Several people are waiting on line at the grocery store ... one of them has tried to keep up with the occupy activities, and believes in them, but hasn't had the time in between two jobs and raising three kids to get involved, another one is desperately trying to keep their elderly parents from being foreclosed on, in the only home they've known for 45 years, and another person, only a year away from retirement, just lost their job.
And these people are feeling depressed, alone and helpless, wondering how this country got into this mess, and how in the world it might be possible to get out.
And as the cashier hands them their change, just as they are ready to fold the bills, they notice writing on them - a message sent from an American brother or sister, a simple message of solidarity and hope, and it brightens their spirits: "We are the 99% and it is OUR money!" or, "People over Profits!"
And in that moment as they wonder where that message came from, how far it had traveled, who else it touched -- a feeling of connectedness with others across the nation flickers for a moment, a light amidst darkness.
Then those same inked bills bring their "message in a bottle" through the banks, and then back to the citizens -- circulating the note 'round and 'round.
How many people might receive a "bank note" that inspires and encourages them to participate more fully in democracy, to actively join "We, the people"?
Ripple effects may be hard to measure, but that does not diminish their value. The influence of Thomas Paine's words has been credited with inspiring the American Revolution: John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense,' the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.
And on posters, placards and on dollar bills, Americans today spread a creative, contemporary version of "Common Sense," inspiring compatriots:
Where's our Bailout?
Lost my job, found an occupation!
Jobs not wars
People over profits!
Take the WMDs out of Wall Street
You know you are doing the right thing when Fox News says you're not.