The first day I saw the Occupy Wall Street protests, I was inspired. I know I was not the only one who felt this way. A cluster of young people, overflowing hormones, arguing with cops who had no guns. That was the ideal teenage dream right there. ‘We are the young the reckless and the restless. We want to change the world’. I really wanted to be part of that movement. So, I watched them on CNN every day and learned all their slogans and chants.
One day I was watching the protests on a Saturday afternoon when my mom entered the parlor and told me to go and clean my room. I begged her to clean the room later but she objected and turned off the TV. I sulked all the way back to my room. I almost slammed the door before I remembered I was not in a Hollywood movie and so I gently closed the door and set out to work.
Just like any other teenage boy’s room, my room was a mess. Clothes resting on the armchair laid out in some strata starting from the dirtiest at the bottom to the ‘can still be rocked’ at the top. Shoes were all over the place and my books were scattered on the reading table. Everything was out of order and I had been procrastinating the date of the so-called clean up.
As I was folding the clothes and sorting the dirty ones from my clean ones, I found a piece of paper in one of my shirt pockets and from what was written on it, I realized that I had not been doing a lot of things I had set out to do over the year. I could barely recall what my New Year’s revolution was. I sat down back on the bed and peering into the paper, I drifted into faraway Thoughtsville.
Here I was, clamoring to become a part of revolution that will change the world for the better while I was yet to get my own room in order. My affairs were in total disarray and I was thinking of how to make things better for 7 billion other people who could care any less about my existence or non-existence. I was demanding change and yet, I couldn’t even clean my own room.
It dawned on me that the reason why most revolutions fail is that people let emotions control them. And as is all-evident, emotions speak louder than sense, and most of the time, whoever shouts the loudest wins the argument. Not because they know what they are talking about, but because sense does not like noise. My head was a jungle, my affairs were in jumbles, my room was in shambles and the whole world trembled.
This is why in the southern part of a sub-Saharan country, some group of people who are in constant search of whom to blame for their poor decisions and misfortune have decided to fight against tanks with sticks and stones. Emotions over common sense. These people are yet to clean their own rooms but they want the power to run an entire house. In the end, they will ask for help to get rid of the bug infested house and the rooms will seek to break free from the house leading to the eventual collapse of the house itself.
The revolution is a farce because your mindset is false. Tame your demons. Clean out your rooms. The revolution will complete itself.