Follow me to the Field.

(9:30PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

  I started earning my own money in the first grade. Me and my little buddy David, my best bud back then, decided we could get rich shoveling driveways and sidewalks. By springtime David and I were starting to like having a little money so we expanded our operations to mowing yards. My dad said that as long as we kept oil and gas in the mower we were welcome to use it. It felt like we had been given the keys to the financial kingdom of our dreams. I liked David because he was a quiet kid who laughed like crazy at every one of my stupid jokes and he never stole anything from me. David liked me because I didn’t make fun of him and didn’t let other kids beat him up when I was around.  

He had a really fucked up speech impediment that made him a target for abuse from nearly everyone in the neighborhood. He was the youngest and scrawniest kid from a family of 10 kids and Dirt Poor.  Even his own shit-head brothers picked on him relentlessly. One time in 2nd grade a couple 4th graders jumped him in the field behind our houses. I heard him screaming from my yard and when I saw  who the two were that had him down on the ground pounding on him, I grabbed a big stick, then ran out and cracked the biggest of the two upside the head and then started wailing on the other one. Every single bully I’ve ever dealt with has been the same, one minute they are abusive arrogant assholes, and as soon as they are stripped of their power advantage, they become whimpering little punks, begging for mercy, in less than two shakes of a tail feather. Or more accurately, Two Cracks from a Big Stick.

We had one other pretty dramatic incident happen a few years later. We had both been getting our asses kicked and our pockets emptied by some douchebag from another neighborhood. Mean little fucker, the rumor was he was 16 years old  already, and a drop out.  Back then “drop out” meant just about the same thing as “axe murdering convict”, to us kids. Everyone was scared shitless of him. “Brad” was the monsters name.. He almost always caught us far enough from home that we couldn’t  outrun him. The first couple times he beat the shit out of us and then robbed us. The next two or three times we just gave him the money and he slapped us around a bit for not having more cash to give him.  One time after he took our money he whipped out his cock and pissed all over David. That made him cry, and something in my head broke that day while I stood there feebly watching, and it never reconnected itself.  In between those times we managed to outrun the son of a bitch once in awhile and flipped him the bird and told him to Suck It!, just before we slammed the front door and collapsed giggling, exhilarated with adrenaline and the safety of home.

The last time it happened was something I’ll never forget.

David and I were out riding our bikes when all of a sudden here comes Brad around the corner on his bike.

I knew instantly we couldn’t get home fast enough. I told David, “let’s get to the field” behind our houses.

We took a short cut through a yard and when we got to the field I jumped off my bike and grabbed the chain lock I kept wrapped around the seat post and told David not to make a move, just stand there and be quiet.

Brad came crashing through the hedges a few seconds later about 50 foot away and started making his way towards us. When he got about 10 feet away he hopped off his bike letting it crash in the overgrown grass and started talking some shit about how he was almost starting to feel bad about kicking our little pussy asses and stealing our hard earned money. He kept walking closer to me and had this smug, bumptious look on his face, right up until I pulled that chain lock from behind my back and smashed him right in the fucking face with it.

He went down like I’d shot him with a .45

I kept hitting him with that chain and David went fucking berserk. He pounced on him like a rabid badger, kicking, hitting, head butting, he even bit the fucker a few times. At one point Brad got up and took off running, we chased and caught him in of all places, my own backyard. We kept beating him until my mom came out to see what all the commotion was and had to pull me off that bastard. Looking back I think we probably would have killed him had my mom not intervened. I wasn’t trying to kill him, or thinking about killing him, something in me just snapped, and I could not stop hitting him.

He had stolen not just my money, my sense of dignity, my illusions of fairness in the world, but a large piece of my world itself. Every goddamn day for over a year, every time I went anywhere I had this sense of panic, would today be the day?   Would I be the one forced to stand there impotently while this vile boy in a mans body pissed all over me?  And then it was over. With a decision to stand up and fight, a decision that took less than the time of a single heartbeat to make, it was over. He disappeared.

I can’t pretend to be anything other than who I am. Just a man who grew up in rough neighborhoods, surrounded by the social and pathological dysfunctions that are rampant among the poor and what used to be the lower middle class. Alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, kids raising themselves, while their parents struggled in dirty dimly lit factories and job shops, filled with the toxic air of solvents and oils, the ear splitting thunder of headers and presses, sixty hours a week toiling away at repetitive tasks most people couldn’t do for more than an hour.

I never went to college, hell I barely have a formal ninth grade education if you stop counting at the time I tuned out the monotonous, bland existence of life in underfunded public schools.

I’m lucky, I never lost my curiosity and my thirst for knowledge. I read, a lot. Maybe too much. I watch, I listen, and along the way I’ve learned quite a few things not just from books, but from living. From the poverty of my childhood, to some extraordinary adventures as a young man, to being a single father for ten years, finding love in a second marriage, all of these experiences have taught me great lessons.

Of all the things I know, the one thing I am sure of that is of importance to the days in which we are living, is this: Power never concedes anything. I made a comment last night in NBBooks diary  Need to be ruthless and punitive toward Wall Street

At some point (17+ / 0-)

people are going to have to understand the basic fact that power never concedes anything.  It must be ripped from their greedy hands in the most unkind manner. They will take the 7 trillion and another 70 trillion while bodies pile up the the streets from starvation and not bat an eye.

I honestly don’t think the corporate overlords and the financial wizards will change their behaviors in any way shape or form until we start mounting their heads on pikes in front of their gilded corporate lobbys. Nothing in the history of the last 10,000 years leads me to any other conclusion.

To which moviemiester76 replied to with a quote from Frederick Douglass

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

When I started writing this it really had no point, I was writing for relaxation, but at some point an idea occurred to me, which was why I told the story of David and I slaying our oppressor.

Obama has been saying one thing since the beginning of his career, certainly since the beginning of his run to the presidency, and it is this; His election is not about him, it is about us. It is not about the power of the office of president, it is about we the people taking back our power. The fierce urgency of now. And while he couldn’t say it outloud I think he has been calling us, let’s get to the field.

We are there. We made it to the field and in a few more days we will face our oppressors with the newly acquired Big Stick of the presidency. It is up to us to make him use it.

Keep writing, keep criticizing, keep yelling, screaming and encouraging. No man can make the changes this country is in dire need of, Obama has laid down the challenge and in spite of my initial reaction to much of the condemnation directed at him and some of his recent decisions, I think it is exactly what he has been asking us to do.

Chains and sticks are the weapons of children who have no other means to fight giants.

Our weapons must be our minds, our ideas, our perseverance and our compassion for humanity.

Let’s go kick some ass.

22 comments

Skip to comment form

    • FireCrow on December 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm
      Author

    Hope this finds you all warm, sheltered and fed.

  1. You bring to mind a couple of quotes from MLK:

    Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

    • jessical on December 20, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    …kickin’ essay.  Just remarkable, to the bone.

    • Viet71 on December 21, 2008 at 1:11 am

    what you said.

    Most nights.

    Usually I lose.  Sometimes I win.

    In Vietnam, it was for real.  You tried to stay alive.

    Every day was a real dream.

    Thanks for your diary.

    Hope to see you again.

  2. Our knowledges, understandings and logic come from many, many places.  

    Terrific analogy!

    • dkmich on December 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I am glad you kicked his ass and bet you did him a huge favor in the long run.  My husband tells a story about his childhood where his cousin was intimidated into holding him while the tormentors threw lit matches at him.  As a result, my husband’s rage can be much larger than his frame.

    At one time, I thought Obama was sending us a message.  Now, I don’t think so anymore.  The anger over the gay bigot praying at us was simply silenced by him when they shut down comments on the site.  If he was trying to encourage a participatory democracy, he would have uninvited the holy douchebag by now.  

Comments have been disabled.