“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi
I am outraged on a daily basis by the people running this country and the media that covers them. I call and write letters to my elected officials. I write letters to newspapers. I sign petitions and try to learn as much as I can about the issues that concern me. I read the news online, I read ‘blogs, I read books, I drive people to the polls on election day. I’m starting to get involved in groups and I am actually going to walk the walk by running for a seat on my county committee.
I always considered myself to be politically aware but after 9/11 was moved to pay even MORE attention to things going on in the world. I started looking for alternative forms of news and information before the start of the war because the mainstream media wasn’t helping me. I didn’t want to hear regurgitated Bush administration talking points! I KNEW the U.S. led invasion of Iraq was WRONG and I felt there was nothing I could do. Then in 2004 I was introduced to the writings of a few “dissident” soldiers serving in the Army and fighting in Iraq and I was INSPIRED. It is because of getting to know them that I am more politically active and aware than any other time in my life. It was this stupid, senseless war that made me question my government MORE than ever. Their actual involvement in this war, which so many of us NEVER believed in, was the impetus that motivated me to further action.
The people running this country don’t have the best interests of its citizens in mind! And it’s not just Bush and his “advisors,” it’s the RUBBER-STAMP Republicans (and the too timid, directionless Democrats) in the House and Senate that hold NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE. Their actions and policies are unconscionable and there is currently NO RECOURSE and NO OVERSIGHT. We need FACTS and the TRUTH. This government is supposed to represent "WE THE PEOPLE…" NOT special interest/lobbying groups and large corporations who make hefty campaign contributions.
I started to watch a movie the other day called “The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan”. It’s about an 8-year old boy and his family who are forced to live in the ruins of the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan because the Taliban (among others) destroyed their home and their land and they were forced to become refugees in their own country… These are the same 1600-year old Buddhas the Taliban destroyed in 2001 because they were deemed "idolatrous and unislamic.” The very same Buddhas that were considered cultural icons and listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
What causes people to have SO much hatred in their hearts? What causes people to be so afraid and have such a lack of respect and understanding for things/beliefs/people that are so different from themselves that they cause such destruction? Our current government is no different than the Taliban. They are both self-imposed regimes of religious fundamentalists attempting to annihilate a way of life and impose their own narrow definition of HOW THINGS SHOULD BE.
The little bit of the film I saw reminded me about perspective. It reminded me that compared to Mir, the boy from the film, I own virtual a PALACE. It reminded me that I am a very LUCKY and FORTUNATE person for the clothes on my back, the material possessions I have, the food I can afford to buy and eat… my friends, my job, the country that I live in… that virtually EVERYTHING in my life is a GIFT and I should be GRATEFUL.
I am trying SO hard to be more compassionate. I am trying so HARD to be more understanding and I am trying SO HARD to DO MORE. And in spite of feeling so incredibly HELPLESS most of the time, I AM trying to be the change I wish to see in this world.