Guest Post: You Can’t Lock Up an Idea



Image via Wikipedia

Sweetie is going to have to get his own blog soon.

As we watch governments send police into city parks to forcibly remove the protesters along with their tents and belongings I can’t help think I’ve seen this somewhere before. The Occupy Movement is aimed at drawing attention to incredible imbalance that is growing around the world. The distance between haves and have-nots is increasing every day. We are living in a situation where 1% of the world’s peoples own and direct 85% of the world’s wealth. The so-called middle class is becoming an endangered species. We’ve seen that 1% and their political puppets escape any accountability for the current economic plight. In fact the huge bonuses are back. To quote one journalist, “They’ve privatized the profit and socialized the loss”.

Admittedly the Occupy Movement has yet to bring forth a clear focus for much needed social change. But like all struggles you’ve got to start somewhere. Coming out of the Great Depression true leadership emerged around the concept of a caring society. Leaders with courage and vision beyond the next poll or election offered ideas and hope. One such leader, Tommy Douglas, recognized as the father of Medicare, told the story of Mouseland. Its truth resonates as much today as it did in the 1940’s. It’s worth another look:


“This is the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do.

They even had a parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards, too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government.

A government made up of big, fat, black cats.

Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government of cats, look at the history of Canada for the last 90 years and maybe you’ll see they weren’t any stupider than us.

Now I’m not saying anything against the cats. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws – that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren’t very good for mice.

One of the laws said that mouse holes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only run at certain speeds – so a cat could get his breakfast without too much effort.

All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn’t put up with it any more, they decided that something had to be done. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in white cats.

Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said, “All Mouseland needs is more vision.” They said, “The trouble with Mouseland is the round mouse holes. If you put us in we’ll make square mouse holes.” And they did. And the square mouse holes were twice as big as the round ones, and now a cat could get both paws in. And life was tougher than ever.

And when they couldn’t take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and black ones in again. Then they went back to white cats. Then to black cats. They even tried half black and half white cats. And they called that a coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: They were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.

You see, my friends, the trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice.

Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, “Look fellows, why do we keep electing a government made up of cats? Why don’t we elect a government made up of mice?” “Oh,” they said, “he’s a Bolshevik. Lock him up!” So they put him in jail.

But I want to remind you: That you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can’t lock up an idea.”

So as they pull down the tents, arrest and gas and beat the protesters it’s worth remembering Tommy’s observation. Fairness has never been created through the force of a night stick. And you can never lock up an idea.



About saxbergonstuff

I'm a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a daughter, an auntie. When I'm not focusing on that, I'm an educator, facilitator and content designer. When I feel like it.
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