Friday, February 10, 2017

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

Every generation needs to find a way to come to terms with its own dark years. Slavery, Chinese encampment, Japanese persecution. Here is what people have been asking themselves for generations: "If I were alive during [mass persecution of any one group] and saw what was happening, what would I have done?" Three weeks into this administration, you no longer have to wonder what you would have done. What you are doing right now is what you would have done.

All that most Americans want is for our darkest years to be behind us. From "America the Beautiful" to the "shining city on a hill," we strive as a people to lead by example in civil rights, freedom and due process.The intention is so sincere, but how we make that happen is a big mystery.

Mankind reels with every reign of ruthless fear-mongers and their followers, then we study the events for decades so that we can figure out what went so horribly wrong. What critical path were we following that led to so many wrong choices that this choice seemed like a good idea. How do we keep crowning these pompous, deadly would-be kings?  Especially in America, this is supposed to be the best country in the world? And THIS is our leader, elected on a platform of anti-everything except his own interests? Wow. One might think that certain Americans fail to make the connection between "then" and "now" in any meaningful way.

Perhaps if we kept history more top-of-mind as we make our choices. Real history, even the parts that are hard to talk about. Teaching American children an entirely fictionalized Thanksgiving story as though it were actual history for hundreds of years is the sort of casual propagandizing that poses problems. That history lesson should go, "Disgruntled religious fanatics from Europe sailed ashore, some bragging that they'd found India and doggedly insisted upon calling the natives they found living there Indians, then eventually more religious fanatics showed up, and they set right to figuring out how to kill everyone. They talked about noble ideas but they plotted to murder and steal. They pretended to be help with a gift of blankets when it became very cold, but those blankets were disease-ridden and killed many natives, and what a dick move that was, kids. Then they slaughtered or drove off those people, stole their land, and built churches in which to congregate and praise themselves for being such good people. Also they invented democracy, started many libraries, colleges and universities and wrote the Bill of Rights."

Instead, they had us putting on fake Thanksgiving plays and saying "maize." It's all made up and the rest of our lives are spent learning the truth. Un-education is harder than just teaching us the real shit the first time around. What a shame.

Do Australians know that Americans throw them the side eye for being descendants of a nation founded by criminals? "Hello, Pot? Yeah, mate, this is Kettle. Uh...don't know how to tell you this, but -- you're black." At least Australian founding fatherz were once tried, convicted and locked up for the crimes they committed. America's founding fathers got bronze monuments in every town square.

You can teach American history to kids in an accurate way, including the harder facts, and still teach all of the greatness that followed. Teach all the art, literature, poetry, music, books and sharing of ideas that happens when differing cultures clash, dovetail and blend. Parts of it are horrible, but much more of it is beautiful. Most importantly, teach the turning point. Teach when the gears of progress moved past the acceptance of every race, creed and gender-based atrocity, attempted to atone for it, and what we learned as a people. That's a better history lesson. Teach ideas, not dates. Teach civilization, not country capitals. Teach the evolution of civilization, humanities, and the social contract. Teach history in such a way that people will understand how repeating the unjust parts will affect the country and the world.

Image result for muslim ban sign boston

But I'm hopeful, because this time we have this 24/7, cross-generational, income-agnostic way to communicate real-time. As much as it can suck living our lives tethered to the digital omnisphere, it's what's connecting us to each other. Social media amplifies the great numbers saying "Not today, motherfucker." Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Podcasts and Youtube give us this cloud-based babel fish.

How hard it must have been to generate some kind of resistance movement in Boston over two centuries ago. Even sending messages to one another at the speed of a strong horse-and-rider, you'd communicate with caution, never knowing friend or foe since that kind of backtalk could get you shot for treason. The Boston Tea Party is a pretty big feature in the American timeline. That's when a different kind of first shot was fired back, at tyranny of the elite. Enough people got together that were finally sick enough of the king's shit that they didn't care anymore about his man-baby reaction. The tea party numbered only 144 rebels that were all "fuck this guy." 144 people won't even sell out The Lizard Lounge on Mass Ave.

Did you see how fast that January 21 Women's March got rolling? It boggles, the insane logistics that must have gone into pulling together a march on Washington. A responsive website, Twitter and Facebook pages, city permits, awareness-building on a nationwide level. People made travel plans, carpooled to DC. And the quickness with which that march then went national to where groups in every city did it, too. Then it went global -- right down to the pussyhats. People knitted their asses off worldwide, doesn't that blow your mind? Stores were selling out of poster board and pink yarn. People who have never marched for anything in their lives, linked up and made themselves known. Strength, courage. In numbers. All in about five weeks' time from idea to the biggest global "fuck this guy" rally in the history of the world.

This time, in Boston we were 120,000 to 150,00 strong.

If you've been paying attention -- not just now but this whole time you've been alive -- you'll recognize that the situation in America has reached grave proportions. As a nation we are in serious, historical trouble here. We are in the next-level kind of trouble that will take centuries to resolve should we continue to make the wrong choices. Choice as individuals, as our family values, and choice as a united nation. If Czechoslovakia had not given Hitler the Sudetanland, the dark years that followed might have been avoided. Hitler promised that he would go no further. He lied, didn't he. Liars are always the wrong choice.

Donald Trump is just some tacky real estate quasi-millionaire that has more money than class, and knows exactly squat about the job he's been "elected" to do. Donald Trump chooses to be a crude, loudmouth braggart over being a decent person, because that's what he thinks it means to be a man. He's no leader. He is without honor. All he has ever wanted is the world's largest audience to know his name. He's gotten that, for all the wrong reasons. He's got to go. Because fuck that guy. ∎

"The revolution will be digitized." - Goddamn Glenn (Photo by Honey Pie)