I woke up to a different world today. It is a world we all created. By our deeds, our misdeeds, our missteps and for some of us, those literal missed steps. We create our reality moment by moment. Each action with its equal and opposite reaction. The force of our intention sometimes enough to move mountains. And the inertia of our apathy the killer of ideals.
I cannot fully explain the depth of my disillusionment when I heard a jury found Zimmerman "not guilty". I cannot fathom how any reasonable person could for one minute excuse the death of a young man by a grown man who stalked him against the repeated request of authorities with a gun he wasn't supposed to have according the rules of the neighborhood watch he used to fulfill his unfulfilled desire to be a police officer. The desire of this man to play cop forced a young man into his deluded game of cops and robbers. And at the end of the encounter a young man was dead.
To me this speaks of a devastating injustice. And I can't fathom how we ended up here.
Except actually I know exactly how we got here. What I don't know is why. Why did we allow our government and our laws to be underwritten by underhanded groups with ulterior motives? At what point did the GOP become the personal assistant to the Koch Brothers and ALEC? Why are our state legislators rubber-stamping cookie-cutter legislation that infringes on my right to choose while insisting that any infringement of the right to bear arms is grounds for domestic insurrection? Is it really the will of the people? Or is it the want of the few at the expense of the many? And why would a few very rich people want to subvert our government and convert our way of life from the pursuit of happiness to one where we stand our ground and shoot at each other? Who profits?
Because at the end of the day, this really is all about money for some people. How much has money infiltrated and destabilized our system of democracy? Who benefits from stand your ground? Gun manufacturers for sure, but is there something more subtle at work here. A form of intimidation? And who is being intimidated and why? Why are women's rights being trampled on by the same people screaming that we can't even discuss gun regulation because in their mind it is treason? And how is this all connected? Following the money I have to also mention the cuts in education, the increase in private for-profit prisons, and connection between the two. We have to recognize that there are factions fighting to freeze minimum wage while they are deducting their private jet and $500 lunches as "business expenses." We "limit" the Social Security wage base to the first $113,100 of wages, but allow unlimited corporate salary deductions.
Our system has become so skewed we are all screwed if we don't start speaking out. It is time for us to stand our ground, and we can start by insisting our legislators repeal stand your ground legislation. This ALEC-drafted NRA-protected Koch-funded legislation is anti-American, it literally pits one American against another. It calls open season on young man walking home in the rain eating Skittles and wearing a hoodie.
I believe there is a common thread that connects all this bad legislation. The commonality is the way each piece of legislation erodes our way of life. The way it shreds our standard of living. The way it pits us against each other. Teachers are greedy. Police and firefighters are union thugs. Environmentalists are anti-business. Activists are radicals. Organic food is too expensive. Renewable energy is too expensive. Sustainability is a plot to turn the U.S. over to global authority. And on the other side, the never-ending delusional magical thinking that somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, this time, trickle-down economics is going to work. That somehow silly slogans can replace actual policy.
We can't just sit back and expect this is all just going to work itself out. The people who have orchestrated and funded ALEC and who write this legislation and push these policies are not going to just walk away without a fight. They are going to use all their might to stop us. They are going to make it difficult. They are going to make it unpleasant. They will try to convince us we are misguided, that they really have our best interest at the center of their efforts. They are going to make it so hard we will want to give up. They are going to have us arrested if they can, and maybe try to get us fired. They will call us names and they will use their millions and their minions to wage this war against us.
The world they want to create is one we cannot allow. They want us armed, dangerous, hungry, stupid and pregnant. They want us too tired to think and too busy to care. They want us to distrust each other and they want us distracted by nonsense they call news. They want us wrapped up in the latest scandals and sitcoms.
But the truth is, they are terrified of us. They know we possess the one thing all their money can't buy. Our vote. They know we can stop them by simply showing up. By attending meetings. By contacting legislators. By working for candidates and campaigns. This one simple fact, that this country was founded by a group of rabble-rousing community organizers, gives me hope.
We are not radicals. We are not extreme. We are patriots. And it is time for us to remember who we were. Because, those were the days my friends, when we understood that democracy was a gift, and we had to care for it or it would die.
And we have already let too many people die. It is time to stop them. It is time to stand our ground.