My father used to justify his aversion to politics by saying that all leaders were corrupt, that no matter who won the election the poor people of the world would ultimately lose because politicians would always be in the pocket of the wealthy. He thought that big corporations were the secret hand that really pulled the strings behind the governments of the world.
In the early 1980’s, I went to Nicaragua to work with the people there and to learn about the changes that had taken place in that country after their revolution. Living there for a short time, I saw firsthand what my own government was doing to these impoverished people in the name of “defending our nation” against the threat of creeping communism. It really opened my eyes to the way our media and our government worked hand in hand to spoon feed the U.S. public the “official story.” I began to feel overwhelmed by the power of the invisible hand that my father had talked about.
I don’t know when it happened to me, but I slowly started to adopt my father’s hopeless and cynical view of politics. I still voted, signed petitions, and played my share of benefits, but for many years I had the feeling that any meaningful change was beyond what I could hope for. I can’t afford to have this attitude anymore. I won’t allow myself to go along with business as usual without kicking and screaming and raising a fuss.
Thomas Paine wrote, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” It has been a long time since I dared to hope that we could change the world. It’s time for involvement. Maybe we can’t change the world overnight, but if enough of us get involved, we can change the direction of this country and that’s a start.