Parting remarks: It’s been a Magical Mystery Tour authoring these Raps since 1994. I am grateful to the readership and to my masters at LEO — John Yarmuth, Joseph Grove, Cary Stemle, Stephen George and Sara Havens. None of them censored me, twisted my words or tried to force me into the Black Hole of Political Correctness.
To the best of my ability, I have donned the mantle of agitator, agent provocateur and enemy of the state. I have tried “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Are we on the brink of a second American Revolution? In the spring of 1970, I certainly thought so. When Nixon invaded Cambodia, those of us with beards, long hair and Army jackets watched and smelled the University of Kentucky Air Force ROTC building burn to the ground, saw canisters of tear gas explode followed by National Guardsmen and State Police who beat students to the ground with clubs. Gov. Louie Nunn shut down the campus and ringed it every three feet with grim-faced soldiers “with live ammunition and fixed bayonets.” We were chased by police dogs and saw a Mayflower Moving Van converted into a paddy wagon — into which a wedding party, complete with bride and groom in full nuptial regalia, were tossed like raw meat. Four white students were killed at Kent State, and seven black students were killed at Jackson State. The Weathermen were blowing up buildings, and the Black Panthers were declared “Public Enemy No. 1” just before they were methodically murdered in state-sponsored genocide.
I was radicalized forever and ready to take up arms, smash The State and be a foot soldier in the second American Revolution.
It never happened.
America’s Declaration of Independence makes this much crystal clear: “… That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to those ends (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it and to institute new government … It is their duty to throw off such government and to provide new guards for their future security.”
To this should be added the robust Thomas Jefferson quote that “… the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Fast forward to David Sirota’s recent book “The Uprising” (Sirota reads Wednesday night at Carmichael’s Bookstore). He claims: “(a)n insurrection is on — a fist-pounding, primal-screaming revolt from a mob wielding protest signs, ballots, computer keyboards, shareholder proxies and, even in some cases, guns. It is an uprising.”
This I know: 1984 came and went and no one noticed. This I know: We are ruled by robot leaders who care more about the next election than about the next generation, who prefer the titles Democrat and Republican over American. You scratch a president, you just might find a tyrant. Like Nixon.
But you can’t get to the Revolution from the couch. We are a screen society, lost in virtual reality games and mind-numbing “reality shows” that replace serious discourse about the direction of our country and the disturbing creep toward fascism cloaked with words like “Patriot Act” and “Homeland Security.” Our elected leaders are so smug, knowing that money milked from thousands of special interests will be used to craft targeted attack spots vetted by focus groups that will flood the electorate with vomit, bile and venom — demonizing their opponents.
Sadly, if the last week is indicative of what’s to come, no better can be expected of either Obama or McCain — both arms of the same monster.
Here’s my take: If critical mass is reached, no longer can we hide our ideals behind political parties, no longer can we subjugate rage to bumper stickers, no longer can the rich feast off the backs of the poor, no longer can we abide an America where the hungry, the homeless and the uninsured stare back with vacant eyes.
The path to a New American Revolution is long — longer than it ever was, longer than a death march. This path must be trod by young patriots, betrayed and embittered by our government, torch-lit by the flames of idealism from candles kept lit all these years in all these caves.
It is an insult to be sidelined by harder men. By whatsoever means necessary, they must be retired. Then 10,000 shouts, 10,000 warrior wails will crack the night. Should ballots fail, bullets must fly.
We should not fear the government. The government should fear us.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org, and for past columns, visit www.leoweekly.com or Google “Carl Brown Louisville” — we dare you.