March 22, 2003
War and Peace WeekendAs I feel my way from the dreamy fog of sleep, I become aware of where and when I am located in the timespace continuum. It is not a weekday, I don't have to jump up for work. It is Saturday. It all starts to come back. Then the crushing recollection that my government is bombing innocent people in a third world country, that the big tough guys at the Pentagon are carrying out their threat to "shock and awe" innocent children in Baghdad. The burden once again descends upon be and nearly crushes me.
But today there is a small measure of hope. The peace demonstration in New York. At least there is a way to take action, to gather with hundreds of thousands of others who feel we have all been pushed too far. These murderers and usurpers must be stopped. All other purposes are fading into insignificance.
Rolling out of bed the first cultural artifact I encounter is the Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel magazine that came in the mail yesterday. On the cover is a man with bulging triceps and pectorals standing up to his groin in the ocean. Next to him is a gorgeous woman in a scant blue bikini, her body a perfect wonder. But it pales. It is a shallow, thin reality now. All of this, all of this commercialism, the tawdry civilization around me, all the glittery consumer goods, all the commercial messages subliminal to overt. It is all fake. It is maya. It is nearly transparent to me now. My government is committing mass murder in the Middle East.
What can matter up next to that? What consumer good can mean anything to me when "our way of life" requires murdering and terrorizing innocents in other countries. If that's what I must do to live, I don't want to. I renounce it. This civilization is not worth protecting if that is what it does.
I know there is something higher and greater for America. There is a promise there that has been fulfilled in part for many people. The people in America have to seize that initiative again, to take power from these power-mad maniacs, these homicical, psychopathological mass murderers. We are at a crucial moment. This may be our last chance to stop this hellish advance into a barbaric technologically enabled totalitarian society.
It is time to take action, time to take to the streets. Any and all kinds of action that are within the ideals of a truly democratic, free and just society. No more drifting into fascism. We have to pull this thing up and get it back on track. And we can do it. As they chant at the demonstrations: "The people united can never be defeated."
It happened to the other Evil Empire. It can happen to this one too.