There are a lot of people around these days (some of whom may think of themselves as terribly “spiritual”) who are quick to express the view that “opposing” things has the opposite outcome to that we desire. “What we resist, persists,” they say. And I get what they're saying...
There is no question whatsoever in my mind that I am opposed to the company in Pembroke that spews tritium onto the local populace (& into local air & groundwater, in what I have come to think of as the GRAND TRITIUM EXPERIMENT or GTE), & I’ve worked hard to try & get it shut down (we failed, btw, & the company has just been given a new, 5-year licence by its nuclear “regulator,” the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, or CNSC. You can find more information about all this at the Tritium Awareness Project Web site, a site & project dedicated to "telling the truth about tritium").
For the record, I am not sorry I put in all those hours I put in. No regrets whatsoever about my role in this modern day David & Goliath struggle.
What’s occurring to me is this:
I see all the work I do – the writing – the efforts aimed at polluters of any & all kinds – the participation in “protests” – as a celebration!
I love to celebrate what is best in human beings & in this kooky mess of a society/culture we’ve created for ourselves here on Planet Earth.
I celebrate our
- big generous hearts
- capacity for fun/joy
& the list goes on!
& I celebrate the possibility & promise of democracy & cooperation among those of us who work to build a better world – & even those of us who don’t, either because they are too lazy, apathetic, cynical, miserable, oblivious or fearful – or because they are really all caught up in the “S/he who dies with the most toys/power wins” game…
Because you know what?
We’re all in this together, whether we like it (& each other) or not.
As someone pointed out at the Citizens’ Inquiry on the Impacts of the Uranium Cycle held in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) on Earth Day (April 22nd), 2008, we need a “big tent” story that is big enough for ALL of us – & you know what? He’s right.
So I’ll keep right on with the work I’ve been doing for 20 years now – working to build a “better” world. Sometimes that may take the form of opposing something nasty – & sometimes I’ll mostly use my words – & I’ll keep right on going to “protests,” because protests are joyful gatherings of like-minded, energetic citizens who care – & who, like me, celebrate what is best in all of us – as individuals, & as a society. & who like to get together once in a while in a big, noisy way – cos’ hey! That’s what democracy looks like!
& if that somehow makes me less “spiritual” than some of the folks I know, well…so be it!
We all gotta do what we gotta do!
p.s. I don’t know whether folks consider the Dalai Lama “spiritual” (heh heh), but I heard him quoted in an Elisabet Sahtouris DVD as having said, “The best meditation is critical thinking – followed by action.” (The film is called "Crisis As Opportunity: Living Better on a Hotter Planet.")
p.p.s. I am often reminded of Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1964), a Nazi victim who was imprisoned at the Sachsenhausen & Dachau prison/death camps in Germany, & who said so memorably, “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”
More recently, in the March 2010 issue of the CCPA Monitor, monthly newsletter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives– a most excellent group & publication – I saw an updated version of this:
The Price of Silence
When they came for the poverty-stricken,
I was silent because I was well-off.
When they came for the unemployed,
I was silent because I had a job.
When they came for the homeless,
I was silent because I had a home.
When they came for the pensioners,
I was silent because I had a good RRSP.
When they came for the Aboriginal peoples,
I was silent because I was Anglo-Saxon.
When they came for the immigrants,
I was silent because I was born here.
When they came for the sick and disabled,
I was silent because I was healthy.
When they came for the students,
I was silent because I had my degree.
When they came for the youth,
I was silent because I was middle-aged.
When at last they came for me,
No one was left to hear my cries.
(with credit to the afore-mentioned Paster Niemöller for his inspiration.)
p.s. EONS later: another posting about protesting here -- with essential quotations!!
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.” ~ Michael Lerner, quoted in The Great Turning – From Empire to Earth Community, by David Korten