American Revolution: the Second Time Around?

Like most other Americans, I’ve been consumed by the discussions on our economic “crisis” this past week. So much so, that I didn’t realize I was due for a blog post until I walked into the office this morning and discovered it was Thursday.

I have a few “canned” posts for moments like this, but somehow they seem inappropriate. It seems wrong to post something lighthearted or funny when we are at this momentous juncture. I’ve made a point of avoiding politics in our discussions here, but today I feel compelled to violate that self-imposed rule.

I do not affiliate with any party. I left the Democrats long ago, when they seemed to have lost their cahones and became lapdogs for the Republicans. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m the kind of person who is so far left that the mass media conversations about “liberals” leave me confused, because if someone like Bill Clinton is a liberal, then what on earth am I?

After years of Rovian tactics whereby dissent was considered unpatriotic or in support of terrorism, it is refreshing to see people saying “enough!” After years of disbelief that so many people could blindly swallow the party line and vote against their best interests, it is inspiring to see that people are waking up.

Corporate media, who, like the Democrats, lost their you-know-whats in recent years, are finally holding some of our political candidates to task. Instead of allowing them to dodge questions with rambling answers of gobbledegook, they are saying things like, “Ok, but back to the question……..” And the way they stood up to the recent attempt to shut them out of Palin’s meetings with foreign leaders! (Of course, they caved for a measly 29 seconds of time, but it’s a start).

And though I realize I listen to progressive radio and therefore the caller/listener pool is politically left to start with, the change in comments over the past week has been dramatic. People have had enough. The very idea of the $700-billion bailout has snapped their focus off discussions of mavericks, elitism, and other rhetoric. Our attention is finally focused on something that actually matters, something that has affected each of us (except the billionaires).

I haven’t heard from my conservative in-laws in Kansas lately, so I don’t know if the so-called middle America or “heartland” is having this same discussion. But I live in one of the reddest states (Nevada) and for 11 years before that lived in an even redder one (Alaska) — and if the conversation has changed here, then I have to believe it’s changed everywhere.

It’s making me hopeful. One of my favorite holidays is Bastille Day, which celebrates the day the French people rose up and overthrew their monarchy. Regardless of the true historical facts of that day, the idea behind it has always inspired me — an oppressed people taking back their country. I have long hoped for our own (guillotine-free) version of storming the Bastille. Are we on the verge?

Republican or democrat, I can agree to disagree. What matters is that each of us in engaged, that we educate ourselves on the facts and that we participate in our own future. Don’t just swallow what talking heads on TV tell us. More and more people are gagging on it, and that makes me hopeful that democracy is still alive and well in America.

So as election season intensifies, as our nation’s economic future hangs by a thread, remember the words of Howard Beale in the Oscar-winning movie Network:

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad, everybody knows things are bad: It’s a depression! Everybody’s out of work, or scared of losing their job; the dollar buys a nickel’s worth; banks are going bust….nobody anywhere seems to know what to do and there’s no end to it! We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat….We know things are bad, worse than bad: they’re crazy! It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore! We sit in the house and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is “please, at least leave us alone in our living-rooms – let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything! Just leave us alone!” Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad!…I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street – all I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say “I’m a human being goddammit! My life has value!” So, I want you to get up now, I want all of you to get up out of your chairs! I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

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