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Monday, November 01, 2004

there is something seriously wrong with me. if i'm not wallowing in despair, i'm just seriously pissed off all the time.

i have bought an aluminum baseball bat and a chef's knife in case things get hairy this tuesday. i also have my rattan sticks. they'll be able to pick me off like that guy in indiana jones, but my hope is that it'll be a close crowd, a brawl type situation, and it'll be harder to fire off a shot.

seriously, though. either i'm having a dissociative event, or something very weird is happening these days. it's like there are two realities that are superimposed on one another. one is the neocon fantasy of eternal war and the subjugation of the weak. the other is the liberal dream of the founding fathers of these united states, free from tyranny and oppression.

richard nixon's fascist state versus bill clinton's pax americana.

now don't get me wrong, it's not like clinton's era was perfect. but it was a hell of a lot better than reagan's days. sure, there was a lot of class inequality, sure lots of people got displaced in the name of gentrification, but a lot of good happened too. urban cores started getting renewed. people who were traditionally unempowered--minorities, women, new college grads--were finding really good jobs. even the wages in the hidden sector which undocumented workers fill were better. while things could still be bad (thanks to the republican obstructionists) there was a lot more hope back then. the technological centers of this nation--most notably boston and the san francisco bay area--beacons of liberalism--were taking us into the future, creating wondrous things cheaper and easier to use. sure, obl was on the loose, eager to kill americans. sure, there were awful dictators out there. sure, the issues of the urban centers had been barely addressed. but there was hope.

if there was a god, al gore would have rightfully inherited this world.

and now we have w's non-reality based cabal. people who have the arrogance to think that they can manipulate what people believe. well, this boy ain't drinking that kool-aid.

seriously, i've been thinking a lot about george washington. thomas jefferson. ben franklin. that dude who said "my only regret is that i have but one life to give to my country." this is their legacy that we're pissing away here. but at the same time, we are fighting their same struggle. sure, these guys didn't trust the masses and thought people of color were generally inferior, but they also created a mechanism by which this problems could be fixed. and some of them were, even though a lot of blood was shed.

the horror and tragedy of september 11 is what w stands for. this is the kind of world he wants you to live in. a world where the liberal strongholds of our nation are allowed to be attacked by CIA trained foreign operatives. a world where we have to watch people jump out of 100-story buildings. a world where people's lives are shattered daily, where people's families are torn about is a normal occurence. this is the kind of world that the neocons want.

i lived in that world for at least a month. and then we moved to invade iraq. that's what snapped me out of it. and then i found the left side of the blogosphere (and this is a good start), and realized that i'm not alone. not everyone has jumped off the high dive and ready to surrender everything that americans have worked for for the past two-and-a-quarter centuries. i remember the founding fathers: those who desire security at the expense of freedom, will get and will deserve neither.

today, by some miracle, america is looking a lot more like america, and a lot less like neocon hell. i remember those first days after september 11th, the bloodlust and the rage, the stupid ignorant cowardly rage targeted against those too weak to defend themselves--the minorities, the politically disenfranchised. shooting up mosques. killing convenience store clerks. everyone thinking that the world was going to end with an explosion of a jetliner.

the neocons were wrong. despite their attempts at destabilizing our nation's security, and despite obl's murderous agenda, remember that we're americans, and that we've always been fighting for our freedom, even if it kills us.

i think of those patriots, those harbingers of hope and a brave new world free of fear: martin luther king, jr., john f kennedy, robert kennedy. in that magical age when anything was possible.

shit. i'll put my life on the line for this. just like my grandfathers, grandmothers, grandaunts, and granduncles, when they were subjugated by the Imperial Japanese.

i will not live chained and on my knees.

i think of phillip k dick's expression in his valis trilogy: the black iron prison. his description of the roman empire, probably of Empire in general, and how "the Empire never ended." but there was also the opposition, the ones who wanted freedom and peace, and who managed to knock the walls down.

these are the worlds that are superimposed on each other. on tuesday, one will be realized, and the other will fade away like a dream.


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