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I Sure Was Dumb
2001-12-14 21:59:32


Anarchy
 
At its best New Wave/punk represents a fundamental and age-old Utopian dream: that if you give people the license to be as outrageous as they want in absolutely any fashion they can dream up, they'll be creative about it, and do something good besides.
-- Lester Bangs

 

I never really believed things could get this bad.

I still don't really understand it. I don't understand how the American government—democratically elected! system of checks and balances! land of the free!—can say things like "Now we are going to have mass secret detentions based on ethnicity, and now we are going to start using torture as a means of interrogation, and now we are going to try our suspects in military tribunals rather than courts of law," with a straight face, and it's not a joke or anything, and people let it happen. I'm letting it happen. I don't think I can make it stop.

I think I'm a bright person. I vote. I write letters to Congress. I exercise my right to peaceful assembly. You know what? All of that is horse puckey. It's utterly meaningless.

When I was a little kid I watched the cartoons about How A Bill Becomes Law, and I loved that shit. It was so cool, the system of checks and balances—how the whole government was carefully set up so that nobody could ever seize power, and every new law was carefully tested by lots of smart people, and there were funny songs too. I felt so happy to be free. I really trusted our government; I thought it was swell.

I used to read about things like segregation or the Japanese internment camps and I'd think to myself, "Wow, things were really bad back then. I'm glad we've learned from our national shame, and I'm glad that kind of thing could never happen now. I certainly wouldn't let it."

Right now I want to grab the little girl that was me and shake her hard, and yell in her face YOU DUMB SHIT, nothing you do will ever make a real difference, GET THAT INTO YOUR HEAD NOW.

Letter-writing and voting and demonstrations are baby rattles. They are things we get to play with to keep us distracted and content. As individuals, we have no real power and no lasting rights. We may be allowed to dissent, but this is an indulgence, not a right that we could enforce or defend.

The minute that real power is at stake—that is, the minute that our government perceives a credible threat to itself—all these so-called "rights", these so-called "principles" like non-discrimination and presumption of innocence, well, they all go away real quick. This is how it's always been and nothing has changed. Sure, when things settle down, the pendulum will swing back and people will say to themselves "secret mass detentions, how awful, I'm glad nothing like that could ever happen now."

But I won't. I'll remember. What I have isn't power; what you have isn't rights.

Democracy is a fucking illusion.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

hundred@pigdog.org


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