Revolution: a different view
I don't know about you, but I can hear it. I can feel it. It's bubbling just under the surface, with Congressional testimony of tinker-thieves and vanished votes. It's riding on the tide of recrimination against a SecDef bereft of accountability or empathy. It's careening around and echoing off the fractured walls of the Democratic Party.
The revolution isn't coming. The revolution is here.
"The tree of liberty," Thomas Jefferson said, "must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." That's probably Jefferson's most famous quote. While it is most often employed in a cautionary tone, and while it may invoke the idea of revolt rather than the idea of revolution, I argue that we are already bleeding profusely.
I argue that in a country that upholds itself as the exemplar of democracy, it is an act of violence to deprive a citizen of his or her right to vote, and that the act is even more egregious when the citizen is led to believe his or her vote was counted. While reasonable people continue to dispute whether the net effect of such instances would have changed the outcome of our Presidential election, the evidence of organized efforts to suppress the democratic process in this country for partisan reasons is incontravertible. If you doubt that the stakes are life and death, consider the decisions our President makes every day. Put yourself in the shoes of a National Guardsman, a true patriot and father, whose tour has been extended as a result of misbegotten policy, and tell me we are not paying the price in blood.
How many of us have seen protests put down with violence, at least until the TV cameras show up?
Does anyone doubt that we are living under the formal definition of tyranny in today's United States? We are being called to fear, conditioned to fear, subjected to ever-increasing doses as our tolerance inches higher, almost unnoticed, month after month. No one in power speaks of an end to our condition. We are told to get used to it. We are told to get in line and buy our camera phones. We are told to watch what we say. When we object to intrusions into our homes, our mail, and our personal habits, we're told that we shouldn't have anything to worry about if we're not hiding anything.
None of this feels right to us. I imagine it feels wrong even to most of the people who voted Republican in November. It feels wrong because it's not American. This isn't my country, and I want it back. So many of you feel the same way, and so many of you are nobly fighting the war of ideas and values. Ultimately, the war of ideas and values must become a war of behavior. It has to become a revolution, natural-born.
I'm not advocating bloodshed, certainly no more than is currently being visited upon us. I'm advocating revolution as the wholesale dismissal of fear. I'm advocating revolution as disobedience en masse. I know you're feeling me.
Does anyone think it immoral for electronically disenfranchised voters or gay victims of marriage discrimination to cease paying taxes to a government that no longer gives them a voice or represents their interests? Impractical, perhaps, but how desperate do things have to get before desperate measures are taken?
Bring it even closer to home. Does the Democratic Party of today or tomorrow represent your values? Does anyone think it immoral for genuine liberals or progressives to hold their party to higher standards, or abandon it if it shows itself willing to compromise our most dearly held principles? Impractical, maybe, but how many palatable hedge artists deserve a turn at bat? When will we agree that vision, leadership, and even defiance are the only way out of this dark alley?
It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Revolution implies the existence of cycles, circular progressions. The Mayan calendar "rolls over" in another eight years, in what Terence McKenna has predicted as a "harmonic convergence." The nature of the change he and others predict is uncertain, but metaphysicists suggest we may be approaching an inflection point in reality itself, after which power structures become irrelevant and absurd. Perhaps it's a coincidence that 2012 is an election year, and perhaps it's not, but the signs of revolution on the rise are everywhere. The emergence of this community, for example.
The purpose of this diary is not to pontificate, but to stimulate ideas -- and not the incremental kind. What does the revolution look like from where you sit? What's your part in it? And when will we know it's over?