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Agitate, America!: How good can it get?
By Nancy Churchill
A Progressive Visionary
Note: The following is part two of two parts, written originally on Nov. 26, 2010. Part one appeared in the Feb. 27-March 5, 2013, issue.
President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address Jan. 20, 1961: “The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.”
Kennedy stood up to “The Unspeakable,” and it cost him his life. If we learn to live by a different measure, according to Kennedy’s new human possibility of peace, we can neutralize “The Unspeakable.” Each one of us can start today, with ourselves.
We can question what we think we need before we shop. Read ingredient labels, and ask, “What are these chemicals doing in my shampoo (or so-called ‘water’)? What will they do to my hair (or body); to the runoff from my drain? What is their lifespan, their effect on aquatic life 25 years from now? Is there a better shampoo (water) choice I could make?”
We can move our money from multinational banks to local ones. We can move investments from the Great Unspeakable Industrial Complex to funds that invest in sustainable living. We can work toward sustaining life, rather than merely growing profit.
We can shop for organics and local seasonal specialty items; research the best water filters; bring homemade lunch to work and forego fast food; question the toxicity of fragrances; safely dispose of trickle-charge appliances (Note: There is no “away”); shop local; start a co-op business using local organic suppliers; become a local organic supplier; run for office; and/or improve our community.
We can question whether we might be happier as a farmer, or a “green” chemist, or whether we could actually make life worth living without pursuing money. In other words, stop trying to make a “killing” and start making a “living.” We can turn off those who demonize their opponents, and listen only to those who humanize others (as Kennedy did with Kruschev).
The Great Unspeakable is predatory, non-human (the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision notwithstanding), though it has human enablers. Its only subsistence is cash, and it requires lots of it. Not satisfied with some, or even most of the income on the planet, it must have it all.
It loses when water must be kept pure, if species are protected, if the air must remain clean. It loses more if we are healthy than if we are sick, when we are self-reliant than if we become permanently dependent. Its enablers attack social programs, regulations and all talk of restraint. It thrives on destruction, and loses no sleep if we annihilate each other because we would rather posture politically like teen-age bullies than get along.
Peace will be realized when the democratic imperative reaches critical mass. Groups like PDA Northern Illinois, MoveOn.org, Occupy Rockford and hundreds more like them form a flourishing nonviolent protest movement that can neutralize “The Unspeakable.”
To paraphrase Kennedy, this will not be finished in 100 days, in 1,000 days, nor even perhaps in our lifetimes. But it will take each of us. Let us begin.
Nancy Churchill was raised in the D.R.C. (Congo), raced stock cars on short dirt tracks for 25 years, and is a proud, lifelong member of “We, the People.” She lives in Oregon, Ill.
From the March 13-19, 2013, issue