Revolution just ain't what it used to be
By Mickey Z.
Clearing House" -- - If you were to publicly declare your
discontent with the U.S. government and your subsequent desire
to abolish that government, the land of the free would likely
reward you with an orange jumpsuit and a one-way ticket for an
all-inclusive vacation at Guantanamo Bay.
Now imagine if you instead chose to stand in front of a crowded
room and utter something along these lines: "I think all men-and
women-are created equal and are endowed with certain undeniable
rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
To secure these rights, governments are created and derive their
powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of
government tries to destroy or take away these undeniable
rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that
government and replace it with a new one."
Bingo: you're a high school history teacher. Okay class; turn to
page 257. Today we'll be talking about Patrick Henry (and don't
tell me "give me liberty or give me death" sounds an awful lot
like what an insurgent might say).
Thomas Jefferson can pronounce: "Every generation needs a new
revolution." But that doesn't mean I can. Honest Abe once
declared: "Any people anywhere being inclined and having the
power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing
government, and force a new one that suits them better." Hey,
I'd love a government that suits me-and most humans-better, but
making plans to "shake off the existing government and force a
new one" would just about guarantee you a place on that secret
Let's face it, revolution just ain't what it used to be. Mao Tse-Tung
warned: "A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an
essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery." Today,
revolution is a Chevy commercial or a Beatles song. Che Guevara
believed "the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of
love." By 1994, Newt Gingrich and his merry band of Republicans
were using "revolution" to describe a minor reshuffling of
ruling class allegiances. "The most heroic word in all languages
is revolution," stated Eugene Debs, but if he were around today
and typed "revolution" into Google, he'd find the top response
was for a software company.
As long as you're not talking about the U.S. government, you can
have as many revolutions as you please. You can have 33 per
minute, for all Dick Cheney cares. Fitness, music, film, art,
and countless ways to make money-the mutinous mood is alive and
well. This time around, however, the revolution was indeed
televised and is now enjoying a long, successful run in
Can the huddled befuddled masses to snap from their self-induced
trance to recapture the subversive spirit of '76? I'll give the
last word to Abraham Lincoln: "This country, with its
institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever
they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can
exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their
revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."
Remember: Abe said it, not me.
Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at
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