Go to the mattresses

America is, as writer Sheldon Wolin calls it, an inverted totalitarian state. It suffers from the delusion of democracy, but that democracy works only for those at the top. What we knew as freedom has been bought and sold by the corporation, and we are enslaved in a medicated, techno-propaganda haze to believe we are free and that the threats are from outsiders. The outsiders see what we don’t. They don’t want to kill us: They want to kill the empire that keeps us fat, stupid and distracted. They don’t hate our way of life. They hate our corporate overlords who’ve used us up, made us believe their intentions are egalitarian and not economic and then moved on to invade their countries, pillaging their resources.

America has sold us a good line for too long.

When I was about 10, the neighborhood bully, a girl I will call A, said the wrong thing and then attempted to throw her sloppy little fist at my face. I grabbed her and smacked her around solidly, and she backed away sobbing. Her brother, standing by as her backup, moved toward me. Full of adrenaline and unafraid, I grabbed him and, much too easily, tossed him into a nearby bush. His friend raised his hands and backed away. He’d seen enough and, though I made the offer to reward him with a similar fate, he smartly declined.

When presented an uneven fight, I fought. I was a tiny girl, not even 5 feet tall. I knew that the situation was not in my favor, and I couldn’t accept that, even outnumbered, losing was my fate. I didn’t lose.

After that, what happened to me happened to most of us, I grew up. I realized that I could not solve every disagreement with my fists and, sometimes, I didn’t need to fight. I also learned, and believed, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Now when confronted with a battle, I live by “The Godfather” rule of “going to the mattresses,” which means to go to war. It doesn’t mean that I pick off enemies with lethal hired hits. It does mean that, when backed into a corner, not given what I am due, I go in with all the weaponry I have. For me, that means my words, my fingers, a keyboard and, sometimes, a real pen. I use the tools at my discretion. We all have  tools.

What we know as democracy is under grave threat, but not from any enemies we’ve been trained to fear — not Russia, because of its interference in the election, or China, which flew a nuclear-capable jet in response to President Pussy Grabber Von Trumpnik Twitter Baby Hands’ phoner with Taiwan. It isn’t ISIS, or even ebola. They are scary, but they are distractions. We are most threatened by the greed for dollars by bloated fucks just like Trumpnik — just like Hillary, who benefits from upholding the same illusion of democracy with kinder buzzwords.

It isn’t the dollar that’s problematic. It is the dollar gained at the expense of the planet, the people and the future. It is the dollar earned through sloth, and a refusal to embrace innovation, or to build the infrastructure to support the future in the places where these wealth-grubbers continue to rape the Earth of her oil and coal. Eastern Kentucky, I’m looking at you. They promised you coal, but should have given you tech; yet you will get a lot of the same — nothing.

As regular people, who live with regular amounts of money, or less, we can’t really fight on the battlefield of the big dollar, unless we risk hurting the vulnerable. Now, don’t think that I mean that strategic boycotts don’t work. They do. We just have to be careful how they are deployed. What I’m talking about disrupts a system at its core. Expose it. Expose it. Be skeptical of everything you are being told.

If ever there was a nonpartisan issue, this is it. We go to the mattresses.

This is a call to action, especially to those of us who are creators. Our job has forever been to reframe the propaganda, to expose the breakdowns in the system, then crack them wider. More than ever, this is essential.

About the Author

Go to the mattresses

Erica Rucker is LEO Weekly’s Arts & Entertainment Editor. In addition to her work at LEO, she is a haphazard writer,  photographer, tarot card reader, and fair to middling purveyor of motherhood. Her earliest memories are of telling stories to her family and promising that the next would be shorter than the first. They never were. You can follow Erica on Twitter, but beware of honesty, overt blackness and occasional geeky outrage.

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