Thursday, December 4, 2014

Call of Duty

Displaying Ideas.jpg
Marketing from Call of Duty:
Advanced Warfare. Art imitates life?
Or the other way around? And if these
games train our youth's minds, for what,
precisely, are they being trained?
Four o'clock in the afternoon is normally a lull in the work day. It's an hour or two before most folks normally walk out of their offices, depending on the organization for which you work, productivity has slowed, and there are minor side bar conversations around happy hours and after work activities.

Yesterday, however, turned all of that on its head.

Three lives in rapid succession have been determined of lesser value than those of uniformed 'law enforcement'. Decisions surrounding the cases of Trayvon Martin, Akai Gurley, Michael Brown, and now Eric Garner are to say the least atrocities, if not something more offensive. The wholesale devaluation of one particular race in our country is one of those frequently untreated conditions of democratic dementia deemed unnecessary to treat. Spin doctors have seen it as a kind of nuisance cough: leave it alone and it will go away.

But this isn't going away. In fact, the metastasis of the invading cancer has so completely infiltrated every corner of our society as to make the host system indistinguishable from the infected one. Selma, The Watts Riots, the original March on Washington, the LA Riots, the recent 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, Ferguson, last night in New York City and the nation... this is not going away.

Oppression does seem inherent to the human condition. Jews in the ancient world/during the ReConquest/the Holocaust, Christians in the Roman era, non-Christians during the Crusades and Inquisition, Natives during the period of Exploration, Slavery... the subjugation and obviation of entire races of people is a continual characteristic in human history. It would be impossible to make a case that war is not already being perpetrated. Community members die in the streets every day, collateral damage is a marginal cost in the accounting process, and manipulation is so rampant we can no longer be called a Democracy, nor can we any longer call New York City the last bastion of liberalism. We have inarguably and unequivocally registered our discontent, we have assembled peacefully and it has brought us neither relief, nor a redress of grievances, and inexorably, the body count ticks up.

Displaying Unite for Justice.jpg
"Unite for Justice" From the
Ferguson Decision rally
11-28-2014. Photo Credit:
 David A. Brezler 

Where, then, is Spartacus? Where is that sorely needed paladin who will unite the clans of the oppressed and lead them forward to shake the very foundations of the oppressor state? History is rife with examples of whole systems that evolved only as a result of the collective, a unity of groups who previously might have been - to say the least - uneasy towards each other banding together to throw off the yokes of oppression. Marching in the streets, chanting inciteful slogans, and waving standard bearing banners is not unimportant. However, it is temporary, and the powerful are not apt to decide for change as long as they can count on paid  security and continue to change the channel.

We must create a much stronger movement, a much more strategic answer, something infinitely stronger than just ‘sea change’. The power structure from bottom to top must be entirely disrupted, and disbanded, from how funding is controlled to how politics is controlled, to how housing, food, and health is controlled. The often quoted "a system cannot protect those it was never designed to serve" could not be more true than at this very moment. Any system that presupposes as a base part of its structure inequities, impoverishment, and the devaluation of human life is not a system built on lasting precepts. We know this from studying the last several times empirical enterprises attempted global control. In fact, we should be asking if these are qualities intrinsic to the economic and political structures we have in place. Just how much of an ideal is this Enlightenment Era experiment before we go exporting it about the globe? 

ALL lives matter. More than simply a new political party to languish by the wayside and eventually be co-opted into the current status quo, we need an entirely new system. We require a system where elitism is not bread as an inherited trait into our culture. That ethos reigns whether the elitism expresses itself in Sports, Wall St., Education, or Community Organizing. Shut it down, shut it all down. Those fanaticisms that transform normally thinking, critical individuals into perpetuators of disparateness and exclusivity cannot persist.

Our only way forward is as a singular, cogent, incisive unit with the survival of Humanity as our central, unifying cause. Let us not be so caught up in the demonstration of our discontent that we forget to forge fruitful new pathways, and become the tomorrow we were meant to see.