One outraged citizen at a time

I’ve been feeling pretty hopeless lately, what with the successes of the right wing in strangling unions, reducing federal programs for people in need, cutting Pell Grants and other programs that help get people through college, sabotaging health reform …

They’re getting away with murder, even though most of the American people don’t want the things the right is doing. Most of us want Medicare left alone; we don’t want to see Social Security privatized, and we certainly don’t want to see Donald Trump as president.

This is a man who lives like a billionaire using other people’s money. He’s been broke for years, but his investors keep pumping money in so they won’t lose everything. He is everything those on the right say they hate about the government, but they seem to love him because he started an “investigation” into President Obama’s birth certificate.

The investigation that really needs to be going on is the one into the judicial election in Wisconsin, where several thousand votes suddenly appeared on the private laptop computer of a GOP operative who has worked for the candidate who will make decisions in favor of Gov. Scott Walker’s immoral cuts to workers rights.

Meanwhile, the government nearly shut down last week as the religious right in the house tried to insert language into the bill that would de-fund Planned Parenthood because they don’t want government money going to any organization that offers abortions, even though not one penny of government funding goes to abortion. Planned Parenthood has to be able to prove that, so where each dollar goes is carefully tracked. Planned Parenthood has never been accused of using government money for anything other than what it was intended for — well, except for people who have no proof of anything to support their false accusations.

Americans want to see the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes, but government doesn’t care and continues to slash health and mental health programs, jobs programs and infrastructure repair (which really does create jobs).

Yeah, there’s plenty to be upset about if you’re an average American.

What we need to do is take this outrage we all feel and turn it into action. One outraged citizen at a time, we can come together and fight the incursions on our rights. We can decide whether we want to be a nation in community or a land of greedy, I-got-mine-get-your-own bastards.

The March 7/14 issue of The Nation contained an exceprt from the Stéphane Hessel’s book, Indignez-vous!, that I found absolutely inspiring.

Hessel, 93, was a member of the French Resistance during World War II. While Nazi sympathizers ran the “official” government, Hessel and others were with the government-in-exile, battling seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat the Nazis.

Hessel believes our outrage must take a positive form because anger only fuels more anger.

“We must realize that violence turns its back on hope. We have to choose hope over violence—choose the hope of nonviolence. That is the path we must learn to follow. The oppressors no less than the oppressed have to negotiate to remove the oppression: that is what will eliminate terrorist violence. That is why we cannot let too much hate accumulate.”

My late son, Mike, believed the same thing. Days before he died, he asked me to “play the dead-kid card” in a positive way, to try and use the energy of my grief to create positive outcomes.

We can put a stop to this if we’re willing to work together in positive ways to educate voters, then get them to the polls. If we need to help people get photo IDs, then let’s do it. If we see irregularities, we need to report them.

We need to be LOUD, but we have to keep our message free of violent rhetoric.

We can do this, one energized, outraged citizen at a time.

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