Some people believe we shouldn’t complain too loudly, protest too vigorously or argue too passionately – the theory being that if we appear too leftist, too radical or too seriously committed to our beliefs that people who don’t share those beliefs will be offended and therefore unlikely to become seriously committed radical leftists themselves one day. Well I have big news; those dim bulbs are not likely to ever shine – certainly not in response to our stifling ourselves. For once, let’s let the smart people have their say.
If one guy believes in global warming denial, torture, war profiteering, and ripping off the poor and another guy objects to all of these things, then one of these guys is right and one is wrong. This is not merely a difference this is a distinction. I’m not saying the latter individual is more human than the former, I’m saying he is a better human…period.
I have written before on how the hippies and the radicals had it right and should have been listened to in diaries like In Defense of Hippies and Remember Where You Heard It First. My purpose then, as now, was not to gloat, not to play some one-upmanship game, but to point out a simple truth: regarding the ideas that have divided us for lo these many decades, some of us have been right and some of us have been dead fucking wrong. We no longer have time to banter back and forth about it; we desperately need to do the right thing post haste.
We have to set our petty diversions (like celebrity gossip) and insane distractions (like war and empire) aside and begin to focus for all we’re worth on our very real problems: environmental degradation, alternative energy, potable water, safe food, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, education, restoration of human rights, a crumbling infrastructure, reforming our government and economic system before they destroy the planet, etcetera, etcetera.
Some people have said to me ‘I don’t trust anyone who claims to know the truth.’ My response is that some truths are complicated and some truths are simple. It’s no great horror to know the simple truth when you see it. Torture is an abomination, dropping bombs on babies is an outrage, people deserve healthcare and good treatment, and lying to the people is no way to run a democracy. All of these things are true.
One does not compromise with Straussians, neocons, chickenhawks or clueless bastards. People who still support George W. Bush, torture and war profiteering at this late stage of human history are beyond reason or persuasion. There is no point whatsoever in worrying about how such people see things, what they might say, or how they might characterize our actions or arguments. These people should not be appeased or wooed, they should be marginalized and driven back under the rocks from which they have slithered.
We shouldn’t be focused on the morans of the world. We should be focused on those who haven’t responded to democrats, liberals, or politics in general precisely because they have never been able to see what’s in it for them. With politicians talking out of both sides of their mouths and acting only in their own self-interest and that of the lobbyists who buy their attention. And many of those who might be expected to respond to liberals and democrats see too much hypocrisy and not enough difference between us and the other side. Call me a dirty Naderite all you like, that last point is more than valid.
A lot of people are put off by those who think our only recourse is to out-republican the republicans, or that if we act like big dim-witted selfish jerks (like the repubs) maybe more people will like us. Let’s not join the other side. Let’s not pander to the lowest common denominator. Instead, let’s hold out a beacon of hope for the powerless, the discriminated against, the left out and left behind. Let’s go after all of those who have been excluded from modern American politics. Let’s not play that little game that makes us beholden for the votes of assholes, let’s change the whole premise – let’s give a voice to the worthy for a damned change. How many people have never voted because there has never been an honest champion (who didn’t get shot) for their needs and concerns? Plenty, is my answer to that question.
People are always telling me that if you say what’s good, right and true you’ll lose support. It takes a certain level of obfuscation and sheer bullshit to maintain popular support goes that theory. You can’t hope to educate the population – you have to buffalo them. Instead of raising them up, you have to stoop down to their level. You have to pretend to believe all kinds of wacky shit. You can’t really get anywhere by being against war for example, they say.
I say that those people are thinking in small familiar ways. They are not daring to consider what if we did it all differently? What if we set this worthless and hopelessly corrupt government on its head and gave people a REAL choice for truth and powerful pro-human policies instead of the usual screwing we’re all used to? What if we yanked back the curtain and let some sunlight into our government for a change? What if we offered to liberate the masses? Would there be any takers? What if we offered people a real alternative, leveled the playing field, and made our justice system actually serve the principle for which it is named?
What if we redistributed the wealth? Rich people hate to hear it but it’s a great idea – an idea whose time has come if you ask me. In a country this rich most people should be better off. We should all have health insurance and access to QUALITY education for example. We should have fewer gazillionaires and more bridges that aren’t on the verge of collapse, more hospitals and fewer ghettoes, more well fed children and fewer homeless, better public schools and fewer prisons, a vastly smaller military (nobody really threatens us – WE are the biggest bully on this planet) and more desalination plants, fewer idle rich and more help for the poor, fewer golden parachutes for pampered millionaires and more of a safety net for those in serious need.
We should be ashamed of what we have become, and we should propose bold new plans to reform our degenerate nation into something of which we can all be proud. We have never fully lived up to our promise in America and it’s high time we did.
All of these things have been true for all of my 55 years. What’s different today is the certain knowledge that we are running out of time. In fact it’s a damned good question if we have run out of it altogether.
There is no more time for patience. There is no more time for chasing our tails, spitting in the wind or shooting in the dark. We can’t get out of the hole we have dug for ourselves by digging harder. If we are to save the life-sustaining capacity of this planet we must act boldly and with all due haste. We can ill-afford to waste any more of the precious time we have left.
So what do we do?
Of course we have to do more than just demonstrate but we need to step that effort up BIGTIME! We need to fill the streets and scream bloody murder at what’s being done in our names!
Don’t believe the rightwing propaganda that demonstrations aren’t effective because they are.
Al Gore agrees with me that demonstrations are in fact effective and do bring about change…which is of course why the wingnuts want to convince us otherwise.
What are you doing October 27th?
The United for Peace and Justice folks have civil actions planned in numerous places throughout the country on that day. My son and I are going to Jonesborough, Tennessee where they manufacture Depleted Uranium munitions. Major simultaneous actions are planned in ten other locations.
Momentum is building toward Saturday, October 27th — from Orlando to Seattle, from New York to New Orleans. On that day, people from all walks of life will gather in 11 cities around the country in a national expression of the breadth and depth of antiwar sentiment in this nation. For many people, it will be their first step in transforming their antiwar feelings into antiwar action. Regional actions will enable much larger numbers of people to participate.
People everywhere want the war to end, but Washington has failed to take decisive action. With each passing month, the Iraq disaster claims the lives of nearly 100 service people and countless Iraqis as it drains 12 billion of our tax-dollars. Our communities are neglected and suffer the consequences.
On October 27th, the people will speak: We want this war to end, and we want it to end now!
We have to stop this insane war and get focused on saving our planet and figuring out how to sustain ourselves for the long term without all the madness and hysteria. Come out into the streets of America and do your part for the cause.
Some links of interest: