Generally, I have been resistant to marches and rallies, even those that address issues I feel strongly about. It’s not “my thing” to be a body in a crowd. I don’t like the indoctrinating feeling of chanting, of being told what to say, or how to feel by someone with a megaphone. I am leery of people who fan the flames of ire or blame. Perhaps it is a streak of rugged individualism tearing across my overall socialistic sensibilities, or perhaps it’s simply an overblown ego that makes me reluctant to identify too strongly with the seemingly contradictory or overgeneralized message of a crowd.
Whether I like them or not, marches work. They are still the best way to raise awareness, get photos in the press, and demonstrate our political will. Our diverse voices are distilled into an overarching message that can be broadly conveyed and easily understood. In the past year, I have overcome my resistance, complacency and self centeredness to make an effort to join events which bring people together for dialogue or for solidarity toward an issue. Public hearings, marches, rallies, I have attended alone or with friends. I’m glad I attended all of them. One event can be a full spectrum of experience: dull, intense, irritating, stirring, emotional, spontaneous, uninspired, polarizing, fulfilling. Through these events I have come to know more about what people in the community are doing, thinking, experiencing. I am lingering on problems, solutions, ideas within an overall context of movement. Maybe the deepest reaching part is learning how to just be a body in the mob, and the presence and mind-opening that comes along with dissolving your individual identity even temporarily.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be in the right mob. Getting involved can be as simple as: “I know it’s a good cause, so let’s go walk around with friends.” That is why I’m inviting you to mob on over to St. Paul with me for the Tar Sands Resistance March!
As Bill McKibben says, “It’s a global fight against global warming, but at any given moment some particular place is in the forefront. This Saturday June 6 the key place is St. Paul.”
The fight against climate change comes to our doorstep this Saturday. Geographically, we are the gateway for a proposed flood of tar sands oil, the dirtiest form of oil, into our country. Environmental experts have identified stopping pipelines as one of the most crucial ways to change our energy trajectory. Building pipeline infrastructure would lock us into fossil fuels even more carbon intensive than we’ve used in the past. And it would hinder investment and development for renewables. We cannot afford either of these outcomes if we are serious about reducing carbon emissions. And we are serious, folks!
Inspiring speakers, colorful art, and no rain forecasted until later in the evening. Hope to see you there!