The Power of the People

Power of the American People

Crooked politicians, crooked corporations: what can one person do? The news is alternately infuriating and depressing and no one is listening to us. I’m going to tell you what you can do, but first I’m going to tell you a true story.

Twenty years ago I was an illustrator for an ad agency and many of our clients were horse farms. We had arrived at a farm to photograph a Thoroughbred stallion for an ad. This horse had quite a win record when he was racing as a two-year old, but now he was all grown up and massive; about 18 hands (72 inches from the ground to where the saddle rests) and packing about 1,400 pounds of pure muscle.

He was feeling his oats, so to speak, and began kicking his stall while we waited for the groom to bring him out. The groom was a frail-looking, elderly black man who weighed maybe 120. This guy was going to bring that beast out of the stall? I took a few steps back.

The groom opened the stall door and yelled at the stallion, “Get back! Quit!” The stallion huddled in the corner of the stall and put his head down so the groom could put a chain over his nose for control. What the heck? That stallion wanted to be free, to run in the fields and visit the lady horses. But one little scrawny groom completely controlled 1,400 pounds of muscle yearning to be free, and it was all a mind game.

That stallion is like the American citizenry huddling in a corner and putting our heads down so a puny bunch of mind-gamers can control us; especially if they say the magic words “National Security.” How much will we take? How much of our privacy are we willing to give up? At any moment, that stallion could have stomped that groom into a sticky spot in the hay.

There are a lot of politicians, a lot of lobbyists, and a lot of political operatives. But there are so many more of us regular people, it staggers the mind.

So what can we do? Torment them, send them a message, send them lots of messages, flood the freakin’ switchboards. You may say, “They don’t pay any attention, that won’t do any good.” They may not pay attention because they are nice guys who care about the people, but they will pay attention because of their one over-riding goal: to get elected. I was told years ago by a senator that for every message they get, they consider that at least ten other people feel the same way and didn’t bother to say anything. If they get a message from an organization, they figure maybe 100 other people feel the same way. They keep track of this stuff.

Unite! A very few at the top control many more at bottom because they keep us divided-keep us thinking we are each other’s enemy. Join a group, get on email lists for causes you believe in like internet privacy, auditing the fed, civil liberties, or human rights. One day, all these groups will coalesce and invade DC; the stallion will use his muscle to resist, will break the chain, and run free.

Here’s how to (find and) contact your congressman.

The Congressional switchboard is 800-828-0498 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            800-828-0498      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, the White House switchboard is 202-456-1414 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            202-456-1414      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, and the main Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            202-224-3121      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Use your muscle, America.

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