Tuesday, January 18, 2011


“Don't Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” Everybody's talking about the Arizona shootings from January 8, 2011. Social media quickly became inundated with radical commentary from the right and the left alike. In defense of a graphic on Sarah Palin's SarahPac website, wherein 20 House Democrats' States are shown with superimposed “sights” graphics on them, Palin's Aide Rebecca Mansour claimed that the graphics were merely “crosshairs that you would see on a map.” Surveyor's Symbols. And although the graphic from the SarahPac website is entitled “It's Time to Take a Stand,” Mansour claimed, “We never imagined, it never occurred to us that anybody would consider it violent.” Meanwhile, conservatives are digging up information about the Democrats who also use verbal and symbolic violent imagery in their campaigns. The mud-slinging follows in the usual range of telling politicians they should be held “accountable” for their every word to seeing a given assassin as a “mentally deranged monster,” a loner, completely outside of any social system of influence. And, in the end, just like children who fight during recess, each party is very quick to say, “but he started it!”

In this climate of global political warming I'd better make my disclaimer right from the start. Because I don't want to have to look as ridiculous as Sarah Palin looks right now, with everybody laughing at the idea of “reloading” surveying equipment.

I want a revolution! I want you to aim high. I want you to set your targets. I want you to fight for what you believe in. Destroy oppression. Do not accept injustice. Lash out against tyranny. Take a last stand against that which is holding us back. Grasp freedom with your last breath and let the world know this fight will not have been in vain!

What am I talking about? I haven't stated it yet. The far-right or the far-left could apply these words to any of their particular political agendas. Violent words don't automatically contribute to a violent political climate. But they can. And they do as soon as a face is put behind the oppression and the tyranny. As soon as an object is focused within the crosshairs. As soon as freedom is associated with freedom for “me and mine,” and no longer “freedom for everyone.”

When politicians talk, their words are reduced to political rhetoric. Whether a great speaker or a splashy populist, in the end only slogans remain in the ears of the followers. We live in a cut-and-paste world and everything will be taken out of its original context. Accountable? Indeed. We are all accountable for everything that we say or do. Violent words belong to passionate language. It's absurd that they should be restricted. But politicians, public figures, media and the rest of us need to practice moderation. We need to see a correlation of events. We need to practice responsibility. And we need to work for the common good.

I want a revolution! Because you'll fall asleep if I use the word “reform.” Because you won't pay attention if I talk about “diplomacy.” Because you'll submit to the apathy that gnaws at us if I refer to a need for “change.” I want a revolution! In how we divide the world into “us” and “them.” In how we cling so tightly to our God-given rights that we don't respect the rights of others. In how we so willingly and blindly polarize ourselves and contribute to the fragmentation of society. I want a revolution! In faith. That we can again learn faith in ourselves, in our ability to seek truth, in our ability to side with justice, in our ability to reinvent ourselves. I want you to aim high and set your targets on a better world. Together we can redefine a new system, wherein words are no longer empty rhetoric, because we are the politicians, we are the intellectuals, we are the capable, and it rests on our shoulders. I want you to fight for what you believe in. But the biggest fight will be within ourselves and our ingrained tendency to believe that responsibility lies elsewhere. I want you to destroy tyranny and oppression, stand up against injustice. But is it really “them” that is holding “us” back? The first oppression that has to be destroyed is the oppression from within. We are part of this! And the only way to fight oppression is to fight it together. Take a last stand against that which is holding us back. And start by eliminating the ignorance and apathy within ourselves. And stop accepting ignorance and apathy from others. Accountability! My views are radical? Take a look at the world and tell me that the current world-order isn't radical. My views are tame. Find common ground and work for solidarity. But this has become so foreign to the world-order that a revolution is needed to get there. Grasp freedom with your last breath and let the world know this fight will not have been in vain! Because we have no other viable choice. If we overcome our apathy there is no longer a choice of subscribing to the status quo.


  1. I'm not optimistic that there can ever be a major revolution anytime soon.

    Most people don't like to be out of their "comfort zones."

    There may be small shifts to the political right and left, but as technology is better able to determine what we want and don't want, it stifles personal change.

    So many people I know are increasingly surrounded by things that reinforce their basic beliefs rather than challenge them. That's the reason why the United States has become so polarized lately.

    For example: I don't have cable so I signed up for streaming Netflix. Based on the shows that I chose to watch, they have a list of "suggestions" for me. If I did nothing but watch what I already like, I would never expand my tastes.

    (And don't get me started on the movie theaters here. ALL the theaters show the same eight or nine films every week.)

    It's not that Americans are politically farther right or farther left; we're more polarized because we've become more narrowly set in our ways. People see anyone with a slight difference of opinion as being a major ideological threat...and deserving of some heated rhetoric.

  2. Loudog: you confirm exactly what I wrote in “Long Division in Contemporary References”. I think we have a responsibility to combat this polarization and to try to find out why people are so "ideologically threatened." How have even the slightest differences of opinion become so loaded? I've often heard reference to the younger generation being so wrapped up in a virtual world that they have lost their ability to develop normal social skills. But I think that only accounts for a very small part of the picture.

    Is the "Clash of Civilizations" of the 1990's becoming the "Clash of Ideologies" of this decade? Or worse, was it the cause? Not the clash, but the book. In political science discourses we cannot underestimate the power that concepts are having on the world that they seek to explain. Perhaps, at least in part, the rifts we see growing in society are due to the explanation - and vast, media-based concept building - that society is becoming polarized. It's not a simple chicken-or-the-egg matter. Concepts and political outcomes work in symbiosis.

    Real political responsibility goes much deeper than the attacks on Sarah Palin's lack of good taste in her rhetoric. The shear propaganda on the issues of social unrest and polarization is in part responsible for the social unrest and polarization.