Why Aren’t We/You???

(noon. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Simulposted from The Wild Wild Left

I see this question more than any other question across the Liberal Blogosphere.

People are frustrated as hell. I am frustrated as hell.

I see this question asked a thousand ways, a thousand times, it seems an obsession. People are looking for a Savior, a Leader, how to make Coalitions, how to ignite a groundswell uprising. We analyze The Question to Death. Most of the essays and op/eds on the subject are most excellent, I spent a couple hours on and off reading our brother-blog, Docudharma yesterday and found tons of food for thought on the subject.

But even out of the best of these, sometimes it irritates me. I want to yell, “What do you mean ‘we’ Kemosabe? I don’t see you out on the street!” I want to say, “Why are you waiting for a Leader, instead of being one?” Then I calm myself, I think to myself, “We cannot will this into being, the times will create it.”

But most of the time, I just think, “Right on!” I know the act of speaking to it, moves us into the direction where action happens. How many men and women of color asked these same questions before Rosa just sat down? How many whispered in the mean fields before Woody started singing?


We are all impatient, all painfully aware that a change has to happen or we will suffer, most of us are already suffering.  

I’m one of the ones at ground zero. I am quite aware of what’s going on, searingly, personally aware. I talk much less about it than you could all ever know. Many of you are worse off yet.

Some of you are doing much better, but still, no one in the country is doing as well as they once did. Fewer yet are still living at what I like to call the “3 home level.” I suppose this distinction is a Michigan thing. You see, many Union Factory Workers had modest homes in the city and tiny cottages they weekended at, or spent a few vacation weeks in Summer. Here? Anyone with 3 homes has by default, got to be an “Executive.” One of the people fighting the Unions and the Workers to show profits and get their huge bonuses.

Not that I want to silence voices from above in the economicsphere, all voices are needed to fight fascism. It is only the idea that being told to hit the Street by those who would not end up homeless, jobless, with no way to feed their child sometimes rankles. They may have more to lose, but it is a much, much longer path to losing it all. They won’t be the first to bury their son, or to die, leaving him Motherless.

So, in those short thoughts that just spilled out of my brain, I defined one of the answers of “Why not?”

Its more than fear, it is SELF-PRESERVATION INSTINCT.

I had a spirited debate yesterday with a musician. Now, I may be wrong, but I doubt that many working musicians are Conservatives. Yet, the fear of work-loss keeps him anonymous, makes it impossible in his mind to post freely under his true name.

I would venture to guess the majority of Bloggers feel the same way, due to the concrete evidence that the majority of Bloggers post anonymously.

Lets analyze that.

In a Free Country, we are AFRAID to voice our Political views, well, uhhhhhhh, FREELY. The bravery of others, who posted with their real names inspired me to do the same.

I am of two minds about this, as I am about many things. Nothing, ok, little, is black and white to me. It depends wholly on who you are afraid of. The Government? Your employers? Your peers?

First of all, if you have signed a Petition the Government knows who you are anyway. You are on a list. Secondly, if you have written what they see as subversive articles anonymously, they quite have the capability to track your I/P address and know who you are. You are on the list.

Now, employers? Should any of your employers bother to google each and every one of their employees, and dislike your Politics, on what grounds could you be dismissed? Is this really America? They could be sued into oblivion.

My other way of thinking on this? Smarter, not harder. With advanced surveillance, and the propensity for targeting perceived Leaders at any demonstration, is it not smarter to cover one’s face, hide one’s identity? It seems so. That seems to be the prevailing opinion of demonstrators world-wide. I get it. Are we that far off from the hoodings and midnight disappearances of people seen as trouble-makers to the status quo?

I would argue with myself a bit against my own point: Hooded, scarfed people look like thieves, terrorists, Klansmen, like People who think they are doing something WRONG. Maybe what is lacking is for people to see the Faces of those who are standing up, whose pain and resolve are evident in the very window to the soul we all recognize. Our eyes, our faces. In a John Wayne mentality country, only bad guys cover their face. In an XE country, survivors do.


I have no answer to that one.

Now, what to protest?

Ummmm, “everything” is not an answer.

One of the best essays I read talked about a “spark.” Another spoke of a “Uniting Single Principle,” like the 60’s had: the draft and Vietnam. A while ago, I read one about whether the times create a Leader or a Leader creates the times. All excellent questions. We have spoken on WWL Radio about tipping points, and what could finally, after outrage after abomination, move people to action?

Others, the more Centrists of the Left, cling to incremental change. They think voting and bargaining will return us to a state of Civil Rights and economic safety. This is the argument I most easily dismiss. No one who has accrued wealth or power from or over others, ever returns it freely. It is too far gone.

There are just too many variables to predict what will motivate us. We have no jobs, no civil rights or protections, rising costs of living and medical care, diminishing education, wildly excessive military spending, bailouts to those who stole our country’s wealth and are at never-ending war in an effort to conquer the planet for the Elites.

I am pissed at every single one of those travesties, as well as the rise of gender-bias and racism/xenophobia in this country.

So why am I not out on the streets? Why are YOU not out in the streets? Is it the whack-a-mole theory, where if you protest one issue, the other will smash you while your not looking?

I don’t know.

I think, perhaps, its just not time.

I know we are frustrated, and ask the very valid question, “If not now, when?”

Apartheid didn’t end in a year. India did not free herself overnight. America herself has come to change only in fits and leaps.

My only answer is this. No matter how you come at it, whether we all agree on the “how, when or why’s” it is the whispers in the Fields that matter.

We need to rage about what is being done to us; we need to start to speak about what the society we envision would be like.

We need to quit criticizing ourselves for not doing MORE, when there is so much work to be done laying the groundwork for succeeding when it does happen. We need to lose the illusion that this “something” must be planned and plotted.


A spiritual warrior does not rush to the hunt because its there. He rather hones himself, speaks to others about what is wise and what is not. Revolution starts in whispers, I say.

The time will present itself spontaneously.

One woman will stand up, or sit down. Someone will come, and put shoulder to shoulder, then another. Then another. Word will travel and others will come. Others will stand.

Nothing happens in a vacuum.

Prepare yourself to stand up. Know what you are fighting for and against. Read, listen, learn, speak. Never be silent.

The time is coming.

The times will create the Leaders, and if those Leaders should fall, others will rise in their place. Be ready to follow, be ready to Lead if that is your nature. Waiting is not frustrating if you are preparing, if you KNOW it will fail without the proper timing, if you KNOW your very survival depends on that time being right. The cosmos just works that way. It creates itself.

Keep your voices, your words spilling truth forth. They are what CREATES the TIME.

You will know when the time is right.

You will know.

…and I will be standing next to you.

(so spills out of my brain in a swoop with my first cup of coffee..)



Skip to comment form

    • Diane G on December 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The most important thing right now is to speak truth to power; the rest will follow in time.

    • Edger on December 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm

  1. most politically active people I know (unfortunately very few) are loud and proud about their liberalism.  However in professional circles it may simply be the polite thing to do to refrain from those discussions.  Many people are simply honest and don’t speak of their ideology because it can be so confusing and perhaps they are unsure how to articulate their opinion.  And there are always more than two sides to an issue (see GOS), lol, finding one who thinks exactly like you on the details of a complex issue can be difficult.

    I could be full of shit though.  Every-frickin’-body knows I am a progressive.  Big mouth.

    One thing I do know is that if Conservatives judge me with the fervor I judge them…  Wow.  

  2. thank you.

    I loved that “spark” comment too, maybe Ill try to find it (I think it was davidseth).

    I found this piece interesting yesterday… at alternet. Im not certain I agree entirely, but he has some valid points.

    Can anything be done to turn this around?

    When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths about their oppressive humiliations don’t set them free. What sets them free is morale.

    What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. And anything that helps them break out of the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

    The last people I would turn to for help in remobilizing a demoralized population are mental health professionals — at least those who have not rebelled against their professional socialization. Much of the craft of relighting the pilot light requires talents that mental health professionals simply are not selected for nor are they trained in. Specifically, the talents required are a fearlessness around image, spontaneity, and definitely anti-authoritarianism. But these are not the traits that medical schools or graduate schools select for or encourage.

    Mental health professionals’ focus on symptoms and feelings often create patients who take themselves and their moods far too seriously. In contrast, people talented in the craft of maintaining morale resist this kind of self-absorption. For example, in the question-and-answer session that followed a Noam Chomsky talk (reported in Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, 2002), a somewhat demoralized man in the audience asked Chomsky if he too ever went through a phase of hopelessness. Chomsky responded, “Yeah, every evening . . .”

    If you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel hopeless about. If you want to sort of work out objectively what’s the chance that the human species will survive for another century, probably not very high. But I mean, what’s the point? . . . First of all, those predictions don’t mean anything — they’re more just a reflection of your mood or your personality than anything else. And if you act on that assumption, then you’re guaranteeing that’ll happen. If you act on the assumption that things can change, well, maybe they will. Okay, the only rational choice, given those alternatives, is to forget pessimism.”

    A major component of the craft of maintaining morale is not taking the advertised reality too seriously. In the early 1960s, when the overwhelming majority in the U.S. supported military intervention in Vietnam, Chomsky was one of a minority of U.S. citizens actively opposing it. Looking back at this era, Chomsky reflected, “When I got involved in the anti-Vietnam War movement, it seemed to me impossible that we would ever have any effect. . . So looking back, I think my evaluation of the ‘hope’ was much too pessimistic: it was based on a complete misunderstanding. I was sort of believing what I read.”

    An elitist assumption is that people don’t change because they are either ignorant of their problems or ignorant of solutions. Elitist “helpers” think they have done something useful by informing overweight people that they are obese and that they must reduce their caloric intake and increase exercise. An elitist who has never been broken by his or her circumstances does not know that people who have become demoralized do not need analyses and pontifications. Rather the immobilized need a shot of morale.

    Then last night I viewed the People Speak, Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport… that was pretty good, encouraging, a booster.

  3. thank you davidseth!

    Yes. Yes. Yes.   (4.00 / 4)

    That’s exactly the right:

       What’s missing is the link, now, between our collective keyboards and the streets.  What’s missing is grappling with the hard topic of the PROCESS of social change.  We are constantly absorbed in the present, and this is blinding.  If we can build that connection, if we can think outside the given moment, then I think other pieces would start to fall into place.  They’re all there.

    Yes.  My great grandmother was one of the organizers of the LGWU, the union response to the Triangle Fire.  She was little.  And very, very tough.  She didn’t speak much English, preferred to express her views in Yiddish.  With English cussing.  Of course.  She didn’t live until the ’60’s, though I think she would have gotten a kick out of all of that and would have loved to argue about tactics and strategy.  But I digress.  The Triangle Fire was a spark.  Rosa Parks was a spark.  The draft was a spark.  Harvey Milk was a spark.  Stonewall was a spark. Selma was a spark.  The Birmingham Church bombing was a spark.  Shooting Medgar Evers was a spark.  You cannot know what the next one will be.  You can bet the ranch on this though: it will come.

    • Diane G on December 14, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    need to spend a month on our budget and see why pasta with margarine and spices is a mainstay.

    We cannot afford organic, fat free foods.

    Or gyms for that matter.

    Then they would shut the fuck up about our weight and see that economics is the source of almost all our so-called short comings. NOT INGNORANCE.

    Great response, LL. Love Chomsky.

    But we don’t need a shot of morale, either. We need money and an equal playing field.

  4. Hi I’m Timothy Brunemeyer, I’m slightly left of the left.  I totally despise conservatives, bible thumpers, war mongers, war criminals,war profiteers, people who aren’t nice and lots of others.

    I’m working on not despising anyone, controlling my sense of rage, anger, indignation and the 5 aggregates. (long way to go)

    I’m the son of a minister from a church I thought of as liberal and socially conscious but they voted to not allow  same sex marriages regardless of legal status.

    And finally I work in an industry (part time) where if they find out this post was written I’ll probably loose my job cause we cater to the God fearin’ wingnuttery.

    Pleased to meat ya’


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