Consider these paraphrased thoughts of Alan Hart. They truly focus the real questions we must ask ourselves and the real truths we must face as fact.
Modern life is a de-humanizing process which has reduced us, most of us, to units of consumption, digits in corporate computers, figures on accountants’ balance sheets. The prime task for each and every one of us is to claim back our humanity. THE most important of all questions is the question of human nature.
The pessimistic view, which is more or less an article of faith for most politicians and mainstream media people and many corporate executives, bankers especially, is that we human beings are inherently and unchangeably short-sighted, selfish and greedy, preferring to live for today at the expense of tomorrow and are, on balance, more “bad” than “good”. In other words, we are really quite stupid. And that, our so-called leaders tell themselves, is why they can’t tell us the truth about real choices and options for the future.
The optimistic view is that we could be much more “good” than “bad”, meaning that we have at least the potential to act in our own best, longer term interests and those of our children especially, even if doing so would require those of us who live in the rich nations (and the pockets of plenty in the developing and poor nations) to lower our expectations and actually be prepared to take less in the way of material gratification.
Politicians simply don’t care about the welfare of the general population unless they are pushed to do so by informed public opinion and by manifestations of real democracy in action. The problem is that most citizens of most nations are too uninformed and misinformed about critical issues to do the pushing.
Real democracy exists nowhere in the world, and perhaps least of all in America where what passes for democracy is for sale to the highest lobby bidders. What will it take to empower the citizens of nations to make democracy work? It is about fathers and grandfathers thinking more about the future of their children and grandchildren. We, who are citizens of the still rich Western nations, need to change the way we live and think.
The real villain is the short-sighted and stupid way the capitalist system has been managed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – by the few in global terms for the few. Today in our world 15 million children under five are dying each year from malnutrition and related, easily preventable diseases such as diahorrea and whooping cough. We must invest in the development of the poor majority in order to bring them, in an environmentally friendly way, into the market place with the purchasing power to buy the goods and services we have to sell if our capitalist system is to have a sustainable future.
Unless and until a majority of the men and women elected to Congress are more frightened of offending their voters than they are of offending the lobbyists and its allies including the right wing fundamentalists, we have no true democracy.
What most citizens of most nations have in common today is a dislike (antipathy) verging on contempt for their governments and what the business and what the practice of politics has become. But that is not enough to create real change. 90 percent of Americans have something approaching contempt for Congress, yet incumbents continue to be returned to office year after year. Whose fault is that, the politician’s or the people who continue to elect them?
Americans are, generally speaking, the most uninformed, misinformed and gullible people on earth. So if they have some understanding of how self-serving, how corrupt and how rotten their political system is, and act politically on that understanding, hope that the doors to new politics can be opened everywhere in the Western world is surely justified.
We must send the message that we won’t vote for them unless they play their necessary part in causing critical issues to be addressed. On another level it means organizing and being prepared to participate in protest marches and demonstrations, peacefully of course. And yes, there is a case for well organized boycotts to press home protest points.
We all need something to believe in. What can we believe in? I say why not believe in OURSELVES and our ability. We must be willing to seek, speak and spread the truth, to become politically engaged to make democracy work and cause our governments to change the world for the better; to give our children and grandchildren at least the real prospect of a future worth having. If we fail them, they won’t forgive us.