Sometimes I Think About a Second American Revolution
No doubt, there will be some sweeping generalizations as I write this. My post is about revolution and has little to do with art, except I’ll mention the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Sorry, Leonard Jacobs.
This morning I felt extremely cynical, and it’s not a new feeling since late in the evening of Nov. 8, 2016. Oh hell, who am I kidding; it hasn’t been new since 1963. Barack Obama hates that about me.
The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.
More revelations about the grifter Trump family since the weekend have driven me to distraction once again. The US was humiliated earlier this month in front of the entire world at the G20 (I actually don’t feel personally humiliated, because I didn’t vote for Donald Trump). The man in the President’s office (when he’s not golfing or roaming the halls of the White House, lie-tweeting) is deranged or compromised mentally in some way, and his cohorts are criminals. He allowed his mealy-mouthed, unqualified and un-elected daughter to sit in at a summit meeting, and the previous week he released a video of himself mauling a cartoon CNN reporter. I’m referring to the President of the United States, or at least the guy who has taken over the office with the help of a small coterie of thugs skilled in obfuscation. The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.
I’ve attended resistance meetings in NYC and I make many calls to my Democratic leadership, Republican leadership and committee leaders. I’ve joined groups and lists that update me daily on what actions are essential, and “What the fuck just happened?” I see a lot of people around me extremely involved politically, and others who are decidedly not, and I wonder why my Democratic leaders aren’t yelling their heads off every day at press conferences, standing side by side with responsible Republicans who believe we have grounds to impeach, and purge his gang. I go to meetings and listen to groups of earnest, intelligent and greatly informed people drill down to a dozen action committees, and then there are few people who stand up and say, “This is all too slow, we have to get radical.” I usually identify with those people.
“This is all too slow, we have to get radical.”
Every time I write or call my New York Senators, Schumer or Gillibrand I say, “I expect you to be working on this like a first term senator who’s trying to make her mark fast and furiously.” Their receptionists, clerks, interns, laugh, but I’m not kidding. We got where we are by being complacent and apathetic. For years, evil people in politics and the press have perfected the art of lying and propagating those lies through Fox and other fake news outlets. I’m not sure why the rest of us didn’t fight harder. Now the criminals have added bots and Russian hackers.
I think France does protest right. The public and aggrieved workers go out in the streets, disrupting commerce for days on end. In my American fantasy, I see the American public — actual patriots who view our country going to pieces — cops and soldiers, and a takeover of the White House. Is it a coup? Is it a revolution? I don’t advocate violence, but I question who among us, including myself, might begin to see it as a legitimate means to an end if a perfect threat to our safety or freedom coalesced? I never could understand the public outrage over the Malcolm X quote (taken from a speech to Peace Corps Volunteers in 1964) at the close of Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. It made perfect sense to me, that when all else failed, something stronger than a protest sign might become necessary to protect oneself.
I think there are plenty of good people in America, but there are also plenty of bad people in America and the bad ones are the ones who seem to have all the power and be in these positions to block things that you and I need. Because this is the situation, you and I have to preserve the right to do what is necessary to bring an end to that situation, and it doesn’t mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don’t even call it violence when it’s self-defense, I call it intelligence.
The following question popped into my head yesterday: “Are you prepared to die for your country, the American ideal and possibly your freedom?”
Others who came before me have been willing to die for what they believed in, and every man and woman in the armed services today is, theoretically, willing to do that as well. When you (I) advocate or fantasize about swarming the streets in this country in the name of justice for all, you have to be willing to take whatever comes because, guess what? The opposition has an arsenal. Martyrdom isn’t my first choice. If it came to civil war, the choice between fight or flight at this point in my life would be flight, if possible, to a warm and friendly climate. But if it were clear I was going to be faced with a fight instead, I wouldn’t surrender or die before I’d tried to lob a few grenades — in self defense — towards the encroaching army. Screw them.
I’d love to hear from people who have asked themselves some of these questions recently.