So Say We Fucking All

This blog needs a category foryou just blew my tiny little mind:

We are so risk averse in this country, so afraid to settle on something that might not be the right thing, we hedge our every fucking step. Drive giant tank SUVs so we can walk away from unforeseen disasters, watch picture-in-picture televisions so we don’t miss what’s on the other channels. We do not like the unknown, we guard against every possible contingency. We assume any choice might be the wrong one, so we don’t choose anything, really. We do not trust the world around us. We do not trust ourselves. We have seldom been asked to do so by the current administration. We’ve been asked instead to be afraid, and then we were told outright, over and over, that we must be afraid. And as if there wasn’t enough in the real world to fear, they invented and hyped new stuff and force fed it to us, straight into our lizard brain.

And we sucked on it.

So here we are. There are plenty of us, including Clinton voters and for that matter, Republicans and Independents, who are weary and beat down and ready for change. The thing is, people want the change to be quantifiable and recognizable, they want to know what they are getting into before they jump. They want their change to look familiar and welcoming, and above all, safe. And if possible, easy.

The thing is, we are miles past that being able to happen.

Go read the whole thing. I mean it, go. NOW.

I’ve been having this conversation a lot, with everybody in my life lately: colleagues, friends, allegedly supreme beings who may or may not be tempting me back to their parties. You do not lose people because you ask too much of them. You lose people because you ask for too little. I know this because I’ve seen it, anybody who’s read that book up there top right knows what I mean when I say it’s not too hard and you can in fact beat back the inevitable with your bare hands and it can happen, and all you need is the example of someone telling you, instead of sit down, shut up, stand up, start yelling. Fight, for the love of your immortal souls. Fight.

In the aftermath of 9/11 they could have asked us for anything. Anything. Enlistment en masse. National service. Financial sacrifice. Put your pantyhose in a drawer and draw a line down the back of your legs with an eyeliner pencil; they could have asked us to build 100,000 airplanes and we would have done it, because we can. But they asked us to go shopping, they told us to take off our shoes in the airport, they lied to us about Iraq. They asked us to be angry and they asked us to be scared and they asked us to turn on each other, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened. They asked us for nothing and that’s exactly what they got.

And the irony is that in our whole life as a country we were never stronger than when we reached out and held on to one another. When we have been weak, when we have failed, it is only because then we let go, turned our backs, hated and feared and strung up garlic and picked up stakes. It is only because then we forgot ourselves, as we have now.

Is it any wonder we want something like our own strength back again? It isn’t even a Clinton-Obama thing, necessarily: we saw a little of its beginnings in 2004, with the crowds Kerry drew, which up until then were like nothing you’d ever seen in all your livin’ life. Kerry, though, said he and Edwards could help us; Obama’s saying it’s not me, it’s you that can help us. Take it to my crazy sci-fi place, as I’m wont to do on the weekends, not “God helps those who help themselves” but “the gods lift those who lift each other,” that’s the formulation of the message. It’s easy to sneer, it’s just stories, just speeches, just words. It’s just poetry, but come the fuck on, people have died for worse things than poetry.

Countries have died for worse things. We’ve watched it happen in front of us, going now on seven years.

A.

11 thoughts on “So Say We Fucking All

  1. I’ve read that post several times today. It is awesome prose (Definitely a hell of alot more interesting than the continuing legal education material I am behind on). I like the way you take it a step further.
    Our way of life is either going to move out of the old house on it’s own, prepared to make the necessary sacrifices … or it will be evicted forcefully into chaos by inevitable circumstance, a victim of our inaction. I do not like my imaginations of life in the latter, more likely scenario.

  2. “In the aftermath of 9/11 they could have asked us for anything. Anything. Enlistment en masse. National service. Financial sacrifice. Put your pantyhose in a drawer and draw a line down the back of your legs with an eyeliner pencil; they could have asked us to build 100,000 airplanes and we would have done it, because we can. But they asked us to go shopping, they told us to take off our shoes in the airport, they lied to us about Iraq. They asked us to be angry and they asked us to be scared and they asked us to turn on each other, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened. They asked us for nothing and that’s exactly what they got.”
    And this is exactly what we, as people of average intelligence, should have immediately seen as the evidence that a massive fraud was underway. I am disgusted with myself for not seeing that. I am disgusted with those who are surely more intelligent than me for not seeing that.
    9-11, to the Bush administration, was nothing more than a gift from the Gods, a gift of an excuse for committing mass rape of our country, along with rape and murder of Iraq. This was their golden opportunity to transfer massive wealth from American citizens to the privileged few very wealthy who owned and ran major US corporations.
    That transfer worked, to the tune of about $600 billion so far. That Iraq was utterly destroyed in the process, that the reputation of our country was equally destroyed, that the world was brought much closer to total war, and that our citizens were placed in ten times the danger we had been in before, was of no concern to the Bush administration. John McCain is a stooge, set up to allow this mass transfer of wealth to continue. And, if we allow McCain to be elected, we deserve the consequences.

  3. We don’t require that change be familiar or easy. It does have to be specific. Change requires action, and action is particular. It’s not big, puffy clouds of changiness.

  4. Y’all – (slightly off-topic) if you are in the Los Angeles area or NYC PLEASE go see “War, Inc.” this weekend.
    It’s John Cusack’s latest movie and it opened this weekend there – if it gets serious amounts of butts in seats, it can move around to more indie theaters.
    Here’s a repost of John Cusack’s myspace bulletin)
    Thanks in advance First Drafters!:) Elspeth
    “MY GOOD FREIND SAID THAT WAR INC IS LIKE SOME NEW ANIMAL AND THAT THE ZOO KEEPERS ( CRITICS..)DON’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT…
    READ LARRISSA ON HUFF POST FOR MORE
    another friend said this in case you missed it…
    America has been asleep. Tranquilized by dreams of personal fortune. Protected from danger by a professional army. Obsessed with making our children into brands we can be proud of. Misdirected by false spiritual leaders. Riding the crest of an unheard of twenty-five year period of prosperity, no one has wanted to make waves and jeopardize their own payday. The press and media speak in a whisper – if we even take off our ipods to listen.
    Into this mass trance John Cusack has thrown War, Inc. – a bomb in the wilderness. Funny and hostile, intellectual and violent, exaggerated and truthful, it demands that we wake up. Conceived and executed when our national denial was at a peak, that the film exists at all is an act of courage.
    Functioning more like an oracle than a movie star, Cusack is warning us. The most vital political force in the world, the American government, is under attack. The attackers hide behind a fabric of lies while they claim to protect us. Their only ideology is power and the money that flows with it. They claim to be pro-military but the American military is close to broken; they claim to want small government unless it interrupts their gravy train; they claim to further democracy but they have no idea what democracy is.
    All these lies are based on the ultimate lie – that we can protect our American heritage without sacrifice. This lie, like all the others, is about to be destroyed. War, Inc. pushes it over the edge. The film is a disturbing truth that should be seen by everyone, no matter what their politics.”

  5. I was watching Frontline earlier today about Marketing and persuading. And it reminded me just how much the people in Government use marketing to sell the war. “You don’t role out a new product…” And I saw the most brilliant marketers of our age explaining how they do it by making you the consumer, valued. You can get people to feel valued or you can get people to feel scared. And you can do both. We are scared all the time so you become small and clutching. And we pull in and surround ourselves with the people who think like we do and don’t leave our comfort zone.
    I often wonder about the ethics of the marketers. My old boss said, “Don’t become a speaker to the HR people about ethics, the HR people don’t have any budget. The people with the budget are the marketing people.”
    I think about the PR people who are selling the Oil Companies, the marketing people who are pushing the “Clean Skies”. The people in the insurance companies whose job it is to make people trust the insurance companies whose job is NOT to deny any claim. The people who are told to save money by denying claims are just doing their job to the company that protect them, employees them and PROVIDED for their Health care. You want someone to be loyal to you? You give them money, health and status. If you can’t offer that what good are you?
    If the Government started providing health care it would disrupt the power of corporations to hold people in crummy jobs.
    But these people in corporations are often people just like us. They have to convince themselves that they are doing a good job. Asking them to question and then defy their corporation is HARD. It also might cost them their job. One of the things that I did was give the VPs of marketing an easy REASON not to support the violent rhetoric on the radio.
    One thing that the destruction of the unions did was to say, ‘If you aren’t union then you are management.” And all these people who really AREN’T management then work in the corporation. Most aren’t willing to go against the number one corporate value (make money at all costs) because they need the job. They need the health care. That is why Students can protest, that is why unions can protest. They know that they can’t be fired for going against the power.
    To ask someone to be a Whistleblower means you ask them to lose their job. And who has that kind of courage? That is why a partisan who was in charge of the Whistleblower area was so tragic. That is like having the person in charge of protecting people from testifying against the mafia being a Don himself.
    I could only do what I did because I was out of the mainstream AND I didn’t have my boss find out what I was doing when my identity was revealed.
    And the politicians are counting on that. They are also counting on the rich to not become “Class traitors”. What is astonishing is that they convinced 49 percent of the people who are not in the top 1 percent to vote against their current financial self interest. How did they do it? By using the lottery world view. “If you want to be rich like me, you can be! Think and grow rich. You can associate with losers and the poor or associate with the rich! You can have a rich dad or a poor dad. The poor dad is nice, but he’s poor. Have a rich dad because in America you aren’t anything unless you are rich.
    And the thing about being worn down? It’s very real, especial if you feel isolated or the people who you hoped would fight for you said, ‘We really can’t fight for you yet the way we had told you we would fight, see the world is much more complicated than you understand. I can only fight if you fight some more and THEN I’ll fight.’ It just gets so exhausting.

  6. “And the thing about being worn down? It’s very real, especial if you feel isolated or the people who you hoped would fight for you said, ‘We really can’t fight for you yet the way we had told you we would fight, see the world is much more complicated than you understand. I can only fight if you fight some more and THEN I’ll fight.’ It just gets so exhausting.”
    BINGO!
    Welcome to the current status of my city.

  7. What I find exhausting is fighting intentional stupidity.
    Locally, it’s like pulling teeth to get people to vote to raise their taxes for school funding. All this Ed-Reform-No-Child-Left-Behind measurement nonsense, we’ve got measurements out the kazoo, standardized accounting, and what do the numbers tell us? “You school are among the best in the state, yet you are spending less than the state average per-pupil. You have the most or second-most efficient school system in the state.” And the people who don’t want their taxes raised, insist that there must be something wrong with the metrics. “Someone must be fudging the numbers; I heard that there was a school system somewhere that did that.” Sheesh.
    At the national level, we are so far wrong on global warming, energy, and food, that I just cannot imagine how we are going to get it right. The IPCC summary report was distinctly unedifying, as if the actual numbers were too scary to present. It appears that we barf out, per capita, 20 tons of CO2, and there’s other perfectly civilized places (Japan, England) that manage to survive with only half the emissions. We should probably be more like them, but that means that someone (coal industry? oil industry?) will see a 50% drop in revenues. That’ll by a boatload of confusing propaganda.
    Or, consider the whole healthcare catastrophe. We’ve been scared into thinking that if we adopted national health, it would “be very bad”, even though there’s 20 countries out there that spend less money, yet live longer, healthier lives, and many fewer of their babies die in infancy. If it was terrorists killing 8000 babies a year, instead of our crappy health care system, we’d probably be lobbing nukes, but since it’s the free market, it’s totally fucking ok. (8000 is how many babies wouldn’t die each year, if we had Canada’s infant mortality rate instead of ours). But, some corporations would lose a lot of money (all the inefficiency of our health care system ends up in someone’s pocket), so we’ll probably hear more from Harry and Louise.
    The fearmongers have managed to not only scare us away from doing noble things for other people, they’ve managed to scare us away from doing good things for our own damn selves.

  8. A –
    A real one-two punch for my Sunday morning reading! Thanks for your words and the link to Virgo’s eloquent post!
    The connections and conversations I read, commented upon and discussed with my (non-connected) family and friends sustain my hope in the citizens of our Nation. Knowing that there are thinking, caring and active folks – who want from their country what I want – makes it easier to continue to fight for them from a small perch in their government. And I’m eternally thankful for these self-organized “Committees of Correspondence.”
    And no better holiday in the civic year than this to consider your words. Too many of our brothers and sisters lie amouldering in their graves – after giving their last full measure of devotion – for today’s Americans to be so afraid. Too many little flags in the ground to let our country act like a stupid, petulant, selfish child. Too many white stones around the world dis-honored by our actions in response to adversity and our inability to hold the boy-king leader and his enablers accountable for their actions.
    Lincoln said it best. They are words to remember not only this weekend, but clear through to November and beyond:
    “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and thatgovernment of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
    SP

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