Monday, April 4, 2011

come the revolution

A friend passed along a longish screed about the momentum that is building for a U.S. revolution a la the Middle East. Tax the rich, the writer argues, because the penury caused by the smug attitudes at the financial apex will bring on a chaos that even the rich may finally have to acknowledge... and suffer.

I have to admit that there is a wee comsymp troll in my make-up that delights in this finger-pointing. There really is something obscene and utterly vulgar about the cuff links and pearls of the very-wealthy. Nail the bastards to the wall! Man the barricades!

I haven't got the energy to read long diatribes on the subject. I am content with the Somali security agent's observation on TV about the causes of piracy along the African coast: "If you do not share your wealth with us, we will share our poverty with you."

But even after the screeds and after the in-a-nutshell observations, there is the chaotic and painful reality of a revolution I can readily imagine. The trouble with finding a "them" to blame and excoriate is, of course, that both finger-pointers and the objects of finger-pointing are wound together with the intimacy of DNA strands. A revolution that brings down "the rich" leaves the poor having to sort out a destiny that is not so easy to define. Chaos is painful. This understanding, whether conscious or unconscious, is something the well-heeled depend on. Even the poor will support the rich when the alternative is a disarray that means people will starve and suffer and die.

 After the common cause of revising the role of the smug and well-heeled has been achieved, what common cause will assure a brighter, more peaceful and less fractious future? War is easy. Peace is the hard part.

A Buddhist monk, offering prayer,
walks through the area destroyed
by a tsunami in Yamada, Iwate
prefecture in northern
Japan on Monday, April 4,
2011. AP Photo/ Kyodo News
Nevertheless, whatever the uncertainties, I agree with the proposition that critical mass is building and that the tip-over point -- "fuck it! let's do it!"-- is not just hypothetical hand-wringing. Food shortages (I think I heard that 40% of all corn output is now assigned to the creation of ethanol rather than nutrition for those who are hungry) are just one piece of the pie, but when people are hungry, the ugliness of revolution becomes less ugly.

Us and them. Us and them. Us and them. What a poor paradigm. But common. And, whether individually or as a group, there is no correcting that paradigm unless individuals are willing to correct it in themselves. It may be difficult and it may require effort and the catcalls of the vast majority may drown out such efforts. But it is the only course that makes any sense to me. Anything else is just whistling past the graveyard.

In the midst of chaos, it is understandable that anyone might seek refuge and relief. Please, please, please...! But only when that "please" rises to the level of individual effort and attention and responsibility does the reality of release step forward with open arms. No one and nothing else can do it.

PS. With thanks to Kobutsu for sending along and pointing out the photo of the monk.

1 comment:

  1. Always the optimist, i imagine the first hint of such will result in martial law and a suspension of all rights and political theater. Republics/democracies always spend themselves to death after a couple centuries, and always fall into despotism to try and hold things together while they fracture into the pre-existing states.

    Of course here in the U.S. there were no pre-existing states, so i'd expect geography and demographics to draw the lines. And i'd expect border wars for resources and ideologies to follow.

    Of course a capitalist/feudalism ala Rollerball might follow. But capitalists wont spend for security beyond protecting their own stuff. And collapsing currencies may dissolve such entities anyway. So my money's on the feudal bully and violent extortion.