If the way that our nation’s emergencies and industries, such as floods caused by shoddy Corps of Engineers work, and oil spills caused by unregulated industry, are handled by “government” is an indicator of how well we are represented in our republic, maybe it’s time to create a model of true democracy and skip the “representative” part. And maybe it’s time that our senate is comprised of people with proven wisdom rather than another bunch of popular people.
We were all taught to do research papers as part of our educations. This included checking and citing many sources, and yet we get most of our “facts” in this world of almost infinite information from only the sources that most agree with our pre-conceived beliefs. We are empowered to intelligently debate any subject, but still choose gurus who interpret the data and tell us what to believe.
We also were taught to listen when spoken to and to use our words, not our fists, to communicate, and yet we are often incited to fight as our first option in dealing with fear. We were taught problem solving and communication skills as a substitute for helpless whining and tattling to our teachers and other authority figures, and yet we still sit helplessly waiting for the “government” and the law to fix our problems. This has kept us in the power of lawyers, liars, and big-mouthed bullies, fear mongers, and class clowns.
We are fortunate to live in an age of instant, individual education and communication. With the internet, we are able to research almost any subject from almost any perspective that we wish, and to communicate our ideas without the corruption or interruption of our words. We are empowered as never before to have a voice in anything we believe. We are wasting our talents by endlessly forwarding half-baked and severely biased “information.”
I have read much about how horrible it is that the citizens of south Louisiana have been prohibited from rolling up their sleeves and doing whatever it would have taken to protect their coastland. Civil disobedience was made for just this sort of situation, but individual action would give the oil industry a huge loophole to run through in displacing liability. If we weren’t so cowed by the legal profession and influenced by the drama-driven media, we would take more action upon ourselves.
The reason we do not is that we continue to convince ourselves that our laws force the big guys to take care of the little guys. Our legal system exists to define and protect the status quo, not to protect right. We delude ourselves into thinking that if we align ourselves with a big enough and powerful enough group that we, as individuals, will be protected. We then anoint leaders as our protectors and dare not question them or the crowd for fear of being turned on, shunned, and possibly punished by the group.
History shows a pattern of the big guys buying off the most vocal and most connected of the little guys, and leaving the rest to rot. But history is written by the powerful and protected, not by the individual, so we know little about the truth of how we got to where we are.
It seems that most people have no idea what the tenets or history of their religion or political parties consist in. They simply choose the parts of the rituals that they find comforting, and go along. Why is it so important to so many people to pretend that they have a like-minded support group that they will close their eyes to any dissent or disparity in group thought? Is it really so hard to have civilized disagreement and discussion until we come to understanding of each other’s positions?
Christianity condemns legal action against our brothers (and, presumably, our sisters), yet we in this country that considers itself so Christian are the most litigious people in the world. The rule of our law favors fighting over cooperation. “To the victor belong the spoils”. As long as our system rewards those who have the most power to wage war and endless arguments, this promises to continue. What good are our churches if they are not promoting arbitration over legal action and protecting the individual over the institution?
It seems that what we need are on-call mediators to replace the legal action in this world. Maybe we should have to sign arbitration agreements to be admitted into the human race.