Creativity reveals itself in many different forms and genres. In fact, I believe that creativity weaves its tendrils into every facet of our lives, showing us ways of being and doing that we hadn’t noticed before.
As a species, our rulers throughout history have devised many creative ways to control those around them. Some used pure fear and terror, like Vlad the Impaler who allegedly used blunt objects driven vertically through a person to torture and kill them. Others, like Adolph Hitler, used a combination of charisma and carnage. And a choice few, like Mahatma Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., have reminded the world that tremendous change can be ushered nonviolently through civil disobedience.
In the United States, at this seemingly monumental juncture in our history, we are witnessing an attempt at control that would be laughable in its transparency were it not so potentially devastating in its implications. Our President just fired our Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation amid one of the most intriguing and possibly politically terrifying investigations we have seen in our nation. In the midst of an attempt to determine the extent to which an adversarial foreign government interfered with our election, the supposed benefactor of that interference has terminated the individual in charge of the investigation. Not only should this action trouble every citizen of this nation, but the lack of creativity employed should be almost equally offensive. We’ve seen this play before, Mr. President, and we know how it ends.
Our government is designed to control us, that’s the purpose of a government. Control is necessary for civil order – there must be a set of rules which are known by the population and followed by the majority in order for us all to get along and prosper. In our current experiment with democracy, in our own sacred Republic, control is supposed to be determined by the citizens – that is, we as citizens are permitted to choose the individuals who will control us. One could perhaps argue that we as individuals have relinquished too much control to our government. I think you will find people from both the left and the right united on the same side of this argument. The two sides differ vastly, of course, in their opinions of exactly how and where we have ceded too much control. One side believes the government has too much control over the money they take home in their pockets while the other side believes that by allowing health care to be financially out of reach for a large segment of the population, the government is taking control over which citizens die or receive a chance at life in our country.
During the next eighteen months, before we have the opportunity to again choose a handful of people to control us as a nation, perhaps we as individuals need to become more creative in controlling what we can about this country of ours. Many of us – again, on both sides of the aisle – have done quite a bit of soul searching in the past year to find (or remind ourselves) what really matters to each of us. And it’s important to remember in these times when it is so very easy to talk in terms of “us” and “them” that barring outright psychosis what really matters most to each of us is the safety and well being of our families and loved ones. So keeping this in mind, remember too that this nation is a family and it would serve us well to fight for its well being. It is time for us to use our individual creativity to improve our family, our community.
One easy way to creatively gain some control is to spend your time and money in ways allied with your belief system. This takes some effort on your part to research companies and organizations and identify ones which operate in accordance to your values, but your efforts will be rewarded as voting daily with your dollars is an undoubtedly effective way in which to facilitate change. (Just look at the rapid growth of the organic foods market as an example.)
Another way in which you could gain some control over changes you wish to see is to become involved in your community by starting a community garden, becoming a mentor for at-risk kids, or starting an exercise group to get people moving. Take food to an elderly person. Pack an extra lunch for a kid at school who may need it. Find a way to counteract a government policy or benefit reversal with which you wholeheartedly disagree – even if you are only able to do so in a small way. You will likely never know the full extent to which you may be helping. And hopefully you will inspire others to do the same.