There are those who would have us fold up our banners and take down our protest signs. They urge us to be reasonable and polite. They expect us to cram our dissent into narrow boxes of occasional grumbling comments and take our frustration out at the election box once every few years. These people write letters to the editor of small town newspapers claiming that the visible signs of dissatisfaction – pickets, protesters, political signs – are bad for business and distasteful.
Despair rides in front of our opposition, an invisible wind that blows like plague through our hearts. Here, our stand begins. Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, we must keep despair at bay in the siege waged by the forces of destruction and greed.
Wishful thinking and random action will not topple the corrupt and powerful collusion of extreme capitalism, the wealthy elite, and military force. For all the courage shown thus far by people across the country in demonstrating, petitioning, even throwing their bodies in the line of danger, I call upon an even greater courage now …
You must believe that pockets of resistance exist. As America plunges into darkness, some people burn with resistance like fires in the night, aglow with respect for the civil liberties that define the modern ideal of freedom. The quiet murmur of their impassioned voices will call to you as they discuss nonviolent strategy and struggle, but you will not be asked to join them until you strike the matchstick of your heart, build a fire of your determination, ignite the blaze of your courage, and reach out to others.
Corporate demons possess our nation’s soul. They crept in stealthily, full of trickery and deception, but now they’re lodged in place, as surely as if they had stormed our homes and halls of power with guns and tanks. Perhaps we’d recognize their coup if they had assassinated a flesh-and-blood president instead of merely stealing the souls of all our elected leaders.
Curse the war culture! It leaves us at a loss for words, bereft of metaphors to describe our situation. Our minds become blank slates, unable to recognize dangers at the door unless they carry assault weapons or drop bombs on our heads.
For all the avowed patriots who demand my Pledge of Allegiance and salutes on Loyalty Day, Fourth of July, and other patriotic, militarized holidays, I fling this question to your hearts: how deep and far does your loyalty to your country run?
When the forces of destruction, hate, bigotry, greed, and violence rise into power, there are three things they steal before they plunder the treasury. Stopping them is where the struggle for life begins.
It is not enough to hurl your rage at tyranny . . . every bully knows how to dodge a hothead. Anger is the alcohol of emotions. We flush, courageous in its drunken heat, but our blows miss, we flail, and our opponent easily dispatches us.
Not every problem we face can be solved by the magic wands of benevolent legislators. In those halls of power, you’re more likely to encounter twisted curses than blessings and cures. Instead, you must study the interconnected web that weaves our world together. There you will find effective pivot points of change. Every piece of the destructive system is tied to people, workers, supplies, knowledge, money, social behaviors, opinions, profits, transportation and more. Each of these sectors offers many places to push for change.
There are some who mince their steps and words, who hush the bold and outspoken, who advise moderation. But, a revolution by any other name does not smell as sweet. Reform does not cut it. Resistance is not enough. Massive change is vague. Transformation calls to mind change, yet does not invoke the burning urgency, the gritty intensity of the tsunami of change we need. Evolution implies an unrealistic image of our corporate political pawns awakening, growing, evolving.
Rich people rule, make no mistake. They have ruled for centuries, and the toll of their reign has been high. At their feet can be laid the bodies of every child starved in a world with surplus food; every person who freezes to death in the streets while there are six empty houses for every homeless person; every death from lack of affordable healthcare; and the incalculable casualties of the world’s wars – which have all had the wealthy at the helm. Colonization’s genocides, slavery’s murders, and the living death of mass incarceration can all be added to the oligarchy’s tally.
Muster courage to resist. Outrage is a mere spark; it must ignite the flame of courageous determination or else its light dies swiftly. You will need the stronger fuels of love, hope, and vision to sustain you through the struggle.
It happened so subtly, we missed the corporate coup. Like shadows, corporations surrounded our country and slowly strangled it. They crept into Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, the FDA, the military, the Department of the Interior: everywhere you look, a corporation controls the decisions of this nation. We have become the occupied territory of brand names, corporate logos, monopolistic power, and corporate greed.