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More than a sign…

At the beginning of 2012 CT was going through the process of passing a whooper of a ed-reform package.  Heavily fueled by “charter school” money and being driven by our non-educator Commissioner of Education.  The best the “other side” could offer was a watered down version, and we got something in between.  I wrote to my legislators, and promised not to vote for them if they cast a “yea” ballot.  A version of that letter is here.  One legislator I wrote to is Representative Vickie Orsini Nardello. She is up for re-election this year.  Maybe I am overreacting by being a single issue voter, maybe I should look at the bigger picture.  But if I can’t trust her to protect my kids, than what else can I trust here with?  So this year I have a different sign on my front lawn, and it does not say “Vote for Vickie Orsini Nardello.”  It’s just one little sign, representing one little vote, but for me it’s a reminder about how people in power need to be watched.  The entire Common Core State Standards writing and approval process has really opened my eyes to how government really works, and how deeply they are connected and influenced by giant corporations.  It has opened my eyes to the fact that no one really seems to care, and no one wants to hear the truth because it will burst their protective bubble that everything is ok if they just keep following along.  Being on sites like twitter and listing to the rally cries in the echo chamber of people I follow has deafened me to the silence in my own community.   I am worried, and in many ways I am a hypocrite, writing one thing, and often doing another.  So in the end I may not stand up to the establishment on the floors on Congress, but I can put up a sign.  A sign to me that represents more than just a name.  A sign that is a reminder to me each day to not give in and put on the mask that the folks in power want me to wear.
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This post makes me think about an interview Jim Morrison once gave…

UNEDITED INTERVIEW SEGMENT:

Lizzie: I think fans of The Doors see you as a savior, the leader who’ll set them all free. How do you feel about that?

Jim: It’s absurd. How can I set free anyone who doesn’t have the guts to stand up alone and declare his own freedom? I think it’s a lie – people claim they want to be free – everybody insists that freedom is what they want the most, the most sacred and precious thing a man can possess. But that’s bullshit! People are terrified to be set free – they hold on to their chains. They fight anyone who tries to break those chains. It’s their security…How can they expect me or anyone else to set them free if they don’t really want to be free?

Lizzie: Why do you think people fear freedom?

Jim: I think people resist freedom because they’re afraid of the unknown. But it’s ironic…That unknown was once very well known. It’s where our souls belong…The only solution is to confront them – confront yourself – with the greatest fear imaginable. Expose yourself to your deepest fear. After that, fear has no power, and fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.

Lizzie: What do you mean when you say “freedom”?

Jim: There are different kinds of freedom – there’s a lot of misunderstanding….The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your senses for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. ….You can take away a man’s political freedom and you won’t hurt him – unless you take away his freedom to feel. That can destroy him.

Lizzie: But how can anyone else have the power to take away from
your freedom to feel?

Jim: Some people surrender their freedom willingly – but others are forced to surrender it. Imprisonment begins with birth. Society, parents – they refuse to allow you to keep the freedom you are born with. There are subtle ways to punish a person for daring to feel. You see that everyone around you has destroyed his true feeling nature. You imitate what you see.

Lizzie: Are you saying that we are, in effect, brought up to defend and perpetuate a society that deprives people of the freedom to feel?

Jim: Sure….teachers, religious leaders – even friends, or so called friends – take over where parents leave off. They demand that we feel only the feelings they want and expect from us. They demand all the time that we perform feelings for them. We’re like actors – turned loose in this world to wander in search of a phantom…endlessly searching for a half-forgotten shadow of our lost reality. When others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to destroy the person we really are. It’s a subtle kind of murder….the most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces.

Lizzie: Do you think it’s possible for an individual to free himself from these repressive forces on his own – all alone?

Jim: That kind of freedom can’t be granted. Nobody can win it for you. You have to do it on your own. If you look to somebody else to do it for you – somebody outside yourself – you’re still depending on others. You’re still vulnerable to those repressive, evil outside forces, too.

Lizzie: But isn’t it possible for people who want that freedom to unite – to combine their strength, maybe just to strengthen each other? It must be possible.

Jim: Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is….Most people love you for who you pretend to be….To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense…It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image – they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it – they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.

Full interview can be found here.

2 comments

  1. Great interview. Maybe someday we, as a people, will value the raw, true freedom Morrison talks about.

    I don’t fully engage in debates over policy not because I want to live in my rose-tinted bubble, but because I don’t see top-down policy as a good way to effect change. I believe a change of heart is all we have to focus on as actions will follow suit. Although we rarely celebrate the incremental, soft-spoken approaches, they are much more real to me. So I focus on the individual interactions in my daily life and empowering those around me to live the way they see fit. Their liberty is my liberty and our liberty. When we all have it, policy becomes obsolete. And, as Thoreau said, once we’re ready for it, that is kind of government we will have.

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