Sunday, July 25, 2004

Small & Large

I have despair.

Sounds like I translated that but I just like the way it sounds. Because I have it. Hold it. It's an undercurrent these days. Politics, personal, friends, world, city.

So I just watched Whalerider.

Small community going to pot and one person makes a difference, bands them together and helps them to improve themselves. Beautifully done, gorgeous young woman, wonderful place, moving story.

But, not meaning to date myself, we are the world now. My boss talks about it, all the politicians do, all the environmentalists. We live it every day. Take your bank card to Europe and pull $100 out of your US checking account in under 3 minutes. Send off a note to your friend in Australia. By e-mail. And have it arrive moments later. Make a phone call. Watch TV.

We are billions of people. And we do have the ability to affect all of those other people. For the most part the only ways I can think of are violent and bad. Weapons, bombs, electing crap officials. With the right weapon one single person can affect the lives of millions of others relatively easily.

But how do we affect each other well? One person can't seem to stop even one of those weapons or change any minds. That's not true. I'm sure that one person can change some minds but not enough to make an appreciable difference. Not enough to change the course that we seem to be on. We still operate under a war time mentality, an imperitive, if you will, because those are the people with power.

The Power of Peace.

Never heard of it?

Me either. Because we haven't located it yet.

I know that I'm not alone in struggling with the question of how I can make enough of a difference to rest my heart. But I am one of those legion. My dream job isn't in politics or activism or even teaching any more; how can I help? I used to think that reaching one person at a time was enough. And, for my art, I guess it is. I'd rather reach more than one at a time but if I get one per performance that seems like enough to me. Enough reason to move forward and try to reach more people next time at least. But what if, in terms of peace and justice and cooperative globalization I reach just one kid - Rosa - or 3 kids - Rosa and Brendan and Kaleigh - is that enough? Because clearly not everyone, and I feel not enough people, are working in that direction. And even the people that are, aren't always reaching even as many people as I am.

I am paralyzed by my lack of confidence that November's election will elect anyone but Bush. I have little money. I can't fund a huge push for voter registration. I don't have an enormous amount of faith in the main opponent to our President. And I rarely, if ever, argue with ANYONE about something I'm not completely sure about. I suppose on that level I could argue that I'm fully certain that Bush should NOT be president. It's such an emotional issue, though, for me and for so many others on both sides. I don't think arguing will help. But perhaps it will.

I want to strip naked and paint myself blue and run screaming through Madison Square Garden during the Republican National Convention. I want to do something that will actually change the minds of more people. Many people. My complete lack of understanding as to why anyone could think that this lying, cheating, violent disaster of a president is our best hope makes it much harder for me to argue against them. It's better to see both sides.

It's a big issue. Every issue is a big issue now. Plastic bags. Fossil fuels. Education. Religion. Too big for one small person to shoulder?

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