Reading lately about more and more people taking a stand.
And in the same neurological impulse, I am realizing how absent this idea is from Canadian way-of-life and modern U.S. way-of-life also.
With exception to that last comment, I see that the Sean Bell injustice is not going away. There was a demonstration that got squashed in a hurry, but it was a broad and powerful display of supporters who shut down several arteries in Manhattan for times between 30 and 90 minutes.
When I saw this had happened, with the organization of Al Sharpton, I was proud to see that it had. As of late, I’ve been reading Democracy Matters by Dr. Cornel West. The book is clear in stating the general apathy of American citizens is something that needs to change. According to West, who is such an amiable character (and whom I think everyone should have the joy of watching speak) democracy is dependant upon outspoken debate, Socratic questioning of self, tragicomic approach to the future, and a love of truth. But the questioning is slowing from the sources it needs to come from. Everyday people. We need to question more, care more, wonder more, and give into the soma of TV and “celebritizing” and consumerism LESS.
That said, I have been seeing the contrary of this apathy in other places in the world who have relatively newer democratic experiments on the go. Yes, the American and Canadian democratic situation is also an EXPERIMENT, which I think a lot of people are unaware of…we/they think that the lawmakers take care of everything, and that all injustices are stopped before they get far, but understanding truly what’s going on in democracies means that there has to be CONSTANT (even in the best times) questioning and auditing of the day’s goings-on. We need to care and be aware at all times, because government answers to and FOLLOWS the people. It is NOT the other way around (thanks to my brother Todd for that insight).
Argentina farmers have been losing thier shit over this tax increase on their crops to the extent that they are closing down roads for three WEEKS! Hello!? Three weeks! The protests in New York were shut down in 90 minutes. It is uplifting to see people who are aware of their rights and their impact on the electorate stand up and say, “BULLSHIT!”
Here in Canada, where I live in Windsor, politicians push things through at will, with very little outrage or commitment from citizens, to looking out for each other like they do in countries where this democratic ideal is fresh, and in dire need of protecting. In provincial and federal politics, similar to state and federal in the U.S., people make their 6-figure salary opposing, partisanly, anyone on the other side of the floor. They’re not, for the most part, looking out for a solution, but just toting the party line and arguing in the best interest of their job, being re-elected (Duh).
Knowing this, we should be more involved in our view of this freedom we appreciate. We should be more like the monks in China. We should be more like the farmers in Argentina. We should be more like the voters in Zimbabwe. They realize the importance of the experiment of democracy, and they don’t want that dream to die in a tsunami of corruption and disinterest.