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Thu

15

Feb

2007

Revolution just ain't what it used to be
Thursday, 15 February 2007 20:01
by Mickey Z.

If you were to publicly declare your discontent with the U.S. government and your subsequent desire to abolish that government, the land of the free would likely reward you with an orange jumpsuit and a one-way ticket for an all-inclusive vacation at Guantanamo Bay.



Now imagine if you instead chose to stand in front of a crowded room and utter something along these lines:
 
"I think all men and women are created equal and are endowed with certain undeniable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights, governments are created and derive their powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government tries to destroy or take away these undeniable rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish that government and replace it with a new one."

Bingo: you're a goddamned high school history teacher. Okay class; turn to page 257. Today we'll be talking about Patrick Henry (and don't tell me "give me liberty or give me death" sounds an awful lot like what an insurgent might say).

Thomas Jefferson can pronounce: 
"Every generation needs a new revolution." 
But that doesn't mean I can. Honest Abe once declared: 
"Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and force a new one that suits them better."

Hey, a government that suits me‹and most humans‹better would be a step in the right direction, but making plans to "shake off the existing government and force a new one" would just about guarantee you a place on that secret no-fly list.

Let's face it, revolution just ain't what it used to be. Mao Tse-Tung warned: "A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery." Today, revolution a Chevy commercial or a Beatles song. Che Guevara believed "the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love." By 1994, Newt Gingrich and his merry band of Republicans were using "revolution" to describe a minor reshuffling of ruling class allegiances. "The most heroic word in all languages is revolution," stated Eugene Debs, but if he were around today and typed "revolution" into Google, he'd find the top response was for a software company.

As long as you're not talking about the U.S. government, you can have as many revolutions as you please. You can have 33 per minute, for all Dick Cheney cares. Fitness, music, film, art, and countless ways to make money...the mutinous mood is alive and well. This time around, however, the revolution was indeed televised and is now enjoying a long, successful run in syndication.

Can the huddled befuddled masses to snap from their self-induced trance to recapture the subversive spirit of '76? I'll give the last word to Abraham Lincoln: "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it."

Remember: Abe said it, not me.

Mickey Z. can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.
 
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