Millions world-wide have seen Davis Guggenheim and Al Gore's Academy Award nominated documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. A jarring portrayal of our planet in peril. The film is monumentally important. Yet as much as I've considered the content of the film, I've considered its title even more. An Inconvenient Truth. No flowing alliteration. No catchy phrase. Just the fact. An Inconvenient Truth. It's brilliant.
In this world, more specifically in this nation, where convenience is highly prized, inconvenience is the enemy. It's a sign of failure. The cornerstone of this capitalist society is the acquisition of enough wealth and power to hand all inconvenience over to someone else. The gardener. The housekeeper. The nanny. Perhaps the driver. Mabye the chef.
After decades of creature comforts, heated/air-conditioned homes, luxury cars, comfy couches, big screen TVs, filled to capacity refrigerators, and home delivered food.
After lifetimes of basic freedoms, ordained law and order, secured and protected futures, abundant entertainment, free primary and secondary education, vacation resorts and retirement oases.
After generations of overindulged children whose only inconvenience was homework and cleaning their room, Americans have become passive observers. Unmotivated, inconsequential citizens suffering severely for not being involved. Endless war, world disdain, an ever growing military industrial complex, and increasingly diminished personal rights are just a semblance of the price they have paid.
Other than the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, Americans have never fought for their nation, as a nation, on their own soil. There have been social justice battles. But they've been segments of the population. Fractions of the population. Union Organizing. The Women's Movement. The Civil Rights Movement. The Anti-War Movement during Vietnam. Each was powerful, purposeful, valiant and vocal. Each launched a public challenge that couldn't be ignored. But today, regardless of how much peril this nation is in, the majority of Americans subsist on convenience, passivity and complacency. They may be angry. But not angry enough to take back their nation. Not angry enough to take to the streets.
Love of convenience has taken its toll. Activism and patriotism take a back seat to comfy couches and dumbed-down TV. But the time has come to get involved!!
According to all major polls, most Americans oppose the War on Iraq. 51% of the population of 300 million Americans, the lowest possible majority, equals over 150 million people. If 10% of 150 million people took to the streets on January 27th, the date of the last major anti-war protest, there would have been 15 million people on the streets. But they didn't come out. They remained home, shirking their responsibilities just to avoid inconvenience. They left the media less reason to cover us, and the world more reason to hate us. As well it should. By virtue of our inaction we support George W. Bush.
I've read several accounts of the January 27th march in Washington, DC. Many say the march was peaceful and much too civil to make a difference. I agree the march was civil. I witnessed it. I was there.
But for those who complain that those present were too civil, why not direct your disdain toward those who weren't there? Fifteen million activists across the nation would have made a difference. Five million in Washington, DC would have made an incredible difference. When one's nation and world are in peril, there's no excuse for staying home.
I urge all who want peace to get active. Convenience is not patriotic. Inconvenience can end the war.
For those who want to get involved. For those who believe their nation and world are worth a bit of inconvenience, please join us in the creative non-violence Occupation Project taking place across the nation.
The Occupation Project encourages ongoing visits, sit-ins and non-violent acts of civil disobedience in the offices of elected officials to put pressure on them to end the war. This past week I joined a group of dedicated Americans to visit the offices of two California Congressmen, Democrat Adam Schiff and Republican David Dreier, to express our desire to end the war. I can assure you the visits were well worth our while.
To learn more about the Occupation Project, and how you can get involved, please go to http://codepinkalert.org/