Joe Carpenter: We Don¹t Need Them – we ARE the people


Richard Moore

I received this article as an email, with the title, "We ARE the people". When I
found it on the website, it had the tile, "We Don¹t Need Them". Take your 
choice. In either case it's a great read.


Original source URL:

We Don¹t Need Them
by Joe Carpenter
November 2, 2005

   ³But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious
    of their own strength, would have no reason to conspire.
    They needed only to rise up and shake themselves, like a
    horse shaking off flies. If they chose, they could blow the
    party to pieces tomorrow morning.  Surely, sooner or later,
    it must occur to them to do it?  And yet . . .²
      € -- George Orwell, 1984

I¹ve never understood the idea of speaking truth to power. The truth, surely, is
that in almost all countries of the world, political and economic systems are 
designed to benefit only the rich and powerful, at the expense of those with 
less money and power. This is how the world works, and I see no reason to think 
that the powerful don¹t already understand that.  After all, they designed it; 
they maintain it.

They steal our money, sacrifice our children in their wars, send the poorest and
most victimized among us off to jail for petty mistakes, and crush those of us 
who might present a real threat to the arrangement. They know we don¹t like it. 
They don¹t care. They don¹t need to care. They also control most of our avenues 
of dissent. It¹s a very simple, very elegant design.

Meanwhile, we get angry and toddle off to tell the truth to the powerful. We 
have been telling them the truth for centuries. We travel to their great palaces
by the hundreds of thousands, to express our anger and despair. We shout and 
sing and stomp and whine. We threaten. We plead. Sometimes we¹re beaten up, or 
sent to jail. It¹s a tradition of great courage and personal sacrifice, no 

We go to tell them to stop using our money and our children and our energy and 
intelligence to further rob and rape and murder us. We tell them to be more 
respectful and compassionate. We¹re like angry but terrorized children, 
anxiously scolding our stern, all-powerful parents. And, in the end, we look to 
the Democrats or to some congressional panel or to the Supreme Court and demand 
that they come to our aid. As my friend Harry puts it: ³We¹re left in the 
terrible position of trying to decide which elite group will be less likely to 
prey on us.²

Well, the government and their pals are not going to stop using and abusing us. 
They¹re not going to stop preying on us. They cannot stop! Republican or 
Democrat, they are rich and powerful precisely because they prey on us. They are
rich because they rob us. They¹re robbing us right this minute.  They are 
powerful because they dominate every aspect of our lives, because they¹ve taken 
control of all the major social, political, economic, and communication systems 
in the world. These systems were designed to increase their wealth and power by 
taking both from all the rest of us.

But, we are not children, and they are not our parents. We¹re not little people 
and they are not big people. We¹re not insignificant and they are not 
significant. In fact, we do not need them.

They are very few and we, here in the US alone, are roughly 300 million. We 
don¹t need to rush out to tell the few that they are abusing the many. They 
already know that. We need to stand upright and walk out to tell the many that 
they are being slowly devoured by the few, for -- incredibly, they do not know. 
We need to look to our next door neighbors, and to their next door neighbors and
to the folks all along the block. We need to tell the truth to each other -- for
we are the answer.

While hundreds of thousands of anti-war demonstrators gathered in Washington, 
DC, back in September, hundreds of millions of American citizens went about 
their business without even a vague awareness of the protests.  The media to 
which most of them attend barely mention such things -- obviously.  And, most 
Americans don¹t live in the DC area, so they didn¹t see a thing.

Most Americans live in my neighborhood, or in your neighborhood. Most Americans 
eat breakfast right next to you in the local café. Most Americans get their car 
fixed at the same garage as you and I do. Most Americans visit my library, my 
bookstore, my grocery store, my local park -- or yours.

But the rich and powerful have convinced us that we cannot -- we must not -- 
communicate with the people we can see and hear and touch, right here, right 
now. They have convinced us that we need to travel to some government office to 
persuade elected officials and bureaucrats to change our world for us. The 
government and media drone on, endlessly, hypnotically, and convince us that if 
we just elect the right leaders, they¹ll talk to our next door neighbor for us.

Government programs, they promise us, will fix that gaping hole in the pavement 
right out beyond your driveway. Government will help poor Mrs. Wilson, 
languishing in the old, dilapidated house right across the street. Government 
will settle your dispute with that family right down the block. Government will 
take care of your neighbors who can¹t escape the hurricane:

³It¹s OK, just hop in the SUV and go, we¹ll take care of everything!² Government
will help; government will heal; government will bring us together.

That¹s not going to happen, of course. The elites are too busy dividing us, 
setting us against each other, exacerbating every animosity, every misgiving, 
every anxiety, however slight. They insinuate themselves into every new crack 
and crevice and offer convoluted, expensive legislation and bureaucracies to 
bring us back together again. ³There oughta be a law,² says the old complaint. 
Well, there will be, to be sure -- but it will just make things worse.

We¹re all looking in the wrong place for reason and compassion and justice. It¹s
not anywhere to be found in Washington, DC. It¹s not in governments or state 
houses. It¹s not there in that prestigious gathering of experts and big brains.

It¹s right here. It¹s wherever you are, and it¹s right next door and it¹s 
everywhere along your street and all around your neighborhood. It¹s in the cars 
that pass you on the roadways and in the shops where you buy your dog or cat 
food. There¹s no need to travel a thousand or even a hundred miles.  It¹s not 
necessary to make the climb up to the penthouse. Our hope, our possibility -- 
our only hope, our only possibility, lies in the ordinary people who compose our
world, who are the very stuff of our lives.

Want to change the world? Tell the truth to the plumber. Begin with the lady who
hands you the stamps at the post office. Talk with the checkout people at the 
grocery store. Chat with the waiter at your favorite café. Speak with the cops 
who sit down at the next table. Gab for a few minutes with the guy who changes 
your oil or with the elementary school teacher with whom you¹ve been discussing 
your child¹s future. Lean out of your window while stopped at the light and tell
the truck driver some truth he¹s certain to recall and ponder.

Feel the need to march? Gather a bunch of folks and wander about your 
neighborhoods with signs and leaflets. When people walk by, stop and gab with 
them. When that huge guy with the Hemi-powered Ram pulls alongside and tells you
to ³love it or leave it,² ask him to stay and talk. Smile, offer your hand, make
nice. He¹s one of us. He¹d make a wonderful ally. When a carload of high school 
jocks slows to offer some single-fingered communication, hand them some cold 
colas and tell them about the probability of a draft. They¹re our people, too. 
Convince yourself that this is so, then convince them.

Get together with like-minded people and think of simple, brief, meaningful ways
to communicate with the folks all around you. Think about little things, easy 
things, immediate things. Think about what you can do together, and what you 
might accomplish alone. Think about your real day-to-day life, and how many 
opportunities there are to educate and enlighten, every day.  Blab and babble 
and blunder and tell the truth, one ordinary person at a time. We¹re all 
ordinary people, and we are our only hope. Tell the truth to the guy who pumps 
out the septic tank -- he¹s one of us!  Forget about telling the government, 
forget about the hot shots.

To the extent that we believe we need them, exactly to that extent will we 
continue our dependence upon ruthless, murderous plunderers, people entirely 
opposed to our needs and deepest longings. As long as we believe we need them, 
exactly that long will we live life on our knees, begging -- as Mickey Z. says 
-- for crumbs from their table.

The depth of our apparent need is the measure of their height above us. The 
nightmare of our poverty is our dream that they have a right to take our money. 
The illusion of our impotence is the chimera of their monstrous strength.  We 
shall be slaves as long as we¹re convinced that we have masters, and not one 
moment longer.

Time to wake up, time to grow up. We¹re not children. We do not need to ask 
permission to live like sane, reasonable, thoughtful, compassionate human 
beings. We do not need to beg or bow or kneel. We do not need to look to 
government or to experts or to the rich and famous. Whatever we need, we can get
it ourselves. Whatever we want to stop -- we can stop it ourselves. Whatever 
must be done, we can do it ourselves. We do not need them; we need each other.

All else is distraction and delusion.

Joe Carpenter is a guy living in Southern Oregon who has traveled extensively 
and kept his eyes open. He can be reached at: •••@••.•••.

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