I am so inspired by the current Occupy Wall Street protests, that I’d like to start an “official” series of posts. Nothing spectacular. Just my reactions to events. I name it “People Power” because to me, everything comes down to this: equal power to all people. It’s an ideal of the Enlightenment, a modern notion that’s relatively new. Prior to the modern era, people believed they were born powerless, would live powerless, then would die powerless, passing their powerlessness on to their children and their children’s children.
These people, despite their powerlessness within the system would nonetheless find ways to empower themselves, to live with deep meaning and purpose. Our modern struggle for power has been fraught with difficulty and pain. “All men are created equal,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, from a desk set within his fine house on his plantation where women cooked his meals and black people performed his manual labor. In other words, it’s been easier to set up “equality” as an ideal than it has to practice it.
How do people get power? They take it. That’s what has emboldened everyone from the Middle East to middle America (where I happen to be at the moment). It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult, because to gain power, you’ve got to risk losing what you’ve got, including your life.
I didn’t think we had it in us. I was wrong, and I’m happy to admit it. Excited. No one knows what will happen, but already the protests are making a difference. The Democrats just got brave enough to stand up with wobbly knees and quietly propose a millionaire tax. President Obama, who rejected such an idea a year ago, has endorsed this as a possibility. Every day that they protest will make a difference. Everything you do to protest. Every positive comment on Facebook. Every conversation you have. Even if you don’t agree with everything that we radical leftists stand for. Speak out against exploitation. Speak out against those with power. Stand behind giving more power to the people, even if you are a conservative Republican, because Big Government is just as much a problem as Big Business. In fact, they work together. So we need everyone on board here.
Power to the People.