shown us that when violence is the tool of choice to create change then inevitably the ones who used it to gain authority will use it to suppress the authority of others. Our nation is a microcosm of this.
We fought the British to get our own nation… then rose up to fight ourselves about slavery… and slaughtered countless native peoples to advance our agenda of freedom. See the hypocrisy that violence is helping to hide? We used violence to gain our own freedom and then used that freedom and those same tools of violence to suppress others against their will. So… in the long list of “growing pains” that America has faced don’t you think the “No Hitting” rule from our preschool days is overdue by now?
Another key missing ingredient is a willingness to see oneself as a part of something greater than themselves. In order for us to evolve into a nation that genuinely holds the core values of our constitution and the idea of freedom we must work with the understanding that these ideas apply to everyone in a just and communal way. This rugged individual sense of freedom that has emerged in recent years has been troubling. Not because it has its heart in the wrong place but because it’s just plain selfish.
If we want to revolt with out violence, and I do, then we must first accept that we cannot have a nation where we are free as individuals but don’t commit to support and engage each other in a healthy and beneficial way for all. To focus entirely on freedom of individuals and lose sight of freedom for all is to create a toxic mess of exploitation. We already know this… we see the less fortunate be used and abused all the time. It’s time we are able to admit that with out having to make anyone feel guilty about it. But does it need to change? Yes. So our individual ideas of freedom are sort of at odds with our national or patriotic idea of freedom if, in the end, we aren’t seeking justice and liberty for all.
So when did America become so weak? Yeah I said it… we’re soft. There are stories about communities coming together and making it through hard times from as far back in history as you can see. So why aren’t we willing to take THOSE queues from our predecessors? Why aren’t we pursuing a revolution in which we all stand together? Am I willing to pay some more taxes to make sure that there is not a single starving child in this nation? You bet your sweet one! Am I willing to pay more taxes to make sure that every single neighbor in my neighborhood gets a solid education? Abso-friggen-lutely!
However, I need to participate in the system so it doesn’t become corrupt. I have to participate in the system so that I can see where the needs are and where we are being taken advantage of. I need to hold people accountable for exploiting our entire system for their own benefit like so many companies and individuals have been doing for years now. All of this is hard work! All of it can seem complicated and too large to manage… but the America I was raised to believe in is one that RISES to those challenges… not runs from or becomes apathetic to them.
Creating excuses not to do the hard work that needs doing is not the “American Way” that I hear so much about and choosing violence as the quick fix is also irresponsible. The people that are so often doted upon from America’s history worked very hard and were willing to give up personal comforts and conveniences in order to make sure the people in their neighborhood were able to live a decent life. The revolution I’m speaking of doesn’t land on one side or another of any aisle. It lands right in the very laps of every single American.
Nothing but good old fashioned willingness to give a little so we can get a lot is going to help us become the Nation we keep telling ourselves we are. Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Progressive, Conservative, Moderate and all the rest… have little to no meaning if people aren’t willing to do the work and make the sacrifices necessary to prosper as an entire nation.Fighting doesn’t get work done… working gets work done.
It’s time to set the apathy aside, stop racing to have everyone driving a Lamborghini and focus on making sure that we have a nation that truly cares for one another to make sure no child is starving, no one is poor because they got sick and the planet is healthy and sustainable enough for us to continue to live here.
That’s what patriotism is really about and with out it… our “revolting” may simply be another blip in cosmic time. One of a species that couldn’t figure it out and instead went extinct like so many before them.