Alienation and control

“Alienation is perhaps the most effective tool of control in America, and every reminder of our real connectedness weakens that tool.” – Tim DeChristopher

I was reading Tim DeChristopher’s sentencing statement today. (DeChristopher is the man who was sentenced to two years in prison for bidding on public lands open to oil and gas leases, when he had no intention of drilling for oil or gas).   Reading this, I was sitting in my little white house not knowing anyone in my neighborhood except Earl and Jan next door.  In fact, I know few people other than my colleagues at work and my students.

Most of us lead lives much like this, cut of from our neighbors, our government, our environment our world.  And through this we give up the very autonomy we are seeking to protect.

We lead our compartmentalized little lives in our own little boxes (out of Ticky Tacky).  I know I do.  This alienation renders us silent.  We see a problem in the world – and need a home that is clean, healthy, and sustainable.  So we do what we can as individuals.  We recycle.  We scale down.  We eat local.  But, as individuals, we will never make change of the scale that is needed.  For that we need to conquer alienation and know the people and world around us.

A community’s worth of actions is needed to create change that can last.  A state’s worth of actions is needed to create something that can do some real goo.  A country’s worth of actions – that that can really start to tackle something big – like climate change or poverty.

So, how do we get from here to there.