We Should Care Like They Do, Colltalers
The age-old argument about what’s more important to drive political change, whether a gifted, revolutionary leader, or a willing, relentless crowd seeking change, rages on now as it’s been for centuries.
It also remains utterly meaningless, when unrest does lead to change, and long standing authoritarian regimes fall, regardless of how many may attempt to stake a claim on the ownership of events.
Faceless crowds, by the way, however dangerous and unpredictable they may be, are usually more generous when it comes to claim credit, and tend to recede to the background, once those willing to lead the new status quo prove themselves up to the task.
That’s not quite yet the case with the remnants of the Arab Spring, or the North of Africa turmoil, to be sure. Still, whether the political process does move forward at its usual alternate quicksand-slash-glacial way, there something these movements all share: the lack of recognizable leaders.
It’s been almost two years now when that particular halting cycle of protest, and blood, and small change, and big ideals, and failed aspirations, and all that we’ve been witnessing, has started and no single personality has dominated the charge.
Something similar had happened to the Occupy Wall Street movement, which despite its powerful message and, at times, valiant single-stand on seeking justice and punishment for Wall Street’s corrupted chiefs, got surprisingly undermined up to a certain extent, for not producing a story of an avenging hero inflaming the masses.
We’re not completely above such populist view of the role and need for a leader, by the way. It’s suffice to invoke two disgraceful political assassinations, that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and of Yitzhak Rabin, to name but two, to give substance to that.
Dr. King’s murder did in fact curtail the civil rights movement, despite all achievements that followed it, when it’s clear that the racial issue still remains raw and unresolved in this country.
And when Rabin, a war general who’d a change of heart and began supporting the Palestinian’s cause for land and statehood, fell to a Zionist fanatic’s bullet, a whole generation did get robbed of its best chance to see permanent peace for them and Israelis.
Nevertheless, it was a shopkeeper whose actions prompted the events in Tunisia, that set the Arab Spring in motion. It was anonymous crowds who deposed Libya’s Qaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak, not a political leader. And it was a teenager who’s credited with having started the challenge to Syria’s al-Assad regime, with a simple graffiti.
Even America’s Founding Fathers, as visionary leaders as they were, wouldn’t have been able to bring about the Independence Movement, if there wasn’t a large demographics, of very much underprivileged classes, supporting the revolution.
Perhaps what they had at heart, as one can still see alive throughout the Arab world, is the passion, the fire in the belly for justice and change and the desire of owning their destine. Exactly what we desperately need in the good old U.S. of A.
Not that we don’t also need a new generation of leaders in Washington, with a new commitment to represent those who vote for them, and show spine against those who can afford buying them.
But we also need a new American, a new brand of citizenry to whom equality, and respect to minorities, and the right of self expression, and dissent, are more important than whether Jay-Zee will buy Beyoncé another diamond ring.
There’s a great deal of frustration and disappointment that so much of our public debate is dominated by an individual sense of entitlement, of what can be rigged in favor of a shameful minority of ultra-wealthy, who’s de-facto ruling our society.
There’s no way around it; there needs to be a new social contract in America that restores the idea that, yes, you can be whoever you want to, for as long as you’re not hurting your fellow comrade, but only after there’s a equal playing field for everybody.
At this point, for as much as it’d be great if a new class of politicians would rise up, with fierce idealism and unshakable moral compasses, we’re more likely to stake our aspirations on an mass movement without particular marketable names to usher this nation to its better future.
For as much as the romantic ideal of the selfless hero still dominates our imagery for a revolutionary movement, we may need to take another page from our history, in order to shake us all from this widespread political funk, this generalized apathy.
We need to stop being consumers and start becoming promoters of a new day in America. We must stop measure our freedom by the amount of guns we’re allow to carry, and begin having a full grasp of what civil rights are being undermined by our omission.
Words, words, words, we know. But we’re not about to stop hearing them, whether inspired or devoid of any meaning, anyway. So we might as well demand them to tell our story for a change, of a country who finally stood for the need to care about all its citizens.
Throughout this land, there are millions who lack that voice, who’ve all but being forgotten in the roaring of the latest award show. We need to be an all inclusive nation, once again. Have a great one. WC