This is several posts that I wanted to make all put into one. I realized that they all centered around a central theme: Talk is cheap.
First, we have Norman Solomon on Democracy Now on October 3, 2007:
The opposition is registered in opinion polls, but largely quiescent, and if we look at the progression of the Vietnam War, year after year, from the late ’60s through the first years of the ’70s, opinion polls show that most Americans were opposed to the war, even felt it was immoral. You fast-forward to this decade, for years now most polls have shown most people are opposed. But what does that mean? Our political culture encourages us to be passive, not to get out in the streets, not to blockade the government war-making offices, not to go into the congressional offices and not leave, not to raise our voices in impolite or disruptive ways. We have to become enemies of the warfare state, not in a rhetorical way, but in a way that speaks to the American people in terms of where our humane values are and should be.
So he is essentially saying here, if you see something as morally wrong, don’t just oppose it in thought, oppose it in action. Stop being polite.
And now lets turn to Yoko Ono on today’s Democracy Now. She is introduced on the show as a peace activist. But what has she done to deserve this title? From what I can gather, close to nothing. Sure, she has spoken as an advocate for peace, but what really needs to be done to accomplish peace is civil disobedience. It seems that she has done what has been convenient for her to do. Since her whole life has been one of wealth and privilege, she doesn’t need to worry about her next paycheck, doesn’t need to sacrifice anything. And here are quotes from their “bed-in” protest:
YOKO ONO: Be sure that instead of making war, it’s better to just stay in bed. Let’s just stay in bed for the spring.
JOHN LENNON: And grow your hair for peace. Let it grow ’til peace comes.
Like everything else in life worth having, peace takes work. Peace does not come by laying in bed. Will it come by laying in the street? Maybe. But you have to pay for the privilege of having that bed to lay in. You have to have money to get it. You have to have money to buy the food to sustain you while you lay there. It must be nice that they can afford those things and at the same time feel really good about themselves for “working” towards peace. Give me a break.
I know this post is somewhat disorganized and rambling, but I had to get it out. I am sick of the situation we are in. The people that rule this world, the big corporate executives, the people in the governments that call the shots, all of them – do you think they accomplish the things that they do by laying in bed and saying “I’m laying in bed to give US hegemony a chance.” No, they don’t. They have very exacting strategies, and they work hard at what they do.
We can learn something very valuable from those in power. That is the value of hard work. Let’s not just imagine peace and think that is enough to get it done. Let’s not sit around in a room of like-minded individuals and argue over which strategy is most effective, never coming to an agreement and not leaving enough time to implement any of them. Let’s get down to the real work. Don’t be scared to get your hands dirty. Here are some real suggestions.
Wave signs for Ron Paul. Send out postcards to libertarians. Answer his emails. Of course, this goes for any peace candidate. Show up at your favorite candidate’s campaign headquarters and say “How can I help?”
If you don’t believe in the political system, pick a date and location, print up some flyers, and tape those things to wherever people congregate. Contact groups and organizations who support your message and get them to join you. Organize people that will be in attendance to participate in civil disobedience. If there is a group in your area that is already doing this, again, simply show up. They may be starved for volunteers.
Show up. Don’t just lay in bed. Don’t just let your hair grow and think that is going to make a difference. Put your thinking cap on and if you are going to imagine anything, don’t just imagine peace, but imagine how you can help bring peace. You can’t just imagine the end result, but you also have to imagine how to get there.