A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. ~ John F. Kennedy
America stands at a crossroads, although the exact nature of that fork in the road is widely debated. Many feel that it is the choice between violent revolution or peaceful civil renaissance. Those on the left tend towards the opinion that this is the brink between a capitalist or socialist economic system. Those on the right lean more towards this being the epochal decision between Constitutional freedoms and a nanny state. All of these opinions are correct. Much like a patient who feels the fever without understanding the underlying disease, people are united in voicing their unease that our current conditions can or should continue as is, and fill their uncertainty as to root causes with whatever seems to make sense from their limited biases. This is a case of thinking too hard. The answer is actually quite simple. The choice facing America today is to continue in the direction our leaders have set for us, or to plot a change of course.
Change is the only thing that stays the same, and yet we resist it. Change takes us outside of our comfort zone, into the unknown, and perhaps out of the fat and into the fire. We may understand inherently that things never stay the same, and also that our current path is not one destined for a good resolution, and yet mankind has this tendency to sit back and take the path of least resistance. Wise words were once spoken on this very subject.
… All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
You may recognize the quote. It was written at another time in human history when we faced the choice of taking our destiny and our citizenship into our own hands, or acquiescence to the usurpations of uncaring leaders. It’s part of the Declaration of Independence.
The time is ripe for an alteration from our current disastrous course. In the most recent poll, taken a mere three days ago, Obama had an approval rating of 24%. Congress is even worse, scoring just 9% three months ago. Voter turnout has been declining for decades as Americans become disenfranchised with an unresponsive political system and no palatable options. Americans are adamant that they are fed up. Change will happen; the only question is whether it will come at the hands of leaders America professes to hate and distrust, or via the citizens.
Citizens disgusted with the system – which, by all polls, are the vast majority of you – continue to take up their constitutionally-protected rights to agitate for a change of course. People in power also don’t like change, especially anything that involves losing some of that carefully hoarded power. These power elites have taken up an assault on constitutionally-protected rights in order to protect their non-existent ‘right’ to rule. Your first amendment rights, formally acknowledged in the Constitution to be an absolute right not ruled by government whim, has been corralled into “Free Speech Zones” the government selects for you, during hours of the day the government decides are appropriate to its purposes, and only with a permission slip you paid the government to receive.
And if you object to this too loudly? Government-subsidized men with court-approved low IQs and psychological exams designed to weed out men with sympathy will beat and shoot you.
Tell me again about these rights you have. They no longer exist. You let them be taken away.
Another quote from John F. Kennedy is, “Do not pray for easier lives. Pray to be stronger men.” We cannot stop this collision course between that classic conundrum of the unstoppable force – an arrogant leadership – and the immovable object – America’s distrust in their own system. It is not possible to beat American distrust until all is well again. Neither is it possible to ignore power-mad leaders until they become more interested in the common welfare. Action will be taken, the only question is which action.
Many would love Occupy Denver to go home. Change is uncomfortable, and they’re still hopeful that if they hide their heads in the sand and ignore the problem long enough, it will magically disappear on its own. In truth, the best case scenario is that Occupy Denver never goes home, never gives up.
The worst thing that could happen is that Occupy Denver goes home and goes away. Then, citizens of Denver would be left with politicians and their police who have learned well that their citizens do not truly care about their rights as Americans. That is a lesson they will use again, and it will not be only against people the corporate media tells you are unlikeable. No, this is one lesson repeated many times throughout the course of history and the outcome was always the same.
It will be used against you.
People are funny.
There’s a sort of person one gets used to meeting when one is with Occupy; the armchair activist, the sideseat protestor, or, as I like to call them, people who Occupy Twitter. They come in many flavors. There’s the rabid progressive liberal who finds it personally offensive to discover conservatives at Occupy. There’s the conservative God, Guns and Gays issue-politics Republican who is convinced every “Occutard” loves Obama and joined the Occupation at the President’s behest. There’s those who voice support but also add that they wish we would protest <insert pet cause here>, and there are always those who second-guess every little thing we do; from allowing Denver’s homeless population to join our ranks freely and the burning of our own structures to the presence of cigarette smoke within fifty feet of a General Assembly – in a public park.
America has many opinions. The revolution should be about human rights. The revolution should be about the environment, with a side order of save the whales. The revolution should be run by Republicans, because God doesn’t like hippies and socialists have never successfully revolted. Everyone should take showers, because in the Battle of Valley Forge, George Washington may have been barefoot and sleeping in a ragged tarp in the snow, but he was clean-shaven. We need to be non-violent, like Gandhi. We need to arm ourselves and take to the streets, like the colonial Minutemen.
All of these people share something in common. It is that they have an internal vision of how the revolution should be run, and that they choose not to take their own advice. It is always “what you people should be doing”, and never “what I should be doing”.
I have a saying for the myriad almost-protestors who come down to Occupy and start off a conversation with a wonderful idea on which someone else should spend a lot of time and effort.
“I’ve got a full plate, pal. If you don’t want to do it, why should I?”
That not every element of the Occupy revolution is your cuppa tea is without question. What you should be asking instead, if you have any intelligence at all, is whether you consider today’s world situation to be tenable. Everything okay with you? With your family, your job? You fine with the political situation? More power to you, and how’s the weather on your planet?
Here on Earth, we’re facing a police state, economic collapse and a political court reminiscent of Mad King George (which ended well, I’m sure we recall). If you’re fine with all this, well and good. We wish you all the best. Go from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. May your chains rest lightly upon you, and may posterity forget you were ever our countrymen.
Ten years ago, Congress had an approval rating of 56%. According to CNN, these days Congress is running a solid 9%. If, like 91% of Americans here on planet Earth, you agree that these 535 utter twats are running our economy and country into the ground, then you have only one question to ask yourself.
Why aren’t you angry enough to do something about it?
Let’s be real here. Occupy is nothing more than a handful of ordinary Americans who have reached their limit, their “Eureka!” moment. When given the choice between the fiction of wealth or liberty, they chose liberty. You chose to stay in the comfort of your living room.
If ye prefer the tranquility of servitude to the animated contest of freedom, you have our blessings. If, however, you prefer the pretense of activism via Twitter and the internet to actually taking a stand, sit down before you hurt yourself. You are the most ineffective advocate on earth. Most people think you’re not only lazy, but a nutcase. And you are most certainly on the watch lists.
This is a DIY revolution. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
Lead, follow, or get the fuck out of our way.
In a state of post-holiday semi-sotted bliss, borrowing quotes like they’ll be outlawed tomorrow,
Locke in Socks
You know, I’m fed up right to here with comments of, “Why isn’t OWS protesting the war,” and, “Why isn’t OWS protesting gay marriage” and, “Why isn’t OWS protesting outsourcing manufacturing to Mexico and China?”
OWS is everyone. It is a microcosm of America, a tiny slice of fed-up citizens who are just tired of the greed and corruption which have usurped our country, and are exercising their right to let TPTB know about their dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms. This is not a political party trying to sell you a platform – they are your neighbor, your student, your coworker. Just people. Pissed off people. Are you pissed off? Then all that separates you from OWS is they are at city hall with a sign, whereas you are fuming in the isolation of your living room.
You want OWS to protest your pet cause? Make a sign and take it to your local Occupy. Wave it around for a few hours. If the spirit moves you, make an impassioned argument with the People’s Mike. Et voila, OWS is now protesting your cause. Someone will capture images of your sign, and others around the world will see it, and what “OWS” is protesting. If your impassioned plea is sound, people will see the sense of what you say and though you might leave, they will add your arguments to signs of their own.
In other words, you should ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Complain in the comfort of your living room that other Americans are not doing all the work of braving the elements to take your personal cause to TPTB, or get off your bum and do it yourself.
Do, or do not. There is no whine.
Love from (still) my living room,
Locke In Socks