Change does not happen at the ballot box or at a protest or with petitions. Change can only happen if we first work on allowing ourselves and others to be imperfect and allow ourselves to need others. Without vulnerability and self-compassion, we cannot expect fundamental change to happen. Waiting on the powerful or even the masses to do the right thing instead of you is like expecting the scorpion not to sting the turtle. (Cultural appropriation alert: In the original Persian story it was a turtle, not a frog.)
Politicians will never do more than throw us a few crumbs. They know they have the power and they know that there is little chance that they will face any consequences for ignoring protests or paying the lip service with no follow-through. In the US, there are, however, significant consequences for ignoring Department of Defense contractors (who use the huge portion of the budget and all of the corporate welfare they receive to back up threats of funding an opponent or of moving jobs out of a politician's state/district) and evangelical Christians (who represent the US’s largest voting bloc because they make up 25% of eligible voters whose voice is amplified by the electoral college and through the many forms of voter suppression that limit the voices of other, usually marginalised, groups).
Energy used to try and sway government is wasted because the protest itself only serves to validate their power. Protests themselves have value because they help start much-needed conversations but if we want lasting change then we must channel the energy we waste trying to get through to the ruling class into building stronger communities and alternatives to the oppressive system government administers on behalf of the (narcissistic) billionaire class. No real change will come from lobbying lawmakers who have a lot to lose if they ignore their major donors and their parties' major donors which is a fancy word for "people who buy influence and get a tax write-off in the process"
Whilst it’s easy to blame the government and expect it to fix all of society's problems instead of that’s just not how governments work. They exist to enforce private property and funnel profits to the rich whilst passing the costs of public goods and services onto the lowly payroll tax-paying workers who get told that there is no money for the facilites, infrastructure and services they need despite the fact that there always seems to be money to fund endless wars. And who do those endless wars benefit? The DoD contractors whose businesses would fold without endless conflict.
Real, lasting change can only happen if we change the way we treat ourselves and support one another. And it starts with taking back our power and believing in the ability of the small actions that are immediately available to us to make a difference. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that one individual’s small actions can have a massive impact. Not only can one person not wearing a mask or respecting physical distancing and hand-washing start a huge chain reaction but it has also shown us how small actions that seem insignificant to us can make a world of difference to the person receiving the help. And what I have observed in my 11 years running HugTrain supports this. Hugs seem like they are ephemeral and fleeting but they actually. have enormous benefits and are almost a perfect cure for the loneliness pandemic. While I’m not suggesting you go hug anyone you don’t live with a hug anytime soon (I see you people living alone, I’m in that same boat!), I do encourage you to find a small way to help someone. Trust me, it will mean the world to them! If you don't know anyone who needs help search for COVID-19 mutual aid groups in your area! Don't let anyone tell you that your contributions don't matter. Your contributions are the only way to change the world. Time to step into your power and make the world one you want to live in! You've got this!
I would love to hear your stories of the small things other people did for you that made a huge difference in your life and also stories about something that was very easy for you to do made a huge difference to someone’s life! And all of your warm and fuzzy COVID-19 related mutual aid stories!
If you're looking for a way to make a difference, my friends are raising money to help someone avoid eviction right now so if you are in a position to help, don't let anyone tell you that your contribution won't make a difference because it's "not enough". If that was the case, why can a single drop make a vase overflow? ;) Contribute with Venmo in the US or contact me for other options.