Changing Change

I’ve been back less than a month so it comes as no shocking surprise that I find myself more attracted to news in the Philippines rather than the local happenings. Even after a year long absence I still find that the fear-mongering of CNN, the political distortions of Fox News and the overall corporate driven media cartels are still very much alive. When the news remains unsupported by actual journalism, who wants to watch it? There’s no dismay at understanding why the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are such big hits: such mockeries give weight to the criticisms that so many people have trouble voicing.

None the less, politics and money reign pretty much everywhere, even in the Philippines. Today’s headlines list, among other things, a potential ban on the improper singing of their national anthem [Lupang Hinirang (Beloved Land)] as well as unpatriotic displays of the Philippine flag. Yes, the Philippine government is hard at work making legal changes that do absolutely nothing for the starvation of its people, the serfdom that exists in the provinces or the troublesome monopolies that exist in corporate environments. I suppose I tolerate such Philippine news a bit more since I lack the burnout that US media has given me. All in all, one does best by turning off the TV and living life.Protest

It does gets harder and harder to turn a blind eye to political activism though. Everywhere there are so many wrongs to right and broken things to fix. The ever growing problem of customer service is how corporate and government entities have forgotten what it’s like to be the customer. They have become self-serving to the detriment of the customer. The fact that my top ranking website articles are those that highlight the corporate atrocities by Globe Telecom only remind me of this fact. Some days you just want to pull out a chair and park yourself in front of the given headquarters while holding a sign and shouting mantras that you would otherwise associate with a random 1960’s protest.

I did find a bit of my attitude reprieved in Brazil’s latest happenings. It seems the folks over there have voted in a Clown to congress with double the votes of the 2nd place candidate. “What does a congressman do? The truth is I don’t know, but vote for me and I’ll tell you,” the 45-year-old said in his campaign advertisements. Call me cynical but I have to wonder if he’ll break his promise and actually do something. Things that make you go “hmmmmm…..”

With the television off, I can focus more on friends and family. That’s where the real news is. Such statements are not meant in the support of willful ignorance to the world around us but they are more of an exhortation. Your family, your friends, your neighbors: they should be the heart of every activist and the circle of their lives embodies the arena of your greatest power for change. Some will try to change big business. Some will try to change government. What a better precept to change how we change!

I can only echo the sentiments of Paulo Freire: “Transformation is only valid if it is carried out with the people, not for them. Liberation is like a childbirth, and a painful one. The person who emerges is a new person: no longer either oppressor or oppressed, but a person in the process of achieving freedom. It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors.

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