Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Forty-Nine: The Draining of the American fighting spirit

As we speak, there is another “revolution” going on in Egypt. In the wake of the Egyptian people’s successful overthrow of former president/dictator Hosni Mubarak of 2011, a new leader was elected by the people of Egypt. His name is Mohamed Morsi, and for the last two years, he was given the leadership position to help build Egypt back. However, the majority of the people decided that he wasn’t performing up to the standards and promises that was made to the people, and so, the people decided to once again take matters into their own hands. On July 3rd – one day before our OWN Independence Day – he too would suffer the same fate of Mubarak’s tenure, and was declared no longer president of Egypt, with backing from Egypt’s own military.

I see these things, and I can’t help but wonder: where did this spirit of civil unrest go from American society?

In today’s America, we have been faced with crooked politics and power-hungry politicians, an absolutely broken education system, a neglected and disenfranchised middle class/poor population, and severe distrust of the collective whole of the law enforcement conglomerate. so, why haven’t we as a people taken…well, any action? Seriously, any AT ALL??

Where exactly DID our fighting spirit go? We have been fighting injustice as a people since America’s beginning from the American Revolution. From the Women’s Rights Movement going back to the late 19th century, to the Labor Movement of the 1930s to improve the quality of working conditions, to the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s and 60s, when black people marched and protested all over the South to fight for the end of segregation and the death of Jim Crow. The late 60s – early 70s brought forth a peace movement of “Free Love and Flower Power” for a new generation to stop war. Even protests that turned violent like the L.A. Riots of both 1965 in Watts and the fallback of the Rodney King ordeal of 1992 in South Central had their statements made that the people weren’t going to stand idly by and be taken advantage of by people of higher stature and power.

So, what happened? How did we as a nation become so placated to accepting what used to be considered unacceptable to the people who make this country the “greatest nation on Earth?” I have my guesses as to why we’ve succumbed to these conditions:

1) As a people, we are the most individualized country on the planet. One of the main drawbacks from being free to pursue your own version of happiness is the effect that barely anyone shares anyone else’s pain. We read, watch, and record everyday bad things happening to people, and we’ve become desensitized to anyone else’s plight that doesn’t directly effects our lives or our families. As a result, there hasn’t been any TRUE unity – and by TRUE, I mean unity totally absent of race, color, or beliefs – amongst the people as a whole and we’ve become severely divided. Because of this, the “powers that be” can control everyone.

2) Today’s media has played a driving role in controlling people’s emotions. The media used to be nothing more but an outlet of distributing information and sources; now they’ve become the source of information people have turned to, and have been presented in ways that are specifically designed to sway people’s views and thoughts. It’s now to the point where the perception is that the American people can no longer think for themselves but rely on the media to do their thinking for them, which has led to the media creating the stories more than just reporting on them.

3) We’ve become a “instantaneous” quick-fix society, with the belief that any problems we want solved, or goals that we want to reached MUST be achieved overnight. We’ve seemingly forgotten that anything worth attaining will require the most precious commodity we can give: TIME. One-day protests or social media fad trends that usually dissolve from our attention spans after about a week don’t change anything; they just make for a “fashionable” footnote in that year’s history when we review them on our “Top 10″ lists of the most eye-catching events on TV network and magazine reviews. Such was the case of the infamous “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the Arizona Latino Immigration protest, or the various “Million ______ Marches” in recent years. Instead of capitalizing on the momentum these actions of civil unrest created, they simply were allow to fade away, to the point where it became no longer a serious issue to the rest of the country.

4) I believe the biggest reason our unwillingness to fight back is simply this: the people are SCARED. Scared of losing anything that matters to them. Scared of retailiation from our jobs, the law, or the government and a whole. Scared to sacrifice everything to change anything. I’m not saying this to insult anyone, but this is the honest truth. When the powers that be KNOW the people are scared to speak up or fight back in masses, they know they can essentially do whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want to do it. They know no one’s really going to rise and stop them, so why pretend to care about those people?

So, here’s the kicker: how can the American people regain that spirit? CAN that be regained?

We’ve seen outrageous events in the new century that have gone virtually unchallenged by the American citizens: the Hurricane Katrina diaster, the Iraqi Invasion, the Stop & Frisk policy in New York City, hundreds of schools closing in BOTH Chicago and Philadelphia, countless massacres of children due to gun regulations, wrongful arrests and shootings by police (Amadou Diallo comes to mind) being taxed more than ever before, and most notably, the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman ordeal. I wonder if the people as a whole will continue to just take whatever’s given to us and try to hope for the best instead of us standing up for our rights.

On a trip last year to Montreal, I saw something amazing happening in the streets. The college-going populus were going on their 40th day of marching in the streets to protest the rising costs of tuition for their college expenses. They’d had enough of the gov’t gouging them in their pockets to get a decent higher education, and for more than one month straight, they took to the streets to have their say. When I asked how much tuiton had gone up to spark this protest, I was blown away by their answer: 300$….a YEAR. No lie. Marching through the streets for 40 nights to stop a price increase of about $285 American for a entire year’s worth of school because the people felt the government had gone TOO far. And they were THAT serious about it.

Think about that.

I leave you all with a very famous quote: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for ANYTHING.” Truer words have never been spoken in our country today.

7/9/13

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