They Were Revolutionaries Too
Sudhama Ranganathan, 05.02.2013 18:05
There are times doing something big and making waves can seem like the least sensible thing to do. For most of us it's true, at times that just isn't an option. However, there are times we may need to tactfully (if possible) or strategically create a few. In fact, there are times when, if you do not, an opportunity could pass you by that you will be sorry for having missed out on. There are times, when by making a few waves, individuals, small groups, larger groups and more have changed the places in which they live and even the times they live in.
Making waves can be as small as wearing an unusual piece of clothing, doesn't even have to be major. It can be a slightly eccentric choice in what goes on your desk at work. It can be a different way to approach the solution to a problem you face in your life. Depending on where you live, work, socialize, etc there are a multitude of ways to make waves, and at times doing so can make a difference.
The difference can be for personal benefit in order to attain something meant for you as an individual only. It can also be a choice meant to benefit others, that may cause a stir and get people talking. Making waves and rocking the boat a little happens everyday on many different levels, and it does not have to be about putting the world off or purposefully shunning others, to harm or hurt them. We see change everyday and the little changes often provide fuel for what we think of as the ordinary and the same old, same old to continue without our notice quite often, keeping us engaged thinking, meditating, alert and focusing on things we often may forget are even happening.
We often think of ourselves as a money hungry capitalist society and certainly there are many outside our society that perceive us that way. Due to theses forces, there is often a self preservationist desire, among certain sectors of our nation, that feel the need to maintain a kind of order that can be fine until the multitude of the small one day come together in such a way so as to create a conflict with the ordered system under which we live and those living within it.
We bring the world Mac Donald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Coke and Pepsi. We pioneered many of the organizational templates making up what we've come to know as modern day corporate structures, and thus how they affect every person from the mail clerk, to the CEO, to the supplier, to the consumer. These things can be looked at as positives or negatives to many. Certain of us love them while others deride and despise the very notion of them.
But, Americans have also contributed in other ways to the world in which we live. When tired of being ruled by the British monarchy in the late 1700's the founding fathers of this nation set about declaring they would no longer live under that rule, the reasons why and they laid out basic tenets upon which a new American government would be constructed. They decided to form a republic based on democratic principles that to this day echo across the world and are inspiration for many wishing to see more freedoms in their land and a better way of life.
Just like every other nation, we have reared many thinkers and great leaders of social change movements. Along with the founding fathers there were many people that fought for things like the abolition of slavery.
People from all levels of society devoted their entire lives to the struggle to free people from the unjust and inhuman forced bondage that for centuries so many in this were imprisoned under. While there were families and whole businesses that benefitted from the free labor provided by those locked in bondage, the people in chains were not allowed to read, write, think aloud, worship, build social networks and solid lasting community bonds, own anything, have the right to control any measure of their own destiny or that of their loved ones, family, friends and of course children.
But people fought with the power of the mind. They escaped and formed paths to freedom for countless people and there were an unmeasurable amount of others that gave their lives to fight it. Things did eventually change and though hard won freedom came. Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth and many more struggled and inspired. In the end they became America's gift to itself and to the world. A reminder of liberty, a reason to struggle with traditions and what we thought we knew.
People that fought for the rights of workers and founded the unions that built the majority of us, very strong and proud middle class we have today, was started with a small group of seamstresses and lead to the many great leaders of the movements of people demanding an end to the willful ignorance of the wealthy factory owners. They were simple folk, wanting an end to child labor, wanting to see their children go to school and be educated, not die an early death by working themselves to death. They wanted to work in safe and sanitary environments where they would not risk life and limb just standing on the factory floor.
They wanted decent wages, not to be wealthy, but just enough to pay their bills and live a decent life, not working so hard many died in their mid-thirties, just so some pompous factory owner could have more gold encrusted faucets, diamond anklets for their poodles and rolls of disposable silk tissues for their toilet. They fought for the rights of minorities and women in the workplace. They fought so everyday Americans could have a chance. Those workers movements and ideas they brought forth and learned from others around the world, inspired many to demand better working conditions both within America, and globally.
The social movements during the 1960's drew from ideas passed on from some of history's greatest minds, and burst forward into a new kind of social movement that at once helped free people people of color in America from the Apartheid like conditions of Jim Crow. That same social movement helped to empower women across the nation beginning their ascension to fight for equal treatment, equal rights and respect, as gay people do today, for example. The struggle against our government getting involved in wars in South East Asia that most of the people in our country were against, and other such movements forever changed the way we thought about just blindly following our government without knowing what we were getting ourselves into. The love movement radically altered the way we thought about love relationships and social dynamics, opening us up and empowering us as individuals regarding, to taking control of our own destiny, especially women.
These ideas we took from contemporaries around the globe, and that we read about in the pages of history, we then shared through what those movements brought forth in the way of art, philosophy, music, academic thought, spirituality and more. The people that were involved in those movements were all revolutionaries in their own ways in keeping with the spirit and examples laid down by the founding fathers.
They were our heroes as there are many to come. Today we are witnessing many changes bubbling up. They are bubbling up and challenging the how many have seen things traditionally, even over the last couple of decades, in terms of how things were, or that they felt should have been. But, there are no hard and fast rules in life, and nothing is ever “written in stone.” The very nature of life means change and those that survive best embrace change and learn to adapt. Just as it's silly to think we can keep funding both sides of the conflict between Israel and Palestine indefinitely and expect to ever have a break from the endless cycle of terrorism, apartheid like oppression, destabilization and cheating, we can't hope to grow, mature and evolve without seeing transformations and the peace of mind that comes from embracing change.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.