Now, I don't pose the question above to the protesters, those out -- but all of us. And I do realize that anyone who has found their way to a liberal blog is already preaching to the choir. But there is something I've had to get off my chest, for eight years, now. Shouldn't all of us, all of us -- you -- we should be, could be, marching every day? (Marching being only my metaphor for the right thing to do).
Let me explain.
I am looking outside my apartment, toward the street. It's completely empty. Well, to be fair, let me walk all the way to the curb. Maybe you're all there. No. I'm now walking up to my local Arco. If I'd expect to see anyone marching, it would be at the gas station. In fact, I'd expect throngs of us might have just left our cars mid-pump after paying $75.00 for a tank of gas. $75.00? And what other solution could there possibly be here in LA if we couldn't drive? We'd have to be marching, right? It's almost simple. But I don't see a soul.
I am about to examine what I find an unbelievable phenomenon. The idea that we have not taken to the streets in these long past eight years. Now, like I said, marching is my own age-appropriate metaphor, what I think is symbolically right. My choice. But forget about the metaphors. Maybe it's just too hot to march, what with global warming and all. But it's way too expensive to turn on the air, so where is everyone?
My street runs east/west, the same path the pioneers took. In fact, "Go West, Young Man," Horace Greeley's mid-century New York newspaper famously urged. So we've got this 'marching' thing in our blood, we who live in this great experiment of a nation; no, actually, of every nation, we all have pioneer ancestors who marched different ways.
I live in Los Angeles, where you would imagine outrage over something 'car' related. Our mass transportation doesn't quite work. The geography dictates that our subway only goes to a very limited area. Plus, a subway in earthquake country? They say it's perfectly safe. (Of course, they say that about a lot of things).
So, I'm outside, here in the City of Angels. Hoping to spy some fellow foot-soldiers strolling down the Boulevard, much like my Russian/Jewish relatives did (you know, the ones who "didn't die")? But everyone's apartment is shut up tight. I think I heard on the news that it's 114 degrees here in Los Angeles. Even this late in the day. The newscaster also made a joke that triple digit temperatures are only unhealthy if you are unlucky enough to be unhealthy. Typical of my timing. Only I would do all those downward facing dogs and quit smoking cigarettes, just in time for the end.
Well, then, I guess there's only one thing that I can say today is for sure. And that is that I am going to be out here, all by myself. So I'm going to have to put on my Gladys Kravitz glasses and figure out where you all are.
Inside, I presume...??? (It's not rocket science, Beav).
So what's going on inside that's got you all captive -- or captivated?
I'm guessing... you must all have some pretty cool stuff.
Am I right? Am I close enough to get the cigar? (Trust me, if it's the end of the world, I'm gonna smoke)! I have to admit, I'm kind of jealous. My collection of 'Day of the Dead' figurines from Mexico -- though beloved -- isn't enough to keep me indoors.
Everyone must be home looking at their cool stuff.
Now, before I continue doing my best Mrs. Kravitz, I will first toss out a very brief 'history of civil unrest'. I say very brief because I also heard on another newscast that we have shortened attention spans. So I will tell you -- quickly -- what I was taught in a school that was up the street and free. Cost my parents nothing but tax dollars. No waiting on lines, no lists, no applications for a first grader. Just a walk past a scary German Shepherd! So, with a deep breath, here's what I was told: 'We in the United States of America were the best in the world. The very best. And our mission in the world was to spread democracy and goodness through other lands.' That, and a lot of stuff about pioneers and tea.
You notice that I keep mentioning those pioneers. I want to emphasize those who moved, who migrated, who got off their mortar and pestle, wooden davenports and put their feet to the ground. They are our ancestors, our DNA. And just in case anyone thinks I'm making a case that our characters are only ancient history, no, I saw what we are capable of right now, after September 11, 2001, when for a few short months here, we were all brothers and sisters, all very united states.
Speaking of character, let me mention -- since I am guiding this history lesson -- 1968. A year that looms large in my imagination, a year I was only eight, so the only place I marched then was to turn over a Bobby Sherman album on my record player. But something happened collectively in that year that seemed to have touched our/my soul. People marched. They shouted, their voices were raised, and they thought they had a right to be heard.
With our civil liberties being attacked worse than ever, it is disheartening that the only place people seem to march against our government now is overseas. Are we tired??? Are we collectively asleep? Soon, we'll be paying as much as they do for gas -- or, as I like to put it, simply printing money for the Bush/oil company cartels.
I recently watched 'Recount,' the HBO account of the Florida election, and wrote to Dennis Kucinich about his articles of impeachment. "That votes were not allowed to be counted in a democracy is what started this American nightmare. The eight years since have been filled with high-level crimes by the Bush/Cheney/Roves. But I believe that there is still an important lesson for the children of America to learn, that actions have consequences." I guess that was something I learned, there amongst all that talk about 'we're the greatest' and tea.
I actually did march after that election, in 2000. My choice. I was pretty much alone. Not too many took to the streets after that. Was everyone sitting at home, just tired??
Ah, here I was. I was only going to take a little look-see inside your apartment, check out your abodes. But it's funny. Give me an inch, and I'll always start screaming about 'democracy.' The reason I say it's funny is because I'd actually be arrested if I ever dared to utter that word -- or any -- at what the Bush Administration is allowed to call Press Conferences, a quality shared by their cohort John McCain, whose recent refusal to go on Larry King to answer questions about a Vice-Presidential decision he made should not be considered okay.
Back to your stuff.
Tell me what it is we were gazing at that's big enough to keep us entertained while gas prices continued to rise, and Halliburton got all the contracts off the shores of New Orleans? I mean, I know Americans can be lazy. I know what it takes to get us out of our -- now -- much comfier throw-pillowed recliners. But we all came here -- metaphorically -- from somewhere else, we all made the journey from Europe or Africa, or wherever yours came from. What's it going to take to get us up, and moving?
You know, maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe typical 'Inside Guy,' and here I'm having to use my imagination -- (which is still free) -- maybe he's an artist. Making all new stuff! Then, I'll make 'Typical Gal,' an artist, too. Maybe she collects flowers, arranging them in ever-larger blooms from her Crate and Barrel vases. Though, since I am the Captain of this ship, maybe I should also make 'Typical Gal' study ikebana, the Japanese way to make flower-arranging. A practice where less is more might help, in this new era.
Still, maybe that's why you're inside. Is pale and pasty the new patriotic?
And, you know, 'Inside Guy', even if you did take up art because your stockbroker left for Jamaica upon hearing that the Starbucks stock had tanked (690 stores closing and counting), well, still, still I commend you. It's not easy to stay unafraid, what with The GAP and BANKS failing, yes, even when they tell us not to worry, it's hard not to.
I've been trying to imagine here your homes, your shelters, the place where you metaphorically go in a storm. I feel like everyone has spent the last eight years in their homes watching an episode I missed. It seems to take a missile to get us out of our Barcaloungers.
I don't know what will happen to us in the next few months. But I see us standing at the gas stations, filling our tanks. We all look slack-jawed. I'm hoping that the seduction of a very incompetent Tina Fey-doll doesn't sway anyone. But I worry that there will be no consequences. Karl Rove is on Fox TV, not in jail. Will there be consequences?
Please, tell me what's going on with you wherever you happen to read this. Because I remember people taking pictures of soldier's caskets used to get Pulitzer Prizes, not fired. Tell me, what is hanging in our collective dens, what is it we're so fixated on that we cannot turn away, cannot be disturbed, we cannot be disturbed from your/our reverie? What is it, is it pixilated, is it fashionable, is it in 3-D? What are you looking at that's gotten you just a little bit lazy? I pose this question because an organized Soccer Mom who can barely read from a Teleprompter is legitimately catching people's eyes.
Tell me your reasons. Tell me what's caught your eye.