From A Well Regulated Militia http://www.awrm.org/ and you'll have to register...
Credibility by Holden Carre
Every single day there are Americans out there in this great land earning thier chops with direct action or simply protesting in the streets. They are making it known that they will no longer accept this corrupt system in which a ruling class of corporate masters and their political dogs turn this country into a fascist police state.
When I first started going to marches and different events and doing different things I thought I was doing something for my people, for all Americans.
What I eventually came to was this... I was doing it for myself so that I could be brave, for it is a most terrible feeling to fear our government. Before I became active in the anti-fascist movement I was afraid of the government and that made me angry and with that came the thoughts that I had to do something, what I don't know, but wanting to do something and not know what to do made me feel useless and that made me angry too.
So initially I start stocking up and networking. Then I became paranoid because I was still living in fear.
It was very difficult for me to put myself out there the first time I publically protested. but after I did it I knew I had credibility.
People are funny, mostly its the civilians, once they have learned that you are active they seem to pay more attention when you are telling them... oh say, Whenever I hear a speech by some politician or oligarch I am always trying to figure out what the trick is... or say, hell it doens't matter, people will listen a little more and not put it off as a conspiracy.
Most Americans are sitll in denial, they don't want to believe what is happening and where we are headed. I think a lot of people woke up at the same time with this Occupy movement, they were mad and hit the streets.
The five stages of awakening is an interesting concept. It is like the 5 stages of grief after a loved ones death, but I am off ona tangent.
After a while it became easy because I am not afraid anymore. The truth is you can go out in public and say anything you want to say as long as you don't threaten to hurt anyone or yourself or threaten to destroy property. And then if you get arrested, so what.
When I got out of the Corps I attended Western Kentucky University. Being a man I was not going to live in a dorm with the kids so I rented small houses or apartments within walking distance of the campus.
It was in these neighborhoods that I found groups of people that I had always heard about but had never really interracted with. The tree huggers/hippies, the dopers, the frat/sorority houses. My first set of neighbors were militant lesbian libertarians.
Who Knew! Certainly not me, growing up on the Kentucky/Tennessee state line and joining the Corps as soon as I could left me ignorant about people in general.
Rites of passage are now rare in America. For it is a shame that a great majority of American males have not made the transition to manhood.
Credibility. Rite of Passage. Seems like there might be a connection there.
So I met all these different kinds of people while I was in school and in the summers I met other people while I was out earning my tuition money. I learned that we all have this common belief that America is not headed in the right direction. Everyone felt that the system was beyond repair and something has to be done.
As the GI bill helped it was certainly not enough to pay my way. I worked tobacco and on towboats, anything to pay the bill, some hard work with tough men and some easy work with all the rest.
I learned few things from the older men that I worked with. It is that if you want to have credibility, you have to damn well do what you say you are going to do. As a green grunt I learned that I had no right to complain about anything untill I had passed a few tests, a few rites of passage. Same as being a green deckhand on a towboat, untill you have lived it your words alone will not affirm your claims of competence or credibility. We are all in this together.