Does being silent as citizens allow us to believe that we are outside the fray? If we go about our normal business (go to work; maintain our immediate family; pay our taxes) does that mean we are not involved and are okay just where we are? If we mind our own business does that mean we can just continue to do so? Are we truly citizens if we mind our own business and remain silent? What choices do we have and are we willing to make our own choices?
I touched on this subject in a few of my previous posts. In Choice: Wonderful or not? (October 26, 2011) and Choice in Present Times (October 27, 2011) I introduced some of my quandaries about choice, the choices we have and how our choices have an impact on more than ourselves. In Moderation is not a dirty word (November 1, 2011) I challenge the notion that we can remain silent about societal issues and assume that we are somehow not at all involved. In this case I refer to the choice to remain silent about greed in our society. I wrote:
“The structure and function of our economic –political institutions are examples of greed. Our blind adherence to these institutional structures regardless of the benefit for the common man is an example of our acceptance of greed. We may think that being silent about the incredible and obscene growing gap between the rich and the poor, the quality of life in the developed versus the undeveloped (?) world, or the very foundation of the “health care/illness industry” makes us non-complicit in these manifestations of greed but I disagree.”
I believe that we have reached a stage in the life of our society where we must choose whether to remain silent or open our mouths and speak. As individuals we have a choice: to be a citizen who participates or to remain silent.
A Leonard Cohen song: Everybody Knows keeps playing in my head:
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
For quite some time now these lyrics have seemed fitting to me in describing the current world situation. Most recently, I think that the Occupy movement has made all of us very aware of the “leaking boat”. WE ALL KNOW!!!
We all know that we can either stay in the leaking boat or we can get out. We all know about the growing gap in income and wealth across the planet. I shared some shocking statistics about the gap in my post Sharing the wealth, (November 4, 2011) and have hinted at how we may have got into this pickle (The art of sharing, November 24, 2011) and introduced an idea that we could consider “sharing” as a foundational value for moving forward.
We have to do something!!! Everybody knows!
Many people, including the general public, politicians, and businessmen and including some of the participants of the Occupy movement have fallen into the trap of looking at “Occupy” as a messy protest with all the messy things that the media have had us focus on: fire regulations, health concerns, violation of property rights, Santa Claus Parades, tents, poop etc. We can choose to be relieved at seeing the end of the Occupy protest sites that have marred our beautiful urban paradise but what we cannot get away from are the issues that have been raised.
Irene McDermott © 2011