If you’re reading this, then you weren’t for the War in Iraq. You protested, probably got arrested, sat in that filthy jail for four days while the cops mocked your beliefs, made lewd comments about your wife, called you a hippie because that’s all they got in well-developed intellect of American authoritah. It is the sign of a sick country when the people worship authority. Cops are heroes. All soldiers are great. Even corporate CEOs are seen as having some kind of tribal wisdom. The optionless crucifixion is the real American religion. Every day we climb up on the cross of capitalism and say there ain’t nuthin we can do. Eli eli lama sabacthani with two cheeseburgers and a coke. Chevy Truck staring at god. I’ll get there someday cuz the lord jesus christ is my savior. I can do anything because I an American and we is saved. Do you accept? And meanwhile you’re sitting on the goddamn train, or bus, or some increasingly disappearing public place where they have the temerity to come up to you and preach the word. The subtext of it all is that they are the real Americans. They are the ones who hold this country together despite Obamacare. They are the ones who work despite the lazy blacks, illegals and spoiled kids like you who never worked for nothing, but just bitch all the time. And you sit quiet, digging the Buddhism you been reading about, saying to yourself like a mantra that it’s still America, land of a revolution where people like you fought and died for the human ideals that you are watching slip away.
After all, what are you going to do? Tell them Rousseau? The social contract? Nietzsche and freedom? Habermas? Arendt? Viktor Frankl and oh yes Victor Frankl who defined dignity as a man who walked to the gas chamber in Auschwitz with his held high in respect for himself and the life that he had lived. A life of courage, of independence, of ferocious experience. A life from which they could never take the meaning away.
We are not walking into the gas chamber, but we are walking toward our death. Each of us. None will escape. And there will be no justice administered or delivered from a source that exists beyond you and I. God is not going to save this earth. God is not going to save you. He is too busy helping wide receivers catch touchdown passes on Sunday to have time to deal with genocide and rape. It is, in the most raw existential sense, just you and me, baby. It is you and I who are locked up, held captive by our refusal to sell our lives. It is a lovely little fact that unless you are disgusting in your selfishness, you will suffer the fate of the outsider. Unless you are wedded, welded to this sad and constructed notion of self molded by the story-they tell-called-history then you will be broken by doubt and lack of utilization. You will not be utilized. You will not be held in esteem by a society which gorges on the earth, defends cops who suppress constitutional rights, rewards corporations who enslave foreign workers and destroy our environment, gets on its knees before the hypocritical politicians who have sold our birthright democracy for an island that god wanted them to have so that they could screw around on their wives while cutting out of church early to watch the football game. And as we will all pass from this vale of tears, we will also live forever with the unjust enrichment of those who take from the innocent and damage our world.
There is sadness in our hearts because there should be. We have been cut off from our own ideals, marginalized from meaning, made small in a world that we would not take part in. We wake up to a day that is not our own. We feel the time slipping from us, a failure wafting through a graying vision of hop [hope? Or hop, as in dope?]. We are sad, lost because humanity does not make us proud. We are assaulted by idiocy, waste, greed. We bear witness as the herd around us buys into every utterance, dictate and piece of propaganda issued the dominant interests of control.
Yet, despite all odds, you have kept thinking, kept an open heart, kept fighting for what you and I both know is the real democracy of the people. Despite all odds, you have refused to be defined by the sick manipulations of the elite. You will not let them manufacture your identity. You will not let them tell you who you are. And I respect and love you so much for your endurance.
In the only moment I can ever claim as an insight, I was coming out of federal court after witnessing another good person’s life destroyed by the prison-industrial complex. My mind was all over the place, having those conversations between self and no-self. The doubts, the fears, I kept asking what I should do…should I still write, be a lawyer, be an activist, quit it all and move into a cabin…when out of nowhere a voice came to me, angry, tired of my whining, done with morbid self-obsession. It said: “You are nothing in and of yourself, but as a defender of the Great Spirit you are eternal. You are a Defender of The Great Spirit.”
Meaning is terrifying. Truth is relentless. Justice is a sword. Truth, liberty, the transcendent ideals that give us value are unconcerned with the temporary comfort of our lives. They are unconcerned with the minuscule, if measurable at all, time we walk this earth. They are the space and time of our experience. They are the theater of our evolution. We will all soon be in caskets, cremated, gone. It is our actions that pave the road by which a greater humanity may walk. We have become too concerned with the microscopic stylings of our own existence. Alone, we are less than tear drops. Together, we are a great river whose source is unknown.
When that last breathe comes, what were you? How did you walk into the gas chamber? What did you stand for? What were you willing to sacrifice? Did you stand passively by as this country became more unjust, more manipulative, more damaging? Did you eat dinner as you heard of people being raped, or witness the electrocution of the collective mind courtesy of General Electric? We all have, why not? Were you just another TV watcher like me, friend? Six hours a day, sometimes? Life draining out through the broken windows of time? Relying on comedians to make you feel like you were in the know? Almost believing for one moment that doing nothing was doing something, before turning back in on your own guilt? Or, despite everything, did you guard your independence with a ferocious army of the mind?! A last stand of the human soul against the forces of banality and consumption. Has this been the quiet raging battle of your interior life? If so, you are not alone. You are legion.
It is time to make ideals into realities. It is time to pour gas on the smoldering flame. Now matter how much they have tried to brainwash us, this we know: where there is evil, we must stand against it. Where we can liberate another, then we stand with them. This is the meaning of our lives and no other. All else is illusion. A distraction unto death. At all cost. At all sacrifice. We must reinvigorate the meaning of our ideals. Reinvigorate the meaning of meaning. For our lives are empty if spent solely in the arena of words, commentary and quiet desperations. It is by action and sacrifice that we earn our suffering and make our lives whole. Let us, at the very least, be worthy of our pain. Let us make the truth count: for we, and we alone, are its caretakers. In every epoch, era and generation, there are those who can still see the truth through the toxic haze of lies. We must reach into the tortured essence of our American souls and redeem this nation through vision and courage. It will not be weak manipulating pigs who broadcast their filth into closed minds. It will not be the right wingers who love war and fighting, but are actually so fat that they can’t even get up out of their TV chairs. It will not be the willfully stupid who cannot see one inch on front of their face. They are lost to a delusion that has turned them into empty vomiting tubes. The slime coming out of your TV Set. It will not be them, those cowardly fools who have held us back through all times. No. It is us. The ones who did not want war, but gave away days of our freedom to protest its injustice, who understand that words without action are meaningless, whose continuously heal the world that the oligarchs destroy. They can chain us, throw us into dark prisons, call us un-American; but none of their idiocy matters because we know why we live: and when a person’s life has meaning they can deal with almost any sacrifice.
There is an undercurrent, an emerging movement, of these people in my country. You. There are patriots insofar as patriotism is the vigilant preservation of life, meaning and the right to rebel. And they are primed to exercise that latter right. We peer through the narcotic haze of capitalism and still see the collective soul yearning to be free. The great Howl of fierce expression, real culture and demand for sacred justice. The complexity in you is the complexity in me. And I will give my life so that you can share in the sacred heart that beats within each our breasts. The one sacred heart that hungers for an honest and ethical existence. An existence where normal life isn’t genocide, war, death, suffering, pain, but a platform toward greater truth, creation and adventure. An endless aspiration…
We are faced now with specific complicities and moral duties. It is our society, our system, that has so damaged much of the world so that the blood of innocent children is on each of our hands. We are the ones who have supplied the weapons that have murdered children, crucified fathers, held women down so they could be raped. The hell of their lives is the direct result of what the US has done to a people. We are complicit in the sadistic violence. We are torturers. We are the jailkeepers. We are the rapists. We are the bullets ripping through their minds.
It is time now to make our generation count. To shed the dead skin and become new. A harsh life of seeking truth is better than the apathy that passes for existence now. For though our generation has gone quietly at times, in our hearts we remain the ones who do not walk away. We are the ones who wanted it to be different, to redefine terms and possessing of courage to face the unknown. At all costs to ourselves, we must now defend the vulnerable, including the earth. Including ourselves. For we are the battlefield. Every step we take brings us closer or farther to ourselves. We must hear the song of nature, listen to its silent battlecry and become Defenders of The Great Spirit.
This is a call. We have created nightmare here at home and around the world. And now we must fix them. We must bring our wounded brothers and sisters back into the light of life, where we can walk together toward new lands and undiscovered countries. Through storms, through attacks, through the blinding raging hate-filled assault of the system. We must stand together and rebuild our lives. As with out forefathers in the Spanish Civil War, we must stand and go fight for human dignity in places here and far away. This is a call: we need a new Abraham Lincoln Brigade to bring forth the possibilities of a new world.
It is our right above all others to preserve the humanity in people, their wild creation. Our society, like ourselves, must be fluid. It cannot be like it is now, a geology: fixed, static, stuck in layers of inequity where nothing ever changes and everything supports the top. For this world must be a world of raw flowering, growth, and beauty to be shared, held and loved.
We need new methods of protest, of dissent and of active defense so that what we build cannot be stripped from us. It is not a safe situation, but if we stick together, we will rise above. Where people are being hurt and killed because of our society, we will stand with them. Where corporations are turning people into cattle, we will challenge them. The days of Stratfor, Bank of America, AIG, Carlyle Group, and EXXON are either numbered…or we are numbered. We must build ourselves strong and independent to challenge the oppressive aspects of the US capitalist system so that it won’t be able to do whatever it wants to us, and our world, anymore. This is all on our watch. Our stewardship. To do nothing is to offer our support, which is unacceptable. We must wage war on our own complicity. The time is no longer tomorrow. It is not the hope of yesterday. It is now: the age of complicity. An age that we must end through our actions, actions that will give birth to a new age. The real humans of our time have not made their voices heard yet. An uprising is coming. Wildflowers breaking through the rocks, a tectonic shift, a powerful earthquake that will carve our purpose in stone.
NB. New Abraham Lincoln Brigade: contact the Whistleblower Defense League.