Ready for the Revolution?
My first experience with Occupy Wall Street, the current and only hope of a revolution in the U.S., was seeing a chalked message on the asphalt of the bike path I often walk on. I can’t remember the exact wording of it, but in neat, jut-the-right-size letters it invited the reader, as one of the 99%, to go to the website. I did, and discovered that the movement, which didn’t seem to have gained much traction at that point, had been started by the Canadian media literacy group Adbusters. The message only stayed on the walkway for a few days before someone completely washed it off.
A few days later, I saw a big newspaper ad, in red, white, and black, asking, “Ready for the revolution in…?” whatever they were advertising. I cut out the “Ready for the Revolution” part and pinned it to my bulletin board. But a few days ago the thought came to me, “Am I really? What if the revolution turns out to be just as awful in its own way – or worse than – the current situation? After all, despite my beliefs, I’m pretty comfortable here.” I tossed that around for a day or two, and finally realized that, whatever happens in the future – revolution, no revolution, or other things entirely – my best bet will be to try to respond as I’m trying to respond now – according to my best values: with as much love, compassion, non-violence, and non-judgment as possible, while standing up for what I believe is right – inclusiveness, equality, dignity, and direct democracy – with as much courage as I can muster.
I also realize that the best way to affect the outcome, however minutely, is to put in my two cents/my oar/my granito de arena. The last phrase (“grain of sand” in Spanish) comes from the film “Granito,” which I was fortunate enough to see last night at the Good Works Film Festival here in Eugene. It’s a Mayan peasant expression brought to the world by Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchu, a friend of the filmmaker, Pamela Yates. The solution to problems is collective – we all need to put in our grains of sand. Which doesn’t mean we, as individuals, will necessarily approve of the short-term outcome (and all outcomes in our lifetimes are short-term). It’s just the best we can do.