Democratic Underground

Without a Doubt

October 23, 2004
By Bridget Gibson

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. —Arundhati Roy

Life is the most precious gift we are given. Without life, we have no opportunities to love, to learn, to explore, to share, to give, to bring new life into this wondrous world, to begin and be and end all of creation and it is within us all.

Every decision we make has ripples of effects upon everyone and everything that we touch. When we choose to spend money, it makes ripples within or without our communities. Every product we use has to be made or bought or sold somewhere.

I question myself and my decisions all the time. I wonder if I am leaving the world in better shape than I found it. I wonder if I am putting another American citizen out of work and a family without food or housing if I buy something that is not made in this country. I try to find alternative products whenever possible – sometimes it is not possible. There are so many things that we just don’t make and sell here in America anymore.

Things that I cannot find become more numerous every year; shoes, clothes, televisions, radios, toys. Even simple things, like tarps to cover wood from the rain come from someplace else.. What I can find are unemployed American workers. The latest count is eight million.

While we have been distracted by cheap and easy, we have forgotten what it means to be free.

Free. What a bad word this has become. We know better. There is nothing in this world that is free. Everything has a price and a cost. We are being played like cheap fiddles by the nameless faceless machine.

The worst part of this is that we all long to be free. But at the same time, we truly don’t understand what “free” would really feel like. Would it be “free” to never worry about how much money was in our accounts? Would it be “free” to never have to work for someone else? Would it be “free” to roam without worry of borders or boundaries? Because we have come to associate “free” with cheap, our freedoms are only a shiny bauble to be given away for some phantom baseless “security” coded in yellow, orange and red. To watch our liberties being willingly traded away for shiny baubles makes me angry.

We have been taught that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. What is this bravery? Is it facing our personal demons without turning away? Is it answering to no one? Is it looking death in the face and laughing? Is it donning a uniform and following orders? The definitions are endless, but we try to live up to the word, whoever we are.

Some wield “freedom” like a sword. They tell us that shadowy others hate us for our freedoms, while under guise and guile they begin removing them. Recently, an acquaintance told me that she had no problem trading freedom and rights for security. By turning freedom into a cheap and tawdry bauble, it becomes just something else to throw away. When so many feel that freedom is cheap and easily surrendered, we all become enslaved. Slaves to the rulers, whoever they may be.

Right now we still have an opportunity. We still can choose to understand freedom and bravery. This may be our last chance to cast our votes to claim our freedoms. This is our one voice for one person, piece of paper, or computerized button-pushing moment. If there is not a huge cry for true freedom and not for shiny baubles, then the dominating autocratic unilateral rulership will remove the last vestige of democracy. This is our opportunity to pass democracy to our children and our children’s children.

We, the people, can make certain that our government is not taken over and run in an authoritarian way by zealots and fanatics.

We need a change in Washington. With all our votes, hope is on the way.

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