STRIKE! 22 September 2007Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Afghanistan War, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, The Battle for New Orleans, WAR!.
If someone were to suggest, for example, that we begin a general strike on Election Day, November 6, 2007, for the sole purpose of removing this regime from power, how readily and with what well-practiced assurance would you find yourself producing the words “It won’t do any good”? Plausible and even courageous in the mouth of a patient who knows he’s going to die, the sentiment fits equally well in the heart of a citizen-ry that believes it is already dead.
It is behind the sub wall at Harper’s [come on Harper's, loosen up a bit! for democracy... ] … an article calling for a General Strike on Election Day, it is by Garret Keizer and here are a few snips:
The stream of commuters heading into the city, the caravan of tractor-trailers pulling out of the rest stop into the dawn’s early light, speak a deep-throated Yes to the sum total of what’s going on in our collective life.
The poet Richard Wilbur writes of the “ripped mouse” that “cries Concordance” in the talons of the owl; we too cry our daily assent in the grip of the prevailing order— except in those notable instances when, like a donkey or a Buddha, we refuse to budge.
The question we need to ask ourselves at this moment is what further provocations we require to justify digging in our heels. To put the question more pointedly: Are we willing to wait until the next presidential election, or for some interim congressional conversion experience, knowing that if we do wait, hundreds of our sons and daughters will be needlessly destroyed? Another poet, César Vallejo, framed the question like this:
A man shivers with cold, coughs, spits up blood.
Will it ever be fitting to allude to my inner soul? . . .
A cripple sleeps with one foot on his shoulder.
Shall I later on talk about Picasso, of all people?
A young man goes to Walter Reed without a face. Shall I make an appointment with my barber? A female prisoner is sodomized at Abu Ghraib.
Shall I send a check to the Clinton campaign?
It is one thing to endure abuses and to carry on in spite of them. It is quite another thing to carry on to the point of abetting the abuse. We need to move the discussion of our nation’s health to the emergency room.
We need to tell the doctors of the body politic that the treatment isn’t working—and that until it changes radically for the better, neither are we.
From the close:
One need only speak a coherent sentence—one need only breathe from a differently shaped smirk—to seem like a savior. Ding-dong, the Witch is dead.
Already I can see the winged monkeys who signed off on the Patriot Act and the Iraq invasion jumping up and down for joy. Already I can hear the nauseating gush: “Such a welcome relief after Bush!” Relief, yes. But relief is not hope.
How much better if we could say to our next administration: Don’t talk about Bush. We dealt with Bush. We dealt with Bush and in so doing we demonstrated our ability to deal with you. You have a mandate more rigorous than looking good beside Bush. You need a program more ambitious than “uniting the country.” We are united—at least we were, if only for a while, if only in our disgust. If only I believed all this would happen.
I wrote this appeal during the days leading up to the Fourth of July. I wrote it because for the past six and a half years I have heard the people I love best—family members, friends, former students and parishioners—saying, “I’m sick over what’s happening to our country, but I just don’t know what to do.” Might I be pardoned if, fearing civil disorder less than I fear civil despair, I said, “Well, we could do this.” It has been done before and we could do this. And I do believe we could. If anyone has a better idea, I’m keen to hear it.
Only don’t tell me what some presidential hopeful ought to do someday. Tell me what the people who have nearly lost their hope can do right now.
Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust. —Isaiah 26:19