Having recently celebrated their nation’s independence on July 4th, Americans were invited to recall the spirit of protest, rebellion, and revolution that marks the popular myth of the birth of the United States of America.
The Declaration of Independence still stands as an important example of how the tolerance of any man can be exceeded by the actions of an overbearing and intrusive government. Yet, 237 years after the signing of this document, one has to wonder what has happened to the spirit of fearlessness and rugged self-determination that set the American experiment in motion.
As a form of redress of grievances by a people to its leadership, protest is as much of a historical part of democracy as voting is. A near-last resort when the populace is bereft of political power, publicly voicing dissent in an organized, peaceful, and constructive manner is a critical and vital sign of life for a society that wishes to be free. Yet, when a ruling elite and political class become too intrusive, parasitic or too dangerous to the population, protest is often a precursor to violence, therefore the outcome of rebellion and protest is never certain and often disastrous. However, the fate of a people without the will to resist encroaching tyranny is just as foreboding.
While giving credit to the Occupy movement, those who engage in protest at global summits and party conventions, growing national actions like the Tar Sands Blockade and Idle No More, and growing localized activist movements, the nation has no formidable popular mass-movement for dissent. Apparently the American people have little interest in expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of leadership we have in America today.
Why are the American people so permissive of government abuse, intrusion, waste, corruption, cruelty, and stupidity?
Here are 5 reasons reasons why more Americans don’t protest.
1. Protest is Unwelcome in the Matrix
The matrix cannot function properly when people are in the streets speaking truth to power; therefore, protest is an unwanted inconvenience for the economy, the media and the government.
For this, the government is engaged in quashing domestic protest, and the media makes every effort to marginalize and ignore popular dissent. Increasingly, protest and civil disobedience are also being viewed as security threats to be met with near-military force. ‘First amendment zones,’ event permits, and laws that equate protest with terrorism all assist in dissuading Americans from participating, while tricks like agent provocateurs, police intimidation, arrest and assault are used to shut down protest events.
The modern American protester faces regulations, intimidation and physical threats from military crowd control technologies like flash-bang grenades, the LRAD acoustic weapon, pepper sprays, surveillance of all modern types, and even the prospect of microwave pain ray technologies.
All of this already makes protest and dissent seem rather unpalatable to the average American, but, the media further demonizes protest by highlighting and focusing on any violence that may occur, while downplaying the peaceful moments where intelligent people come together to articulate valid grievances with an out-of-control system.
The media tarnishes the image of any protest movement to take advantage of the fact that most people are natural followers, not natural leaders, and that most people are watching the protest in relative isolation at home, separated from friends and neighbors. Creating the perception that protests are dangerous events involving un-American, un-patriotic and irresponsible people who are likely to get hurt, helps to prevent popular support on any single issue from reaching critical mass by convincing the average person that it is too complicated and too risky to get involved.
2. Conflict Consciousness – Divided We Fall
Are you a liberal or conservative? Democrat or Republican? Are you on this team, or that team?
It doesn’t matter at all really, but we’ve been brainwashed into dividing ourselves into an inescapable prison of bi-polarized pigeon-holes.
We blame our neighbors, friends and families for the mismanagement in the world. We blame those different than us, those in different countries, those with different color skin. We trust in authority, those with matching uniform shirts and batman belts, while we distrust and fight amongst each other. We have become culturally programmed to argue, compete, fight, and win for no real purpose. Winning, and being on the winning team has become more valuable than learning, gaining wisdom or uniting.
In this climate, with a social atmosphere so rigidly divided and so pointlessly competitive, any energy for consensus and widespread concerted action is sapped in inter-personal and tribal-like conflict. We are missing great opportunities for compromise, reciprocity, healing and growth. The consciousness of conflict ensures our self-destruction.
3. Higher Priorities … Work and Play
The American Dream of personal freedom and the opportunity for prosperity as a reward for hard work has been transformed in recent decades, influenced by an ongoing sales pitch about what life should be like for the average person. Convenience, ease, comfort, entertainment, excess, escape, work, money, debt. These are the values most available today.
Americans are working harder than ever, if they’re working at all. The economy is in terrible shape and in decline, and the American lifestyle has become so heavily invested in consumerism and debt that the average person is too dependent on continuity of income to risk even a single paycheck. Protesting is at the bottom of the list of things to do on vacation day.
Outside of work, life for most people has become a screen. Television, movies, the Internet, work, handheld devices, iPads, Kindle, whatever. A new version of reality has emerged in the delivery of media and the sophistication of entertainment. Our priorities have evolved to put entertainment and escapism at the top of the list, and increasingly less value on honest government, human rights and justice.
Life is also still very good in America for most in the middle class. Food is easy to come by, credit still widely available. Charity, welfare and government assistance in some form are available to most if sought. Drone strikes and IEDs are not yet to be seen in the homeland.
Commitment to protest and social change requires personal sacrifice. In our social atmosphere of extreme busyness and dumbed-down priorities, participation in social causes is now too risky, too inconvenient, and insufficiently fun. Our natural and historical energies for rebellion and protest are effectively expired in the office, at the bar, or at the movies, or projected onto a character on a screen.
Life has become a hamster wheel of superfluous labor and deliberate distraction.
4. Mindset of Fear, Apathy, and Resignation
Mindset is everything in our quantum-world, and our emotional undercurrent governs how we relate to and participate in the world. Regarding politics, participatory democracy, and protest, the typical American mindset generally falls into one of three categories:
Fear – We are heavily propagandized to approach life from fear-centered consciousness. Life is to be viewed as a threat. America has already become a police state, and is heavily invested in the combination of fear and security. To the average person, the prospect of facing militarized police and possibly being beaten, gassed, dispersed, arrested and perhaps even criminally charged for voicing dissent is certainly an adequate deterrent.
Brutal, violent oppression of dissent works famously well to stop a protest, and for this, people logically fear getting involved.
Apathy – Apathy is another symptom of our cultural decline, and a mindset that keeps most people from participating in civics or protest. Apathy is a nearly conscious choice to remain ignorant and distracted about something while pursuing the path of least resistance. Apathy seems to be the number one byproduct of our culture of convenience. People don’t care about the quality of our world enough to become involved.
Resignation – Many Americans understand all too well what is happening to constitutional and lawful government and realize that until a much more massive awakening occurs and far more people take interest, there is little to be gained from protesting. This resignation has led many to focus instead on preparing for the worst, including for scenarios like economic collapse and social unrest. Storing food and developing emergency plans is now seen by many as a more productive use of energy than attempting to influence a corrupt political system by participating in politics or protest.
While there are signs that Americans may be slowly waking from the dream-like state that is preventing any unified form of mass protest, it appears that for now the formerly American qualities of courage, independence and self-determination have been replaced with fear, apathy, and resignation.
5. People Approve of the Status Quo
Americans, by and large, are still happy to enjoy the lifestyle that the status quo delivers, even if it means further forfeitures of privacy and essential human rights. Additionally, the lack of public opposition en masse is also a de facto approval of the political and economic status quo.
‘It is better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission,’ goes the saying, and by not objecting to any scandal or violation, no matter how offensive, the majority of America consents to being governed by this domineering logic.
Whether actively or passively, the majority of America supports any and all actions by our government and the corporate status quo.
America is a wonderful place with a vast and breathtaking landscape and a rich culture of ingenuity and creativity. Americans are interesting and generous people. It is difficult to grasp the contradiction between the beautiful and comfortable aspects of American life and the troublesome developments emerging from our leadership. It not easy to understand the gap between the values extolled in the still-celebrated Declaration of Independence and the lack of public will to hold the government accountable to even the simple Bill of Rights.
Why don’t more Americans protest things like government spying, endless wars, the fraudulent banking system, the growing police state, the destruction of the environment, genetically modified foods, the assault on natural health, or even torture?
While the above 5 reasons are merely one person’s observations and generalizations about American culture, the patterns that emerge here are useful in helping to recognize opportunities for our own personal and collective evolution.
Please add any additional you thoughts you may have in the comments section below.
Sigmund Fraud is a survivor of modern psychiatry and a dedicated mental activist. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com where he pursues the possibility of a massive shift towards a more psychologically aware future for mankind.