You remember the Chinese proverb: May you live in interesting times.
No doubt we get the most interesting times yet. As the world and climate changes (snow in Oakland predicted for this Saturday…) in front of us, faster than many of us can believe or react to, we are compelled to completely reexamine our values.
If you’re anything like me, the values that you lift up and hold most dear are equality, freedom, compassion, and sustainable living. The problem with the world is that we live in a system that has massive inequality, not much real freedom, is morally and financially bankrupt, and completely unsustainable.
I’m the first to admit that a better world practically seems like an impossibility at this point. But I’d rather call it an improbability and move into the future with hope.
And I was met with some hope the other day. I’ve been getting the word out on the streets of San Francisco now for almost two months in preparation for the March 15th non-violent revolt. The other day when I approached a couple of bums, they met my handshake with the words “Did you hear about this non-violent revolt against the rich?”
Music to my ears.
But for every little moment of hope that I receive, I’m also met with a complete maze of red-tape. There are certainly days when I feel like I’ve bit off more than I can chew. But I’m on this journey for the long haul until some meaningful change happens in this world.
My email inbox had a message from MoveOn.org the other day telling me that my congresswoman, Barbara Lee D-CA, was holding a “speakout” in support of the movements taking place in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio. The theme of the speakout was going to be Invest In America.
I really wish we could drop these financial metaphors from our language.
So today I went to the federal building to exercise my speaking voice. When I arrived, I had to stand in the security line. But the security officers knew nothing about the speakout. I was under the impression that there would be a microphone and an ADA accessible area to speak in. I also assumed that congresswoman Lee would be hosting the event.
None of that happened though.
Instead the security guards told the eight of us that showed up (I was by far the youngest of the meager crowd) that if we wanted to protest we would need to move off of the federal property. Those were apparently the rules established by the owners of the building (GSA).
Now, when you stop and consider that I don’t believe in ownership or property, you hopefully see how much of a headache dealing with the bureaucratic red-tape is. It’s essentially a complete waste of my time.
But I persevered and asked the security officers if I could speak to the GSA people on the 2nd floor instead. They said that that was acceptable. When I got past the security check point I took the elevator directly to the 10th floor with the hope that I might be able to speak briefly with Ms. Lee.
Instead I got to speak briefly with two of her staff. And I had to speak to them through a glass window. How paranoid are these people anyway?
The staff members were nice enough and I got a card to schedule an appointment with Ms. Lee. Hopefully she’s away from Washington some time soon.