This post was written by Julie in DC, who was arrested at the first Tar Sands Action in August. To join her and thousands of other people at the White House Nov. 6th, click here: http://www.tarsandsaction.org/sign-up
The reason I got arrested is simple: I decided that I had a moral obligation for my actions to reflect my words (Those words being: We are killing ourselves, our future, our planet with the unrelenting desire for more, bigger, faster). To be clear, this obligation was to myself only. When the opportunity was presented to me to act, i.e. be part of an organized civil disobedience protest, I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t join in. Particularly as I live in Washington, D.C. and I was (probably) only giving up a day of my time. I thought of all the people who had come before me and risked their lives to change the system through acts of civil disobedience, and I realized, if I couldn’t give up one day (or even a few) and be a bit uncomfortable and a bit scared, – or maybe even really scared – then my beliefs were meaningless. Women were beaten and jailed so that I could vote. People were killed so that African-Americans (and all Americans, really) could have Civil Rights. How could I not show up for something I believe in? I’m white, middle-class (well – probably not really as I earn so little, but you get my point, I think) – nothing really terrible was going to happen to me even if I did go to jail.
I think I am finally understanding what it means for us to all be connected. I really do believe this and I am getting less embarrassed to admit it publicly. Of course, I used to understand this on a very intellectual level, but I am now beginning to feel it seep into my soul – it is another level of understanding, more powerful. I think in our Western world of facts and intellect, we often disparage what we know by way of the heart and the soul. But I am finally understanding that God (or the Universe or Energy or whatever) is not limited by my lack of imagination. What a relief.
So, I got arrested because my heart told me to. November 6th I have another opportunity to listen to my heart.
I’m not sure the “official” title of this demonstration, but to myself I call it, “Hands and Hearts Around the White House.” It’s a chance to show President Obama, a man I deeply respect and admire, how much I want him to follow through on what he promised: Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil. This is the first time I have ever felt a deep and personal connection to a President – I mean, I truly believe he is MY President. I expect people to follow through on their promises. I am not jaded about all politics. I do believe there are good people in politics and in government. I want desperately for President Obama to show me he is as good as his word. I want to believe in him, and so I will show up on November 6th to give him support for following through on his promises. After all, all relationships are at least two-ways.
Just to be clear, getting arrested, demonstrating at the State Department hearings on October 7th, and showing up on November 6th are all deeply personal and selfish acts on my part. They are selfish because I feel good about myself when my actions reflect my beliefs. That I believe the results are good for the earth and for humanity is really secondary. That is the unspoken reality of all good deeds: we do good for others because it makes us feel good about ourselves. And there is nothing wrong with that, in fact it makes us all human.
I hope you will join me on November 6th. There is no way you’ll feel bad about doing it – and in fact, you’ll probably feel really good about yourself if you do.