“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”~ Marianne Williamson
Have you ever felt powerless? Felt like there is nothing you can do? It is a terrible feeling– a feeling that we have all had to one extent or another. I believe this feeling is the beating heart of the darkness that we refer to as “depression.” It is a feeling that keeps things the same. It is a feeling that keeps us from taking action. It is a feeling that keeps us from realizing our true selves. And–most importantly to understand–This feeling is a lie. You are not inadequate. WE are most certainly NOT inadequate. We are powerful enough to change the world around us, especially when we work together. And like the quote above proclaims, “As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This feeling of powerlessness presents itself in many areas of our lives, but one place where people are becoming increasingly hopeless is in the area of political change. There’s this feeling of “They’re all crooks, and there’s nothing we can do about it.” And though the first part of that statement may indeed be more true than not, the second part of that statement–once again–is a complete lie. If there is anything at all that is great about this country, it is that the people have the power to change things…. The power to make this “A More Perfect Union.” But in order for that to take place, two things have to happen: 1) We, the people, have to be educated and informed. And 2) We have to believe that it is possible for change to take place. Most of the efforts of the people in power to maintain the status quo are directed at these two points. If the electorate is kept uneducated and misinformed, and if they can be made cynical enough to believe that they are powerless, then the ones with all the power and the money can do what they want with impunity.
For example, yesterday I was made aware of a brazen act of congressional corruption and heartless greed that strikes at both of the above threats to democracy. It is a new low–even for congress–and it should enrage you and stir you to action, regardless of whether you call yourself a democrat or a republican. Recently, a rider was added at the last minute to a must-pass military spending bill. This rider takes a protected public land in Arizona called Oak Flat–Land that is a holy site to the people of the San Carlos Apache Reservation–and turns over that sacred land to a foreign-owned mining company. Did you get that? We are handing over sacred Apache lands to a foreign mining company so that they can turn their holy site into a two-mile-wide, 1000 foot deep crater…. because there is some copper in the ground.
Now, you might ask yourself, “Why–OH WHY–would we give protected lands that are sacred to Native Americans living in the area to a foreign mining company to exploit and plunder?” Well, the answer might not surprise you. It turns out that Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake slipped in the rider to the military spending bill to avoid public scrutiny. It has been attempted before by Arizona congressmen…. Including former representative Rick Renzi, was sent to a federal prison for three years on corruption charges, based on an earlier version of this shady deal for Resolution Copper Mining, and their parent company, Rio Tinto. You can learn more about it in this terrific article by The New York Times’ Lydia Millet. In the article, she writes “It’s worth noting that Rio Tinto affiliates have been McCain campaign contributors, and that Mr. Flake, before he made it to Congress, was a paid lobbyist for Rio Tinto Rössing Uranium (a huge uranium mine in Namibia).”
Seriously–Have we not done enough to the Native Americans in this country?
The act of taking sacred Apache lands and handing them over to a mining company to exploit is, by any standard, a completely despicable and disgraceful action. It is even beneath the tarnished dignity of Congress. So here’s the thing: We are not powerless to do something about this. We are powerful beyond measure. Every one of you has a phone in your pocket or your purse or your hand right now. Here is what you can do: You can click on this LINK RIGHT HERE. You put in your zip code, and it gives you the names and telephone numbers of your state senators, as well as your representatives. Call them up, and DEMAND that they work to repeal the rider that hands the Oak Flat lands in Arizona over to Resolution and Rio Tinto. Remind them that we, as a country, are so much better than this. Let them know that if they don’t take a stand on an issue as clear as this, you–as well as your friends and family–will work as hard as it takes to insure that the next elected official in their position will be one with a moral compass…. And one who listens and responds to the voices of the people he or she was elected to represent.
But most of all, do two things: Firstly–Educate yourselves! When you hear about stories like this one, read more links about them. Take a few minutes and find out what is actually happening. And then, take a freaking moment to share the story on social media. There are probably a lot of other people like you who have never heard about this before. And secondly–Don’t give up! There is hope. You are powerful…. WE are even more powerful together. This shameful action by these Arizona senators not only hurts the Apache people, it hurts our nation by building a distrust of government and a growing cynicism….And cynicism is the death of democracy. It is the tool that powerful people wield to insure that they obtain even more power.
But the fight is not over. Just like any law, it can be reversed through legislation, but the time is getting short. Please join with the hundreds of Apache people who are protesting on the Oak Flat lands in an attempt to make their voices heard. Please share this post, or share one of the posts I’ve linked to–whatever speaks to you. And PLEASE, call your state congressperson and demand action on this travesty–Demand they repeal the rider. I did, and it felt really good. You will be surprised how one little act of civic action works as a catalyst toward even more action…. And even more hope. And we desperately need that.