Friday, October 15, 2010

DAY 11 – Elephant in Room Restrained by Wet Noodle

Today my wife and I attended a fundraising event for Congresswoman Lois Capps in Santa Barbara. The star and magnet for the day was Speaker of the House, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Due to cost, my wife and I are not accustomed to attending such events. In this case a dear friend gave us her tickets.

(photo of elephant by's photostream)

I value the opportunity to have met Congresswomen Pelosi and Capps, and to have heard them speak in the personal venue of a private home.

As we drove home, my wife said, “money sure is powerful”.

And, of course, I agree with her. But, there is something else that is of more interest to me; something that I think is even more powerful.

In America we repeat the mantra, “money is powerful”, and we act as though those with little money have little power. Are we suffering from the conditioning that is said of elephants that are chained when young, and then as adults never test the chain that limits them?

What if a single American, who couldn’t afford to attend a fundraising luncheon, stood on a street corner for a couple of hours with a message written on a cardboard box that proclaimed his views? What if a family of Americans did the same thing? What if lots of us did that?

Repetitious, slick, and expensive television and mailed promotions of products and candidates, clearly have some power. But, I don’t think that it is greater that that which we and our neighbors have when we choose to come out on the street and speak up.

Can one be too poor to have a voice in America? I think the answer may be, yes. But, I believe that most of us have a voice and have power. We may just need to free our leg from the chain binding us to our TV or computer and grab a cardboard box and a marker!

One day in 2008 I tried not being an elephant. I went a bit more high tech than the cardboard box. I spent 13 hours that day on highway 33 between Ojai and Ventura, California. It was a great day! The action felt powerful to me. And I only got flipped-off 62 times. I was seen; my voice was heard. See for yourself on YouTube – 51 seconds:

Money is A power in America, not THE power.

Note: I am not criticizing fundraising luncheons. I really appreciated the one we attended today!

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