Democracy, Cowardice and Commodification

Welcome to the wonderful free world, my friends. We can all count ourselves lucky to be among the chosen few. We’re rich, fat, and happy. We have more control over our destinies, both individual and collective, than at any other time in human history. Let’s check cynicism at the door for the moment and remember that we live in a state that is law-bound to act according to our wishes, and in a global climate where that type of state is seen as the be-all and end-all of human development.

So what’s wrong? Why has politics become an empty shell? Why do we in the West sit and watch millions suffer around us? Because we’re cowards…The politicians that rule us and the people that vote for them, those who love the status quo, those who hate it but accept it, those who nod their heads in agreement when a party leader steps up to the pulpit. We feel powerless, unrepresented, repressed –and we should. But whose fault is it but our own that pragmatism has become radical, that politicians have learned to promise the moon and deliver the dirt? Elections have become auctions, with each candidate trying to out-promise the next. To talk about sacrifices and tradeoffs is seen as political suicide –and right now, perhaps it is. Party politics has become nothing but an insult to our intelligence; selling us prepackaged baskets of policies and monopolies on truth. Yet we in our world-weary youthful cynicism accept this as the nature of politics. We understand the game, you see, we see through it. What we often don’t realize is that by accepting this emptiness, we create it. If we don’t believe that something better can emerge, it won’t.

Whenever we yell “Fuck the system”, we let the system fuck us. It’s easy to run from responsibility in this. Perhaps it’s all a vast corporate conspiracy. Perhaps it’s America’s dreams of hegemony?

Perhaps it’s “globalization” that keeps the world in slavery? Bullshit. Yes, corporations do nasty things. So does America, and in some ways, so does globalization. But none of these are alien, external forces; corporations, nations, all are made up of people just like you or me. To demonize them is theeasy way out, and we must have none of it. Evil or not, America won’t stop you from spending $100 to save 20 lives in Africa. Evil or not, corporations can’t stop you from buying responsibly. The power remains solidly in our hands. Those on the right must abandon the idea that nothing needs to be done. Those on the left must stop the conspiracy theory.

We can save the world; we have the money and the knowledge to end human suffering. We can make the system work for us.

It’s time to step up.