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Grandparents As Reformists

Written by atuuschaaw Saturday, 02 December 2006

There is something very awakening when a person realizes they have turned into someone who looks and sounds a whole lot like past images of their Grandpa or Grandma. Not a bad thing mind you, just sort of shocking at first recognition! I don't know when the reflection actually hit me. It didn't hit me when the kids were grown and gone. It didn't even hit me when I actually became a Grandparent. The awakening may have come to me when I was in recovery from joint replacement but I'm not really sure. Then again, I can't nail the moment down to any particular event or time. Maybe it didn't come as a bolt of lightning or a clap of thunder. Perhaps this realization of becoming a senior citizen has been a slow evolutionary process. I'm not fully awake yet...and in my mind's eye at least, I haven't aged a single bit!

But I'm certain I don't see things as my Grandparents did because today isn't as simple as it was in their later years. I'm not saying it was an easy time, and being farmers and living independently as they did, they worked very hard and were very satisfied up until they died. Anyway, as a Grandpa myself now, I know for a fact that my views of the world and those of my Grandparents are worlds apart. In their time we still had an unlimited amount of land, resources, and time! Just not so anymore and to believe otherwise is suicidal in my personal opinion.

Independent...that's a tough one these days. The social structures we live within don't have much tolerance for independence. The system just isn't geared for that sort of thing anymore. But perhaps that's changing and we will see more and more support for independents in the near future. At least I think we will as we move away from centralized bureaucracies and move more towards peer to peer or self-leveling communal organizations. And the changes revolve around the distribution, sharing, and utilization of information and somehow turning it into power of knowledge. But there is so much information that it must be dugg, farked, furled, shared, categorized, filtered, embedded....Shit!...I could spend my entire day aquiring information and wouldn't have any time left to utilize the knowledge in any way. There are times when we have to decide which of our interests are most important and focus on a smaller cross-section of our world. If we really want to use these knowledge sources that the web offers all of us, then each of us has to make a personal decision to support certain causes or particular injustices that effect the people, our world, and civilization.

But I've found there is a problem with most of these big organizations who promote these necessary changes. For example, I support the efforts to reform our media and I am definitely an advocate for independent journalism and all other forms of media. And freepress recently posted notification of the 2007 National Conference for Media Reform, which is going to be in Memphis! This is a great thing and wow, it's only a few miles down the road! So I figure I'm going to register for this weekend of workshops, meetings, and speeches. You know, speeches from people such as Bill Moyers, Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Amy Goodman...kind of the who's-who in the democratic activist list! Well anyway, I go on their website to register and after clicking here, clicking there, reading this, reading that...I find out the cost is $260.00, which isn't that bad I suppose if you have the bank accounts of the celebrities who are going to be speaking at the damn thing!

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this will be a good weekend and people will learn a great deal and find some solidarity among other like-minded people. But where does that leave the common people who want to be involved. What do the good hearted, social conscious people, who live on a low or fixed income have to do to become active in these efforts? Well, I did find an alternative...and it's right down my alley. They have a volunteer-work program that will waive the fee and allow you to participate when you're not working! Well, I've had plenty of practice working, so I submitted my volunteer application. But acceptance is doubtful because I know they will only take a small number of applicants. So what about all the other people in our grassroot communities who are proponents of media reform? What I've discovered about the majority of these big organization's workshops and functions is...the people who can attend are usually the ones who aren't even affected by the atrocity the group is fighting against! They promote good things but they miss the whole concept of community and they lose because they don't embrace the huge power base of the people! And until the common people of our country are taken into the mix, we all will continue to lose and the needed changes just won't happen!

I have to say I do wonder why they would want to hold the conference down south. We have some of the biggest wealth and health disparities in the entire nation. Corporations have been flowing from the north down here for years because of the tax free enviroment. Meanwhile we've watched our wages go down while the media has bolstered their efforts in the support of the new corporations moving into town. Hey, they create jobs after all...you just can't live on what they pay! I thought why would a media reform organization come to such a corporate controlled area when we all know it's big corporations which have taken over the media and stiffled the truth. Maybe it's the low price quoted by the Memphis city council for the rent of the facilities. Could it be that they just wanted some good ol' southern barbque or tasty soul food? Or maybe it's because of the little LasVegas we call Tunica, which is littered with casinos just thirty minutes away from downtown Memphis? Naw...I bet they chose Memphis just so they could throw it in the corporatist's faces! Flaunting their rights and building movements through concensus and all right in corporate's face! Yeah, that's bound to be the reason!

I wonder what I'll have to do if I get a chance to participate? Probably take out their garbage or keep their water glasses filled! Nothing like participating in reform movements! Who knows, maybe one day I can tell the Grandkids their Grandpa helped better society by bagging and hauling Jane Fonda's garbage to the dumpster out in the alley! And when we drive by the place I can say, "Right there...see right there in that alley, that's where I threw their garbage that day!"

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