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Talking About a Revolution

A new year begins as the prior one starts its fade into the past. We look back and highlight those events deemed important, meaningful and/or particularly strange. We look forward into an undefined future, subjecting it to our speculations and predictions. Will 2004 continue the ride down the path of war, environmental degradation and petrochemical addiction that has radically accelerated during the last three years? Or, will there be some juncture in this destructive path where 2004 will distinguish itself from 2003 by a change in direction, a turnaround in priorities, a reordering of what is important, a turning point? Could this be the year?

With all due respect to the arbitrariness of the date established in our culture as the first day of the year, the start of a new calendar year still infuses me with a tad of hope. That hope is based on the simple belief that things can change for the better, particularly if enough people join together peacefully to ensure the change occurs. Within the context of the activities of George W. and his administration, my start-of-the-year hope has gone from being somewhat progressive to being outright radical: I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where clean air, water and soil are not considered a commodity to sully as corporate collateral damage, but resources that all people have a right to. A revolution where those responsible for polluting our environment are made to desist and pay the full cost of their noxious efforts. A revolution where large corporations that have used the planet as a dumping ground for toxic wastes are charged and brought to trial for the death, disability, and environmental destruction they致e left behind. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where people reject the credibility of those who try to rally support for wars by employing lies. A revolution where those whose lies lead to the death and mutilation of the battlefield are brought to justice and tried for violating the trust of the people and world peace. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where those who hide the truth behind claims of national security are found guilty of violating the basic tenets of an open and free democracy. A revolution where those who hide the truth to protect their own political futures are exposed and held accountable. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where people realize that the country with the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction of all kinds is right beneath their feet. A revolution where these weapons of mass destruction are subject to monitoring, disarmament and destruction. A revolution where the billions of dollars invested in mass death is reinvested in removing these hideous weapons from the environment. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where the government puts more effort into providing protection of its people against the threat of influenza than against smallpox. A revolution where public health efforts are directed at real public-health threats that directly impact the nation痴 health. A revolution where the last remains of smallpox and other potential biological weapons are destroyed for the benefit of all peoples on this planet. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where the needs of everyday people for employment at meaningful jobs that pay a living wage take precedence over satisfying the greed of multi-millionaire CEOs who cut jobs and ship work to cheap foreign labor while keeping their golden parachutes packed and ready. A revolution where workplace safety and affordable healthcare benefits are seen as necessary components of a responsible working environment. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where healthcare is seen as a birthright, where it is available, accessible and affordable for those who need it. A revolution that creates a healthcare system that sees our health as intricately tied to our environment. A revolution that sees health not as a source of profit, but as a measure of social well-being. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where the massive grid of the electrical system is replaced with small-scale environmentally benign home- and community-based energy-generating systems that cannot be blacked out by sagging power lines in Ohio. A revolution where huge corporate-energy monopolies are stripped of their power, where people are actively part of their home-energy production and conservation efforts, where windmills and solar cell arrays sprout like mushrooms across the land. I知 hoping for a revolution.

I知 hoping for a revolution where gas-guzzling cars, trucks and SUVs will be replaced by vehicles that average 50 or more miles per gallon. A revolution where this country finally shakes its petrochemical addiction and comes clean with increased energy efficiency and alternative, low- polluting fuels. A revolution where people are encouraged to walk and bike more. I知 hoping for a revolution.

And I知 hoping for a revolution where everyone can vote and be assured that their votes count and are counted. A revolution where elections are determined by issues and not slick advertising or the size of campaign contributions. A revolution where candidates for office have no alternative but to tell the truth about their positions and promises. A revolution where elections are determined by those who vote and not by the decisions of bureaucrats who try to control those votes. I知 hoping for a revolution.

There are many more changes that I知 hoping for in my start-of-the-year revolutionary reverie than the word limits of this column will allow. And yes, I realize that my hopes may not coincide with the future痴 reality. Regardless, I致e still got this nano-bit of hope that, as this year unfolds, a growing spirit will rise among the people of this land that calls for a change from the dangerous path George W. has taken this country down. The time for revolution has come, I hope.

裕om Nattell

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