Never Give Up!
by Saab Lofton
"Politicians are like weather vanes; our job is to make the wind blow."
--David Brower, three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee
It's like I told my audience in Las Vegas: If you're going to gamble, gamble on Humanity's chances at achieving a Roddenberryian utopia -- don't bother with the kind of gambling done in a casino. Therefore, even if only a few people read this, I'm still going to encourage activism at all costs.
Unfortunately, all too many have bet the farm and whatever's behind door number three (game show reference) on the results of this presidential election. Case in point, Eric Ruder and Joe Allen reported in the July 11th, 2008 issue of The Socialist Worker that, "Despite opinion polls indicating broad antiwar sentiment in the U.S. population, there have been no major national antiwar mobilizations since January 2007. What's more, many activists have decided either to take a wait-and-see approach during this election year -- or have been caught up in the enthusiasm for the Obama campaign."
... let me tell ya something -- and this is coming straight from the heart, FUCK getting "caught up" in that "wait-and-see approach"! As I've been saying since Day One, it doesn't matter who wins the election because Professor Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States, nailed it flawlessly: "The ultimate solution is not with the people on top. The ultimate solution is for people in the streets to create an atmosphere for people on top to be accountable."
Also too, the consensus seems to be that either the Biblical Rapture is around the corner or that something cataclysmic will occur once the much vaunted Mayan Calendar runs out in 2011 or 2012 or whenever. Hell, who needs martial law? Who needs some all-pervasive illuminati conspiracy when there's so much paralyzing cynicism out there?
I'm beyond disgusted at the amount of cowardice I'm seeing. Ig-nant-ass motherfuckers who'll strike you down where you stand over an pair of overpriced tennis shoes made by child labor in third world sweatshops will cower in fear at the mere prospect of attending ONE protest. "B-But what if I end up like J.F.K. or Dr. King ..?"
Yes, what if? My answer to that is the opening scene from Forest Whitaker's 1999 masterpiece, Ghost Dog:
"The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one's master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai."
Death comes to us all -- get over it ...
Then there those who're gratuitously snide -- claiming that protest supposedly went out of style with tye-die and bellbottoms. Sachin Makani, a 29-year-old graduate student in neuroscience, contributed to this nonsense while being interviewed recently by The Washington Post: "My sense is that nobody feels they can make a difference in the same way that students did in 1968. A lot of us don't see the point in rallying in the streets."
Thanks a lot, Sachin Makani! You just did the rich/powerful (the right-wing) a favor! Who needs troops in the streets asking people for their papers when your despair is a cheaper and far more effective way of suppressing dissent? Not only did you let the rich/powerful off the hook, but you also provided the lazy/apathetic with yet another excuse to stay at home and play video games!
Only a fool would deny the odds against the poor and oppressed (the left-wing), but isn't it about time that the same Rocky "Never Give Up" Balboa philosophy we're constantly inundated with is applied to protest? Personally, I prefer the movie 300 ...
Xerxes: There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Sparta from the histories! Every piece of Greek parchment shall be burned. Every Greek historian, and every scribe shall have their eyes pulled out, and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name of Sparta, or Leonidas, will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!
Leonidas: The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant, that few stood against many, and before this battle was over, even a god-king can bleed.
... the advantage we have over those 300 Spartans is that the poor/oppressed vastly outnumber the rich/powerful. Our biggest disadvantage, of course, is the lack of MASS media access. Underdog Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and Übermensch Bill O'Reilly of FOX News are both on TV, but one has a FAR bigger audience than the other. As the old expression goes, "A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on." And seeing as how the invasion/occupation of Iraq and Vietnam were both based on lies, you can see why it's so important for the truth's boots to be laced up.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Every musician (rap, rock, whatever) within the reach of this commentary needs to hold weekly benefit concerts for the peace movement. This goes for open mike "slam" poets, actors/actresses in playhouses, you name it. Amnesty International, Food Not Bombs, Code Pink, the A.C.L.U., Greenpeace, all these groups are in desperate need of funds. Don't wait for Jesus; don't wait for Obama; don't wait for The Revolution, get it done!