Poetry Prose and Other Words

by Ken Ingham

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Blog 1989

December 3, 1989
We Need Change Too!

The changes taking place so rapidly in Eastern Europe are certainly cause for joy. One can't help but be stirred emotionally as those who live in the homelands of many of our recent ancestors are liberated from decades of political oppression. But as I read the daily revelations about yet another leap forward behind that shredded iron curtain, I begin to notice that my joy is sometimes mixed with another emotion, at first hard to identify, but finally recognized as that of envy. I want to be there!! To experience directly the intensity of emotion that is expressed on the screens and pages of the media, to catch this wave of enthusiasm, and ride it back to the shores of my own continent.

I hope that soon the contagion will spread to North America. Here, the capacity of the comfortable masses for collective outrage has been gradually diminished by the forces of materialism. This condition, like the one in Eastern Europe, has been purposefully perpetuated by those who benefit most from the status quo. Now, its time to stop gloating over the demise of communism and look to improvements in our own system. The oldest and western-most version of democracy needs a boost to meet the challenges of the day. What would happen if we filled the corridors of power with millions of demonstrators, joined by the vision of a kinder gentler future, demanding an end to multimillion dollar tax- free salaries, overlapping directorships and leveraged buyouts! Down with the military industrial welfare complex! Down with greed and corruption! Down with pollution! We want clean air! We want clean water! But most of all, we want to be part of a society that lives up to its potential. NOW! In our lifetimes.

Unlike Eastern Europe, we already have mechanisms in place for implementing our collective will. We were born with them. We need only to define that will - and then demand it, either from our current representatives, or from those we will soon elect if the current ones fail to respond. But there seems to be insufficient concern. Not enough debate about what we want. Where are we going? What condition will exist when we finish our helter skelter scramble toward the future? As we head into our annual holiday consumer binge, it might be appropriate to contemplate just what it is that we really want, if not for Christmas, then by the end of the New Year, by the end of the Millennium, by the end of our lives? The envy I feel towards the people of Eastern Europe relates to their apparent sense of unity with respect to where they want to go and the speed with which they are currently moving in the right direction. We have the potential to move equally fast in the same direction - with a great big head start! Let's get together and demand it!

Kenneth C. Ingham Garrett Park, MD