We so often hear these days how much people hate the government. I get it. There is a lot wrong with our country and most of it seems to involve the government – policies, bureaucracies, politicians that no longer serve the whole but only serve the powerful with their short term interests. Right, Left, poor, not so poor, black, white, young, old – we all feel fucked one way or another.
But I am really, really sick and tired of all the mud slinging and gridlock and especially feeling like a victim about all of this. I think a lot about how there are special interests just to big or just too powerful to tackle, and that as an average citizen I am powerless. It feels hopeless. Some people who feel this way even suppose that these special interests are a small number of white, very rich men who have devised all this so that they can rule the world. I do not. That just seems a little too James Bondish for me. (Recently it occurred to me that conspiracy theories are just convenient rationales that perpetuate one’s political victim story – “I don’t have to do anything or take responsibility because the system is set up by a secret cabal that squash every solution that could make the world a better place for all”).
I have bought into this rationale myself for years. I was raised on this rationale. I know that in part, it is true (okay, probably not the part about a group of 10 guys meeting in a secret location to decide how to rule the world this week, but the part about the system being tipped in favor of those who get to make the big decisions).
So, what to do.
Well, I know that when their is a dysfunctional situation, and I am a part of it, then I must look at my part in it.
Therefore, I must ask myself – who do I think this “government” is? In my understanding the government consists of Americans. Americans working in an American institution created by Americans. Which then leads me to conclude we can’t blame this shit on no one else. (Even if there are only ten men in a room ruling the world – I am guessing that at least seven of them are still Americans.)
We AMERICANS raised, educated, and shaped the people who make up this thing we call “the government.” We Americans have some shit to figure out. And me as an American contributed to this in some way.
So, if we don’t like this American government, then just maybe it is time to look at ourselves. Maybe we should be looking into our own hearts and minds as individuals and be asking – how did I contribute to this reality? what have I done to allow things we don’t like to carry on, what am I ignoring in my own actions that perpetuates a system that does not serve us?
These are not easy questions. It is never easy to take a straight look at how we are contributing to a dysfunctional situation. But the reality I am glimpsing these days is that even if I don’t feel powerful, I am a citizen, I am a being on this earth, I am here, and in some way my perspective, my consciousness, and my actions are either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Trust me, I would much rather spend time reading some esoteric philosophy, watching Glee on my Tivo, and eating my Double Chocolate Milanos than having to ask myself what can I do to be a part of the solution. But, it feels like it is getting precarious out there.
And now that I’m doing this 100 Fears in 100 Days, I cannot ignore the fact that looking at my part in all of this scares the shit out of me.
And besides, I like this place we call America.