Did Someone Say ‘Revolution’?
“The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.”
– Dorothy Day
If you were to publicly declare your discontent with the U.S. government and your subsequent desire to abolish that government, the Land of the Free™ would likely reward you with an orange jumpsuit and a one-way ticket for an all-inclusive visit to Guantanamo Bay.
Now imagine if you instead chose to stand in front of a crowded room and utter something along these lines:
“I think all men are created equal and are endowed with certain undeniable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are created and derive their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government tries to destroy or take away these undeniable rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and replace it with a new one.”
Bingo: you’re a middle school history teacher! Okay class; turn to page 257. Today we’ll be talking about Patrick Henry and don’t tell me “give me liberty or give me death” sounds an awful lot like what one of those damn evil-doers might say.
Thomas Jefferson can pronounce: “Every generation needs a new revolution.”
But that doesn’t mean I can.
Honest Abe once opined: “Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and force a new one that suits them better.”
Hey, I’d love a government that suits me — and all earthlings — better, but making plans to “shake off the existing government and force a new one” would just about guarantee me a place on that secret no-fly list.
“The most heroic word in all languages is revolution,” stated Eugene Debs, but if good ol’ Gene were around today and typed “revolution” into a search engine, he’d find the top response was a goddamned TV show.
Reality: As long as you’re not talking about the U.S. government or one of its allies, you can spin as many revolutions as you please. You can have 33 per minute, for all the NSA cares.
In fitness, music, film, art, and countless other ways to turn a profit — the mutinous mood is alive and well. This time around the revolution was indeed televised and is now enjoying a long, successful re-run online.
Can the huddled befuddled masses snap from their self-induced trance and embrace a subversive spirit? I’ll give the last word to the sainted Mr. Lincoln:
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
Remember: Abe said it, not me.
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.