One reason so many people in California and around the country “tune out” and don’t participate in our own government is they believe that creating change is beyond their control. It often seems that things are locked in by powerful, wealthy interests with regular people locked out of the process. This feeling of loss of control has been established by many disappointments over the years.
There are experiments in “learned helplessness” in which rats are unable to control when they are given shocks. Eventually they just lie down and give up.
For example, rats that have been exposed to shocks that they cannot control often become strikingly passive when later placed in new traumatic situations. They appear numb to the new trauma as if they have “given up.” Alternatively, they also become especially fearful of environments where they experience similar traumas and will try to avoid such situations.
Does this sound like you, or people you know? Or maybe way too much of the state and country?
Take heart, for things CAN change! In Australia’s last election the people threw out the bad-on-the-environment conservative government and brought in a government that promises to immediately sign the Kyoto anti-global-warming agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
And look who the new government is placing in charge of its environmental policies! Former Midnight Oil rocker Garrett named Australia’s environment minister,
Peter Garrett – the towering, baldheaded former singer of the disbanded Australian rock group Midnight Oil – continued his long, strange tour from pop star to politician Thursday when he was named Australia’s environment minister.
With his wild dancing and strident voice, Garrett was one of Australia’s most recognizable singers until his band broke up in 2002, after belting out politically charged hits for more than 25 years.
Garrett founded Midnight Oil when he was a law student in 1973, but the semi-punk rock group did not achieve global fame until its 1987 track “Beds are Burning” – a protest song about Aboriginal land rights in Australia.
And so, to celebrate, here is something we can all “tune in” to:
Midnight Oil, Beds are Burning: