Remember, Remember the 8th of November

I voted yesterday. It’s what I do, what I think we should all do. However, this is a representative democracy and you’re as free as the next man (or woman) to abstain. That’s fine. Go for it. I know my vote itself doesn’t matter. That’s really the point. One vote shouldn’t carry all the power to make or break policy in this country. One man with one vote? That’s a dictatorship. We’re one people with millions of votes.

What disappoints me is the fact that people don’t seem to realize that while a single vote is but a drop in an ocean-sized bucket, the collective force of votes is a powerful tool in combating corrupt policy. I suppose it’s a good thing everything is going so well lately, otherwise poor voter turnout, general apathy, and sitting around on one’s ass could really cause some detriment to this glorious golden age we’re living in.

So you’re broke, unemployed, sitting around watching Maury and drinking away your sorrows. That’s cool. Again, it’s America, do your thing! Here’s a thought, though, since you have so much free time. Barring taking care of the children you have running around the place, why not volunteer somewhere? I know depression is a hell of a thing. When I was unemployed a few years ago it was amazingly hard to even want to get out of bed in the morning. At that time I didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits (forceful termination is your friend!) so things were a wee bit harder than they needed to have been. Did I get up, get out, and get to it? Of course not, I was depressed. So let me preach from my soapbox now that I’m not, you slackers.

Shit’s tough. There’s no denying that. Unless you’re one of the few people I know making over 20k per annum, you’re having a hard time of it. We’ve recently lost about 2/3 of our income in my household, and I’ve been reduced myself to about ¾ of what I was making this time last year. Ah the joys of going back to school. Without unemployment benefits (and those at 60% of the previous income), a helping hand from WIC, and jettisoning luxury items (I’m looking at you, second car) we’d be in a bind, and no mistake. And that’s not even considering the mortgage. Don’t ask me about mortgages. That’s tomorrow.

Anyhow, my unemployed brethren and sistren, I need you to take a good, hard introspection at what’s going on with yourselves. It is hard to find motivation, and I can’t prescribe for you where to look. My motivation is my wife and child. More specifically, it is trying to create a future for them. Thus, the return to school at the expense of a well-paying (if not mind-numbing) job. Thus, this creature you’re reading.

We must all, as Americans, hell, as Human Beings, find a purpose and work toward that purpose. You’re a conservative and want less government? Fight the corporations that have bought it and get some peace of mind (and a tax break while you’re at it.) You’re a liberal? See above. You’re in the same boat, friends. And yes, again, your single vote does not matter a whit. A solitary man on a corner attracts attention only as long as the light is red. But make it two men, four, sixteen, two hundred and fifty six. Now that’s a statement. At least in this small little town. Keep adding, multiplying, growing. By combining like minds towards common agendas, you, yes you, can sway the tide of an election. Just ask the Fundamentalist crackpots (and their more successful opponents) trying (and failing) to define a Zygote as a Person.

“What the hell is that?” I hear you ask. That’s a hot button issue, is what that is. That’s a knee-jerking (read: masturbatory) exercise in stirring up a crowd. And you can do that too, my unemployed comrade.

Only do me a favor and focus on feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, and curing the sick of their ailments. When that’s taken care of, then we can worry about whether or not fetuses go to Heaven.

The Noble Lie

It is fairly easy to identify the etymology of a word like “police”. In a society that values social niceties in order to maintain the status quo and survive against the turmoil and chaos of nature looming just beyond the fringes of the cities, it is necessary to have some force to guard a populace against those who would seek to disrupt and disorganize. It is of vital importance that we do not allow fringe elements to break apart what could otherwise be a very successful passive resistance movement forming around the world.

This is not to say that I either support or respect most police, however. On the whole, I’ve found through personal experience that the personality type driven to control and wield the Law against a fellow citizen is counter to the personality that should be in charge of such a great responsibility. Where this burden should find an even-tempered, rational, dare I say, compassionate individual capable of creative thought, of knowing how to, most wisely, dispense small justices on a daily basis, we often find instead a (typically white [though, the current population is about 75% anglo, so we must take that into consideration]) male who (through whatever confluence of nature and nurture he may have been brought up with) seeks to control his fellow citizens via intimidation, discriminatory profiling procedures, and an almost remarkable willful obtuseness that baffles as much as it inspires.

Your typical officer in a small southern town will always be on the lookout for minority groups, typically people of colour, as well as obvious members of a fringe majority (namely white youth of any stripe not considered to be towing the mainstream line). Be one unfortunate enough to belong to any of these sub-normal parties, one will find, through one’s interactions with the police, that one is less worthy of simple human respect or courtesy. This is especially prevalent in the fringe communities of “white minorities” that enjoy sporting elaborate tattoo work and multiple piercings. I think this may have something to do with “letting down the side” and the police will be certain to try to force one back into the perceived status quo via threats and intimidation. And that’s considering one is of a hetero-normative bent.

So when I hear of things like the violence in Oakland, and see evidence of police “mismanagement” of crowds, I have to wonder why it is, just days later when small amounts of chaos express themselves, that protesters will side with the very police system that abused and abuses them. It boggles the mind, especially considering the reports of increased instances of police brutality since the terrorist attacks ten years ago.

I do agree that passive resistance and non-violence are the best means with which to move forward an ideology. You are respected for your actions, cannot be blamed and called a radical revolutionary fringe, and so on. However, the time comes when one must shrug off the shackles of civility and decency and take arms against a corrupt and incompetent faction whose only goal is to enable the plundering of community property and resources, and maintain this broken system of apathetic incumbency rates. I say the time for peace is drawing to a close. If we cannot rally together, if we cannot force this much needed change on our Congressional representatives, our Executives, our Judges, if we cannot force through votes of No Confidence and must continue to live under incumbents whose only primary goals are the linings of their own pockets with taxpayer money and corporate welfare checks, if we cannot overcome these obstacles with song and passion, we should, we must, and we are constitutionally bound to rise up and overthrow those who care not a whit for our lessening condition.

Do not worry about who is watching the watchmen. They are the knights, enforcers. Worry instead about who is watching the Senators. Save your firebombs and riots for the Capital, compañeros y compañeras. It is only treason if we lose.