An accepted truth in American society is that a person can live and be free and not be involved in politics. There is this idea that you can marry, raise children, pursue a career, give your children an education, finance their health care, and at the same time lead a leisure consumer life without bothering to slave away reading news releases, government reports, or books on current events/politics/government. That is not so anymore.
I am a victim of politics turning on me. Even though I believe the mantra that if you do not turn on politics, politics will turn on you, I am still caught in a trap. As long as other people are not turning on politics, I have to pull the weight they won’t and do for the others what they have not the capacity or willpower to do. Because of that, turning against politics damages and in fact hinders progress in my life.
But progress towards what?
While I am an aspiring filmmaker, the messages I seek to spread and the projects I wish to pursue with political, social, and cultural undertones seemingly have no place in a fascist America, which we have begun to show clear symptoms of in the past decade. And what’s interesting is that I do not have to just speak as a victim of scare tactics because people like me have already been persecuted. History shows clearly that artists in times like these next to poor and working class people who are always demoralized and beaten by government are definitely at risk.
Go back to the days of HUAC or the House Un-American Activities Committee. This was set up by the House of Representatives. The committee originally was to look at Nazi influence in America as well as KKK but moved to look at the presence of “communism” in America because the committee lacked “sufficient data on which to base a probe. Committee member John E. Rankin stated, "After all, the KKK is an old American institution."
In 1947, a committee spent nine days investigating a list of people in Hollywood who were deemed to be communists spreading communist propaganda in the Hollywood industry.
Twenty years later, the committee lost its prestige after subpoenaing Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman of the Yippies in 1967, and again in the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The committee became the Committee on Internal Security in 1969 and was abolished in 1975. While the committee died, the functions it was fulfilling were transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Today, with the recent passage of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act in the House which would set up a Center for Excellence to monitor radicalization and homegrown terrorism, it is obvious that artists like myself will have to defend the work we create and the politics we practice for those actions can be deemed as “un-American” like the acts of so-called “communists” were when our nation prosecuted a Red Scare more than half a century ago. This time we artists will not be labeled “communists” but instead “terrorists."
As terrorists in an Orwellian America, we artists can expect to have no rights to a lawyer or attorney. We can look forward to an orange jumpsuit which we will where in the friendly confines of a prison complex somewhere in America which will be run by Halliburton, Blackwater, DynCorp, Citibank, Wackenhut, or some other corporation that abuses its right to exist in America. We can expect to have very little to eat and very little sleep as we will undergo sleep deprivation. We will have to deal with hormonal and testosterone-imbalanced males who have no morals and no remorse when it comes to inflicting pain on fellow Americans. We will be waterboarded with no hesitation and will have to also undergo stress positions that will truly test our commitment to freedom in America. All the while, we will keep inside of us the fact that not even Democrats will save our souls. All we can hope for is that people like Ralph Nader, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Ann Wright, Naomi Klein, Greg Palast, David Swanson, Dave Lindorff, Keith Olbermann, Cindy Sheehan, Rob Kall, etc. are not arrested and can spread our stories so people will stand up for our release.
It is not in my interest or anybody else’s to pretend that politics and life are separate. Everything that Bush and Cheney do and everything that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi fail to do affect me. The wars, the economic problems, the taxation issues, the health care failures, the electoral fraud, the contempt for Constitutional law and international law, the scorn for organized labor, the corporate corruption, the media complicity, the racism, and the disrespect and utter disdain for the poor and middle class affects me. It determines what kind of art I will be able to produce because as people are wronged and I stick up for them by telling their stories of abuse and utter disregard, I put myself in clear and present danger.
But this is really not about me. I repeat it is not in anybody else’s interest to pretend politics and life are separate simply because those who believe in morals and freedoms or the ideals that Americans are raised to believe must deal with the fact that this fascism will dictate how we pursue careers as doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists, politicians, union workers, etc. If the living we intend to make is hindered, it will most definitely affect our ability to take care of our families, our children, our children’s health care and education, and our health care and retirement security.
For those who desire to return to making progress in their careers---in whatever you do, now is the time to support impeachment. The issue is no longer a Republican or Democrat issue. It is no longer an issue of conservative or liberal politics. It is an issue of power, a power that seeks to suppress you because if you are not suppressed, the people within government and working to grab power with government cannot prosper and live rich lives.
I do not know the way out of this mess. I do not even know that my pick for president, Dennis Kucinich, in 2008 is the answer to our problems. I do know that I am deeply frustrated and sick and tired of inaction. I do not know what is worse: dogmatic and ignorant Republicans who continue to turn this nation into a permanent police state and a nation whose image in the international community is an imperialistic one or Democrats who sit inactive twiddling their thumbs, scratching their heads, and fumbling with parliamentary procedures failing to act to prevent a police state from becoming permanent or to repair our image in the world.
When I think about it deeply, however, I cannot help but think of voting for Republicans over Democrats simply based on the fact that it’s a win-win situation for me. It may not be a win-win situation for America but neither is voting Democrats.
I think about voting Republican because 1) they stand up for what they believe in and fight for it to the bitter end showing courage even if it may be blind and 2) helping them make America worse will only make Americans more upset and push them closer to feeling the need to rebel. It is this second reason that makes me think a Republican win by, oh, Giuliani in 2008 is what we need to wake up.
Perhaps, when we reach a level where economic decline has become so bad and martial law has been instituted, we can find the strength to rebel and put someone in power who will institute reforms as part of a quasi Bolivarian Revolution in a way that will be reminiscent of the reforms Hugo Chavez has brought on his country. Then we might get the participatory democracy that gives citizens power that we desire.