24 June, 2016

You say you want a revolution


 We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Modern folk like acronyms. They're a kind mnemonic, except that instead helping someone to remember more, they make the memory flaccid. Grammar purists rail against texting shorthand, but linguistic tidbits like LOL are the natural outcropping of an language that grows organically by assimilating bits and pieces of other languages. Language is itself a reduction -- an attempt to precisely describe internal observations and experiences to an outside audience -- even if the only audience is the self. 
The problem comes when this natural tendency to reduce the intellect and the imagination to simple utterances expands to attempting to reduce complex sociopolitical concepts into soundbites and slogans. George Orwell illuminated this phenomena quite clearly in 1984. Unfortunately, no modern political season would be quite the cluster fuck it is without jingoism to propel the masses:

MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
GIVE 'EM HIL
BERNIE OR BUST
This political season, like every political season, is developing with an operatic flair. In 2008 it was marriage equality and war that drove the bases of the two major American political parties to spin narratives and drive people to the polls. This political season, we're worrying about which public restroom people use -- which is being used to fuel a fascist culture war masking itself as a wanna be religious crusade*. 
The other tent poll spin doctors on both sides of the isle are using to muster and manipulate the voting public is still war. Of course, the war has come home -- as war always does, one way or another. 

The Orlando massacre was just the latest in what a long string of horrific acts that have given both gun toters and gun moaners plenty of ammunition. Our own burgeoning Il Duce, Donald "The Don" Trump**, in wake of more facts about the Orlando shooting coming out that contradict his hip-shot twit tweet about being right on terrorism, declared that if everyone at Pulse had been carrying a gun, the shooting wouldn't have happened.*** 

Violence is the symptom of another sickness. Sometimes it erupts and makes the international news cycle. Sometimes it slides in and out of memeworld, like the San Diego cheerleader who helped her boyfriend kill George Lowery.  A lot of it is lost in the local police blotters and crime statistics.

People who have signed on for Trump and who are shuffling in line behind Hillary each have a vision for the country and they're selling their visions to an American public that is soul tired and looking to blame anyone or anything they can reach out and touch. For the Trumpites, Mexicans, Liberals, the LGBTQIA Community, and "terrorists"^ are to blame. For the Hillarians, the jingoism has been honed down to a single hashtag:

#nevertrump

An interesting thing is happening, though, as this election year rolls on. Instead of creating new jingoisms and slogans, both the Democratic and the Republican Party are using pretty much the same language to move their armies into action. The rhetoric on both sides is steeped in nostalgia and historical inaccuracy. If there is a difference, it is that Trumpites believe to core. Hillarians have embraced the very cynicism that many on the left have accused the republicans of for years. They want the status quo -- which, in this case, is the very same Neoliberal economic policy that has destroyed South America, is ripping apart the European Union, and will eventually decimate what's left of the Democratic impulse in American culture. Trumpites want their America to be pure, unfettered, and held unaccountable for any of backlash caused by xenophobia, nationalism, warmongering, and greed -- all of which are avenues of violence.

Each sides claims it wants a revolution. But the options they are giving us are not worlds I want my grandchildren to inherit.

If there is a revolution worth having, it is a revolution that rejects violence, rejects, greed, rejects warmongering, and rejects petty hatred based on culture, on sexual orientation, or even on language.

On the whole, however, revolution is almost a complete waste of time. Nearly every battle engaged in ends in loss. You see people's strong words shrink to cowardice actions. If you hold your ideals close, you'll risk losing everything on a long shot gamble that history will vindicate your losses. But losses are never vindicated. They are only counted or ignored.

However, revolution is not a total waste of time for the simple fact that a lot of people have to lose in order for the right people to come along and win it for everyone.
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*For those of your unfamiliar with the Aryan Paragraph, you may want to read up on it.Here's a bit pulled from the Wikipedia Page on the Confessing Church -- or the German Lutheran Church that defied Hitler:
On 13 November 1933 a rally of German Christians was held at the Berlin Sportpalast, where — before a packed hall — banners proclaimed the unity of National Socialism and Christianity, interspersed with the omnipresent swastikas. A series of speakers[29] addressed the crowd's pro-Nazi sentiments with ideas such as:
  • the removal of all pastors unsympathetic with National Socialism
  • the expulsion of members of Jewish descent, who might be arrogated to a separate church
  • the implementation of the Aryan Paragraph church-wide
  • the removal of the Old Testament from the Bible
  • the removal of "non-German" elements from religious services
  • the adoption of a more "heroic" and "positive" interpretation of Jesus, who in pro-Aryan fashion should be portrayed to be battling mightily against corrupt Jewish influences.[30]
** For those who might think that I, like Dear Bernie, am declaring my allegiance to Hillary Clinton, nothing is further from the truth. The Don could very well be our first unfettered fascist leader if he's elected. Mrs. Clinton is no salve to solve the problems that have led to the resurgence of far right extremism in America. She is a product of the very same system. That she is simply an uninspired Neoliberal (read: disaster capitalist) rather than someone who can inspire and feed every violent human impulse, wrap it in nostalgia and patriotism, and call it America.
*** Because guns, booze, and sexual energy are really very good together.  Sounds just like a Dick Cheney hunting vacation.
^As defined by whatever segment of the population is more poplar to hate at any given moment.
 
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