I don't generally watch tearjerkers but I watched Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story last night and I cried the entire time. Seeing people getting thrown out of their homes, homes that had been in their families for generations. Seeing people out of work with no notice. Seeing the people who prey on those lost homes. It was all so sad. One of the things that surprised me was the fact that, even though I have usually kept my head down when it comes to things like these, I actually had a pretty clear idea of what went down.
The stock market and the real-estate market crashes, these were not accidents. It's so vile to think that these were orchestrated and that people profited on these losses. I remember when the stock market fell apart but I don't remember anyone telling us exactly what happened to cause that problem. All we knew was that our savings, retirements, nest-eggs, our plans were suddenly pulled out from under us along with our security. Then the banks had the nerve to ask the government for money. Our money. After they had done so much to loose it all. When the bail-out was first proposed, I knew it wouldn't go back to those who had lost everything. I don't understand how this happened but it was the expected course. When we stood up and shouted, "No! Don't bail those banks out!", congress listened. They voted it down. Then got pressured into going forward with it anyway. There were no restrictions. The banks were not instructed to give back the money they lost. They weren't even asked to report on what they did with it! It was like giving a 16-year-old a great car, watching him crash it and then giving him another, just as nice. But the kicker is that this crash was constructed. I'm not sure what would possess a person to devise a way to steal so much money from an entire country. Especially since, undoubtedly, the persons behind this mess were already some of the world's elite. What I do know is that they got away with it and it makes me sick.
I've not been learning about the political climate or financial structure of our country for very long. I've kept my head in the sands of self-preservation for most of my life. This stuff hurts me on a very person level. It's a reflection of what I talked about in the "Being and Aquarian" post. What's happening to the country and the world can often affect me more deeply than what is happening in my own life. I don't think I'm the only person who experiences this. So all of this outrage, all of this information that angers me so, only leads me back to that constant question simmering below the muck of what is: Why? Why has this gone on for so long? How did it get so corrupt? Why haven't we risen up to make right? And I think of the 60's. Those people who rallied and protested had real faith. They believed that this was their country and that it was supposed to work for them, not the other way around. They believed that by raising their voices and signs, they could get others to understand their position, gain support and momentum. They knew right from wrong and they were prepared to fight with all they had to shift the status quo towards health and sustainability. This sheds a little light on where our complacency comes from.
My neighbor was talking recently about the differences between the social climate in the 60's and the 70's. The 70's brought about a real distrust of our government and that's no big surprise. The didn't listen to us! We worked SO hard and very little changed. Then we sidled into the 80's and some weird fluorescent version of the American Dream emerged. We only wanted to have a nice house in the suburbs, a car, 2.5 kids, maybe a dog, and cooler toys than our neighbors. It became all about being a Jones. How many social causes were active in the 80's as compared with the early 70's and 60's? It was like they just had to hold out and eventually we would quiet down and go back to keeping the hamster wheel spinning.
Back to the movie, since I'm not sure the point. I keep coming back to a scene near the end. Michael is sitting with a priest and he asks- directly from his inner child- why we haven't changed things. He says that in a country so great, with so many resources and so many great people, why haven't we found a way to not go to war, to stop the grip of Capitalism as it is surely going to be our ruin, to provide health care. Simple things. That's what I want to know.
I realize that the world is very convoluted. We seem inextricably bound to the structures we've created in terms of government and finance. But somebody, or many somebodies out there must see a clear path out of this insanity. When Jimmy Carter said in 1979 that we needed to readdress our priorities, he was dead on. We've lost or misplaced one of the things that makes us human beings, our compassion for and connection to other humans. Money and power have blinded many of us and the rest of us are so busy trying to make ends meet that it's hard to find the time to look up and see what's real. I'm only starting to learn and I won't look too closely because I refuse to let them make me believe that it all makes sense.
If I had a platform, I would call for a global strike. We need to stop. Stop making, stop buying, stop chasing and looking for 'things'. We need to stop and sit and think together. I know how crazy that sounds but we're capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We don't need to be policed by laws and politics, we need to figure out how to formulate a world where everyone is cared for. If there is balance, there is no reason for crime. If we are all seen and heard, if we all are considered to be of equal value, with equal votes and fair shares, then we will have finally found a stable foundation on which to build a strong society. As unlikely as this eventuality is, I believe in it. It know there are enough of us who care, who want something better, and who see through the veil of "Everything is fine, just watch some more T.V.". Everything is not fine. The most I can do from my little life is to live with love and hope. I wouldn't get so angry if I didn't love this place so much. I'm going to do my best to let go the anger and lead with love. Fighting things tends only to perpetuate those things. I'm going to love as loudly as I can and hope that others will take up that call. Maybe we can love some sense into this world!