Paul Cienfuegos’ August 12, 2014 Commentary on KBOO Evening News
(His weekly commentaries are broadcast every Tuesday evening. You can view or listen to them all at PaulCienfuegos.com, CommunityRightsPDX.org, or subscribe via ITunes.)
Greetings! You are listening to the new weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos.
Recently, I heard a friend referring to we United States’ians as “sheeple”. People who act like sheep.
I immediately laughed out loud, as it seemed like such good word-play, but also I cringed, since it really is an accurate description of most of us in this country.
Please don’t take offense when I make the claim that virtually all of our activism in this country can be placed in the category of begging and pleading and demanding. My in-box – and most likely yours as well – is filled with online petitions urging us to respond to the latest crisis by adding our signature, to send to some distant [QUOTE] decision-maker [UNQUOTE], to try to convince them to stop the oil and coal trains, or to stop the foreclosures of local home-owners, or to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or to stop the latest clearcut, or the latest Wal-Mart, or the latest cell-tower, or …or…. You get my point, right?
We beg. We plead. We demand. We lobby. We march. It’s all we know. It’s what we’ve all been taught to do.
The tragic reality is that every one of these tactics comes from a place of learned powerlessness – of being outside of where the decisions are actually being made.
We lobby the so-called decision-makers instead of understanding that there are no decision-makers who have more authority than we do. We are, after all, We The People. But very few of us have any memory or understanding of what that means anymore, in relation to our actual day-to-day lives.
We’ve been so heavily propagandized by our so-called leaders, right from the beginning of our country – like James Madison, who was the main guy who wrote
our Second Constitution, the one most of us refer to as the Constitution. James Madison worked hard to make sure that we ended up with a society where authentic democracy could not function.
He believed that the primary goal of government is (QUOTE) to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. (UNQUOTE) As his colleague John Jay was fond of saying, “The people who own the country ought to govern it.”
And boy oh boy were they successful at achieving this goal! Pretty much ever since then, 99% of the human beings living here in the US have been excluded from any meaningful participation in the decisions that affect all of us.
For our first 100 years, 99% of us were locked out because we were not white, or we were not men, or we were not property owners. In other words, we were not defined as actual persons with rights.
But it’s really the last 100 years that makes me so mad. Because after women and African people fought and died to become legally recognized persons in this country, the 1% who were already in charge figured out something very very clever in the late 1800’s: that they could hide behind what is referred to as the corporate veil – to shield their decision-making authority from any real interference by the other 99% of us. We started as a slave state, and in the late 1800’s, we were transformed into a corporate state, which is what we’ve been ever since.
So it’s really no surprise that We The People mostly act like sheeple. In response to this nightmare we’ve all grown accustomed to, we act powerless. We’ve been trained well.
Imagine if we stopped acting powerless. Imagine what might happen next!
You’ve been listening to the new weekly commentary by yours truly, Paul Cienfuegos. You can hear future commentaries every Tuesday on the KBOO Evening News. I welcome your feedback.
You can sign up for my newsletter at PaulCienfuegos.com. Thanks for listening! And remember: We are the people we’ve been waiting for!