This essay was first published on 4/5/2005.
As I see more and more injustices and abuses of power by governments and corporations causing destruction and misery to billions of people around the planet, I get angry and feel the need to do something about it, or at least some of it. I have discovered that my radicalism begins with a whisper from my soul, that stirs me with a surge of emotion and creates a tear, or makes me angry enough to swear at a television news commentator, or George W. Bush or Tom Delay, Bill Frist , John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and virtually every American and international politician.
I believe Radicals are born radical. I believe a Radical has always been radical in his world view. A Radical cannot accept things that are not just, or are hurtful to people or animals or the environment. A Radical can be anyone, there are no specific qualifications to join the ranks of radicals. Radicals do not need to be militant, they simply must be compassionate and courageous enough to stand up to all who would harm them or others. I once thought that most Radicals were violent, but I later learned that the most effective radicals were non violent.
Radicals are men and women who refuse to bend to the will of nature, or suffer the indignity of physical or mental abuse. A Radical is anyone who will fight back against anything that they deem is a wrong against them or others. I think as radically as everyone else. I weigh my options and interests and my willingness to fight in the courts, write letters of protest, or storm the Capital building? I am uncertain how radically radical I really am. So far I think I am like everyone else waiting for their soul’s whisper to turn into a shout or a scream; until we can no longer watch or wait as the scales of justice are breaking under the weight of injustice.
“If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say break the law. Let your life be counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience.