Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wisconsin, democracy, the Midwest, and truth

Rachel Maddow discussed the importance of the Wisconsin protests on her show the other night.  I agree with her general sentiment that what is in peril right now is the success of the Democratic party as a whole, considering the transparent attempt to eradicate unions, or, at minimum, their sizable political influence, which overwhelmingly helps the Democratic party. 

More specifically, though, the protests in Wisconsin are important because they are occurring in the Midwest, the part of the United States known typically for its stalwart conservative viewpoints-- even though that's not necessarily how we all vote, particularly in the larger Midwestern cities like Minneapolis and Chicago.  Consequently, the fact that so many of the more extreme attacks on women, personal freedoms, the environment, unions, and scores of other things progressives (and, it seems, humans) find most important are coming from State legislators from Midwestern states, the uprising in Wisconsin is unexpected-- and inspiring.

Midwestern values are mostly what you'd expect: the importance of family, down-home values of kindness, respect, and avoidance of conflict at nearly all costs; strong ties to community and neighborly kindness; and keeping our noses out of everyone's business, and all the drama.  As a result, we enjoy a sort of quiet, more intimate community existence, which most consider to be incompatible with loud, in-your-face political protesting and grassroots political change... coming from the left!

So, here are the Midwesterners, letting the rest of the country know that no matter what you think of "Flyover Country," we're not going to let our guard down.  We're not going to stand by as corporate interests and lobbyists want to take away our basic rights and our abilities to fight for them.  We're not going to sit idly by as the far-right attempts, once again, to regress the entire country into a place where individuals have to fight tooth and nail just to get by, while watching our wealthier, business-owning neighbors pollute the land we love and work for, take away our basic rights to fight for our own interests, and oppress everyone in the name of the almighty dollar, while responding to complaints with tired calls to simply pull up one's bootstraps.  We're waking up, and realizing that the popular saying is true: that you can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you can't afford boots.  

Whether or not you agree with the protesters, MIA legislators, and state workers in Wisconsin, it can't be denied that the protests are a key indicator that citizens all over the world, including here in the USA, are tired of what has amounted to a rather pretend version of the democracy that we hold so dear to ourselves as Americans, that we try to justify foreign wars with, that we claim to want to "spread" all over the world.  "Democracy" was, and still is, anover-used and nearly meaningless term used to remind us placate us with the false assurance that, here in America, we are morally superior to other countries in that we give our citizens the power to control our nation.  Well, we've woken up.  While our collective oppression cannot be compared completely with that of the countries in the Middle East who are fighting for their basic rights, we exist on the same spectrum of humans who are fed up with the few at the top making billions on the backs of the rest of us, denying us basic rights, having our humanity up for vote every couple years.  We're starting to really understand that we are, in fact, voiceless, and that if we want to get anything done, we need to rely on ourselves to show those in power how important it is, and that we will not take it anymore.  I agree with Warren, who sums up our current political climate thusly:
I've found I'm less about the institutions, the positions and the protocol of our system and more about the individual needs of the people that are supposed to be served by them.  Too often today our needs as a people are being supplanted by the demands of corporations, the lobbyists that serve them, the politicians that beg for their support in order to run campaigns, then the often lack-luster results that come from most all of our political leaders platforms being compromised by the influence of dollars.  
Anyone who is interested in change, anyone who is interested in restoring democracy, anyone who is fed up with continually being lied to by all parties involved, needs to use this opportunity, this giant wave of inspiration, this completely basic utilization of our First Amendment rights, and speak out.  We want TRUTH, and we want our voices heard, finally.  We need our basic rights respected.  And we should not settle for less.  Let's ride the wave of this momentum and really make the change we're continually saying we want.  Stand up and yell!  Sometimes, you just have to be loud.  And the other side has been louder than us for far too long.

Yell!  Like this guy:

People need to hear it, and know that we will no longer be the half of this two-party bullshit system that is too apathetic to get loud. Vote, yell, protest, and make your opinion heard!  Let the otherwise-quiet Midwest be your guide.