(CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE)
As ani difranco wrote:
"I know the biggest crime is just to throw up your hands, say 'This has nothing to do with me,' I just want to live as comfortably as I can.' Why don't you give me a call when you're willing to fight for what you think is real, for what you believe is right."
When people say it doesn't affect you, you could list other things that don't directly affect you, like reproductive choice for women, or racial profiling. Say, "Just because I wasn't turned away at the polls or wrongly labeled a felon, that means I shouldn't care? Do you want me to live up to every negative stereotype about selfish upper-middle class white men?" Besides which, the coup did happen to us all; and some people would rather see justice than have a few extra dollars in their pocket. You could say, "I don't need the tax refund, but I do need the world to still be livable when my children/ nephews/ nieces/ grandchildren/ whatevers are my age. I need America to live up to its promise to be a democracy, its commitments to all its people, before I need lower taxes. And if we leave our heirs fortunes, but they no longer govern themselves, then it is a hollow bequest."
When it comes to a life of activism and making a difference, I found recently inspiration from a C-Span program featuring Nobel laureates. Jody Williams, quoting Betty Williams, said that we like to feel good about ourselves because we feel bad about injustice, which we think makes us better than those who don't care. She said, "If you don't get up off your seat and do something, you're no better than the person who feels nothing." I often wonder whether I am being useful at all, since my snail mail letters and protest actions are few, since I don't always know what to do, or do what I know I should. But I think even small things help.
Telling my family about the coup and the ongoing Bush policy outrages is action. Writing rants for coup2k.com or democraticunderground.com is action. We don't all have to be Divas to make a difference; what you do, little or much, is enough, as long as you do something, as long as you try to reach people.
In the Clash song "Know Your Rights," the singer says, "You have the right not to be killed. Murder is a crime. Unless it is done by a policeman...Or an aristocrat. Know your rights." The coup was a prime example of America's criminal overclass, ever bolder, taking steps to make the will of the ordinary citizen obsolete. G.W. Bush is himself proof that rules don't apply to you if your daddy was president and head of the CIA, if your family has lots of rich friends and no conscience. "You have the right to free speech. As long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it." These words have a chilling relevance today. What you can say on TV is restricted by the rich and powerful, as evidenced by the press's refusal to book Vincent Bugliosi as a guest as part of his book tour for The Betrayal of America, as evidenced by their biased election coverage. In corporate America which includes the media, money is the only value, and profit the only ethic. We have the right to vote, but scorn and Gestapo tactics face those who would try to get their votes counted. I care about the coup because it is evidence of the frightening state of affairs in America today.
In the end, what to say to people who don't "get it" depends on a lot of factors: your style, their attitude, what they ask, what your own personal reasons for caring are. I admit that I don't always know what to say, and I can be silenced by some people's Power of Profound Stupidity +1. (Augh, 27 hit points, Beth is down. Can you tell my friends are geeks?) But I think picking one topic instead of trying to cover all of them can help. Or you can place the coup in personal terms, even if you don't care just for yourself. When I first heard about the black voters expunged from rolls, the people turned away, the older punchcard machines in poor and black neighborhoods, I said, "This is not why my mother went to Alabama. This is the year 2000 in America, this should not be happening."
I'm no expert, but I hope my rambling helps, at least to let you know you're not alone.
YESTERDAY: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS II
YESTERDAY: A Personal Message from The Diva