There’s No Place Like Home

 

 

This post is a part of Blog March 2017, a movement for Raising Voices for Freedom of Expression, Knowledge, and Information. We will be broadcasting voices throughout the month of May. The previous blog marcher was Jason Wendleton at Defending Axl Rose on May 8, and the next blog marcher will be Rorie Kelly at GoGirlsMusic.com on May 10. I am number 9.

Sometimes I think there is no place for me in the American political spectrum. That is because I am too damn liberal. I am more liberal than every person I have ever met, with the exception of a group of anarchists I met in Toledo a few years back. The American spectrum reads like this from right to left: reactionary–>conservative–>centrist<–liberal<–radical. I am an ultra-radical. I have believed for many years that the U.S. Constitution needs to be re-written due to two factors: the extreme demographic shift and population growth that separates 1787 America from 2017 America and 2) the fact that the Founding Fathers knew far less about the world than most college students do today. No, amendments don’t cut it. The amendment process is long, laborious, and uses the standing Constitution as a barometer upon which to gauge the severity of its changes. Changes too far from the Constitution take much longer to ratify. But the Founders never envisioned the type of America that we have today. In fact, it would have horrified them. So why do we see their words as gospel? Why do we dynamite graven images of them onto the sides of mountains?

I am no longer disappointed with the conservatism in American politics. I’ve become numb to it. I had my first taste of utter shock and disappointment with American conservatism in my 20s. There was a bill in California that was going to get rid of affirmative action, Prop. 209, and I was sure it wasn’t going to pass. I thought it was old school. I thought the 1960s Countercultural Movement had addressed all those issues and that we, as a country, were past it. But we weren’t. The bill passed. That was over 20 years ago. Ever since then, I have come to believe that I am too liberal for this country. I was pissed about all those pledges of allegiance to the flag I had made, and how many times I proclaimed this the land of the free and home of the brave. So what do you do when you feel you’ve been betrayed? I became a teacher, and tried to steer the right-leaning ship of this country using education and history. I succeeded to some degree, but could never reach the number of people I needed to sway election results.

So, I love the liberal-ness (“liberalism” means something else) of today’s 20- and 30-years-olds. However, I have noticed a disturbing trend. Today’s young people seem not only entitled to liberal viewpoints, they are downright hateful towards people who aren’t as liberal as they are. I see this sort of “more-liberal-than-thou” attitude in news feeds, news stories, and pop-culture fora. Young people, you will never change the world through anger and a lack of understanding. Only by understanding conservatism and LOVING CONSERVATIVES will we ever be able to bridge the cultural divide in our nation. Yes, that’s right, I said loving conservatives. Because they’re people. And they’re people who have a right to their opinions, but many have been brainwashed to be afraid of certain segments of our society. Their fear will not be assuaged by us hating them. They already suspect that liberals like to make fun of them using words they can’t understand. You don’t think they get when people are making fun of them? They may not understand the nuances of your intellectual barbs, but they know you’re teasing them, just like they knew it when we were all back on the playground. But liberals fall into the same trap conservatives do: both sides want to “win” rather than come to a place of mutual understanding. “Winning” is the ultimate objective; having the opposing side come to a realization that they’ve been wrong all along.

We have to let go of this obsession with winning. We have to accept that in order for this country to come together, we need to acknowledge that the right might never come to regret their rightish ways, BUT WE HAVE TO LOVE THEM ANYWAY. We have to see the humanity in them, and connect with them there, and try to help them come to informed opinions. Because when we don’t, they get mad and they go out and vote in larger numbers than we do because they outnumber us. Every time. There is only one LA and one NY and there are thousands of little towns in America in between them with tens of thousands of people who are looking to liberals to make good decisions. But when liberals make decisions that ignore these little towns, these people elect extreme candidates to let us know they’re still there. That’s how George W. was elected, and that explains our current surreal trip into the presidential unknown.

But I understand the outrage. A few years back I wrote an open letter to all American citizens urging them to “Get Remote.” It read:

“Wealthy misguided individuals have engineered a social structure (that we’ve been complicit in, I’m afraid) whereby other individuals, warriors and such, have made it an objective to destroy you and your happy family, life, and home. These actions will be undertaken in order to make an impression on the wealthy individuals so that they will begin making more humanitarian decisions. This is an utterly hopeless exercise, and never has accomplished its ends, but none of that will ever matter. Your family and life and home will be extinguished in a sigh of smoke and spark or some such horrendous scenario and that’s all that’s ever mattered.

You care about your life more than you do your political party. You care about your friends and neighborhood more than that ridiculous sideshow they pump into our homes with those faceless men who communicate with each other in a language structured in order to maintain their control over our destiny. And we encourage them to do it, trotting into compartments periodically to punch pieces of paper that confirm our compliance in allowing them to control our destinies. It seems like a pretty funny picture show, but I guess it’s the best way we’ve thought to live our lives so far.

Anyway, for the past half century these men have been brokering in technology that they don’t understand and that is massively destructive. These men have engineered a social structure whereby other individuals have made it an objective to use these weapons to sear the skin screaming from your bones, in order to make fanciful impressions on these doddering dilettantes. I recommend you learn a language and get to a location as remote as possible from this global behemoth, this wheezing dynasty; we are a throbbing bull’s-eye.”

I no longer saw the point in living in a country supporting a system of faceless men whose decisions caused other people to want to bomb us. No American politician has been liberal enough for me for years, so why should I die for them? Because I was born in this arbitrarily invented concept called “America?” The Earth doesn’t have national boundaries, and I am an organic child of God. “American” is just my political identity. In the letter, my plan was to “get my graduate degree and then move somewhere to teach – Haiti, maybe; the Netherlands, maybe – but definitely away, to a place I can learn about this huge-ass world that I’ve never set foot in; recruit good people who believe in the promise of the American Dream (the real one, about freedom and bravery); and come back and reinvigorate the dialogue about our American potential.”

Sometimes I think I’m too liberal for this country. During the Darfur crisis, I put on one of those ridiculous statement wristbands that everyone wore in the early 2000s and swore I wouldn’t take it off until the American government decided to intervene and help the thousands of women being raped and children being thrown into bonfires. I wore that fucking wristband for three years. We never intervened. Condoleeza Rice said that Sudan held no “American” interests—meaning no economic interests. I remember thinking at that point that I was fucking done with this country.

But I haven’t gone anywhere. I keep trying to make America into a land MY forefathers would be proud of. I’m still here; trying to right this sinking ship. But if I stay, I have to be sure to love my fellow citizens, no matter how much they frustrate me. Coming together is the only defense we have against the lies. It’s the only way we’ll ever be able to take any of our pledges and anthems seriously. It’s the only way we’ll ever be able to take ourselves seriously.

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Published in: on May 8, 2017 at 4:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

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