The term suggests people who are sheep, easily led to whatever fate. And such has certainly been true for most of us throughout history.
To be clear, there are forces at work that have contributed to our ‘sheepleness’ for a thousand years. Kings and wealthy merchants have little desire for a population that questions everything. “You be sheep, we’ll take care of everything” is a variation of the well-worn elitist mentality.
After the Awakening of the 1960s (Free Love, No More War, Equal Rights, EPA, etc.), the elites made a long-term, strategic investment to turn our institutions toward supporting elitist goals. Socialism bad, low taxes good and similar memes have come to dominate TV and news outlets. Look up Barry Goldwater to learn more of the regressive themes he initiated with the help of lots of money.
But last November’s election proved we are sheeple no more – at least a growing number of us. The first measure is turnout, where we had the largest non presidential election turn out in 40 years. Nice! Second, it was clearly a Blue Wave. Our new congress has such rich diversity it warms my heart. Third, we’ve learned just how corrupt the system is. Elites have seen their income clime hundreds of percentages since the 1970s. For the 99%, wages have been flat. 40 fucking years of flat. That gets your attention.
As we turn our political attention to 2020, we see more cause for hope. The Republicans are saddled with Donald Trump, and they may yet regret their feckless support for such a corrupt leader. The Dems have a bunch of folks interested in the job, many with very impressive progressive resumes. I don’t see how the Republicans can hold the presidency, or even the Senate in this political climate.
And it’s not just politics. The Women’s March in 2017 was the largest gathering in history. The March for Our Live, resisting gun violence, was nearly as large, and it was led by teens. Localism, organic food, renewable energy – we are progressing even against such odds and forces.
We have such a huge plethora of change agents and groups that it’s mind-boggling. Old stalwarts like the Sierra Club are joined or upended by the Sunrise Movement (again youth led). Black Lives Matter is joined by the National Black United Front. Peace activists are expanding like never before. The examples are countless.
So, hurray for us! We’re finally climbing out of the dark hole the old culture stuck us in. We don’t want that world any more. We want a world of abundance and freedom, where the world (Earth) itself thrives along with us.
Let’s keep plowing folks. Our task is in its infancy. We’ve got to end the domination of our ‘Corporate Overlords’ and begin to envision neighborhoods, communities, cities and states where the old mantle of giving all the breaks to elites and corporations no longer flies. In their stead, we do…