Roxanne R. Amico
Tuesday, 6 November, 2007
This is the 4min 33sec audio clip of the “stop making the bed” from last blog post. In playwriting, there’s a phrase “coming off the page” to describe the translation process from the written word to the stage.
I think the audio comes off the page on this piece better than most I’ve done. For my friends who cannot for a variety of reasons, listen, thank you especially for reading , and as you do, just imagine me and Cheney on stage, with his teeth baring grimace nose to nose with mine. ONLY: I am NOT acting.
Thank you for reading and for listening.
Stop Making the Bed
Roxanne R. Amico
Tuesday, 6 November, 2007
Dennis Kucinich’s resolutions of impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, are recognition that Cheney lied about reasons for war on Iraq and is lying with regard to Iran. I write with an urgency I’ve kept at bay for many years; an urgency that’s not my learned way of being an activist. In 44 years, more than twenty have been under the occupation of radical forces I underestimated, against which I fought in a variety of ways including self-congratulatory-lifestyle change, community organizing, anti-war activism, prisoners’ rights, and electoral politics… Like all activists, I felt an early emphatic sense of justice. I learned from mentors to temper the urgency for the long haul; internalized the metaphor that great cathedrals are built over several generations, and many—(even Michelangelo)– knew they wouldn’t live to see completion of “the big picture”; saw change take a long time—and that in many contexts, it should, because I knew that even on a personal level, change challenges, so it takes time to integrate new ideas, ways of living, and experiences… This is what I’ve learned about pacing change…
What I also learned: Things change—and what I learned over these decades is no longer appropriate for these times. –You know, the times my nieces and your nieces and nephews and children and grandchildren and their offspring, and all nonhuman communities on which their lives depend, are facing… Urgent times.
In 1983, the movie “The Day After” was made to illustrate the urgency of acting against nuclear war. Lately I find myself appealing to my friends’ and families’ sense of the danger ahead, with little hope of being heard above the lockstep of routines, unable to act with passion, unless some immediate loss visits. Even when I get calls for immediate action, unless it’s from a friend–I delete or ignore. Crude— maybe even rude by some interpretations— but true. I have a job that demands my full-bodied-fitness and attention. On EVERY given day, I live at a pace of emergency already. EVEN my down time is imperative: I’m an artist living in a culture that devalues the work of artists and we sell our time to maintain the status quo, rather than being paid for shaping a better culture. Another way to put this is that when I am not working for food, I am working for love. THAT is a reason I am an activist–To change the culture that generates this unnatural, non-stop fight to live a life of choice.
Which is exactly the urgent matter of this writing. The US government is occupied by insane criminals who’ve tortured and terrorized both the people and the land of this continent and other lands. They stupidly presume themselves to be above the law, endowed with the right to destroy the US constitution and International Declarations of Human Rights. We must use every tool within our disposal to resist them. If we do not stop them, they will kill many more– with their lies, aggression, profiteering, spying, kidnapping, and unlawful arrests– as journalist Naomi Wolf elucidates in a recent Huffington Post article.
Two points here: First, what the US government does to the US populace and to the land does not stay in the US land, air, and water, just as what they do to other people and other lands does not protect the people or land here from others’ expectation that WE are accountable. I think of so many who’ve cited Germany, during World War Two, when others eventually attacked after having enough of Hitler’s brutalities. Likewise, there are those who will not tolerate the destruction caused while too many US citizens hang on to delusions of non-urgency. Second, being an activist means knowing that impeachment is a minute piece of what’s needed to repair the damage the US has done here and abroad. I’ve all but given up on the elections, after the last two stolen and now that democratic processes have been corporatocracized. I know that my nieces will not have clean water, clean air, nor safe food either in terms of supply or land to grow it. It is inconsolable that in the lifetime of the youngest child, there are many living beings that are being killed in the time it takes to write this sentence. But being participant in life also means knowing that some small things can add up to some positive measure and the impeachment of these small-minded bullies will be a piece towards convicting them for the criminals they are.
Even if the earth and all inhabitants were not in distress, life is short. Once asked in an interview why I do art, I learned that the question is akin to “why am I alive?” As witness to these crimes against communities of life of every biosphere, my art and activism are my tool, weapon, language—indeed my life—to serve others to share their stories. I urge all who love this world to act now to take some radically different action in acknowledgment of the dangers ahead.
In an opening scene of the film “The Day After”, a woman’s family tries to stop her making the bed. A “normal” task, except that it’s the day upon which they awakened to the news that a nuclear bomb was detonated. Unable to face the implications of this state terrorism, she loses her mind and continues doing what worked on any other day. It’s time to stop making the bed. To paraphrase the Australian rock band “Midnight Oil”: “…[no] sleeping while the beds are burning… The time has come…” I emphatically support the impeachment of the entire Bush Administration, after which they should be tried for treason and all crimes.