July 19, 2007

When The Revolution Comes, I Know Where I'll Be


My back will be up against the wall, that's where I'll be. I've self-flagellated before, like every other liberal white straight suburban male, but I think I've only recently come to terms with how absolutely and irrevocably compromised I am when it comes to changing The Way Things Are in this country, at least as far as reversing the appalling damage done in the last fifteen years by neo-conservatism. In short, I've realized that I cannot competently help The Cause, whether it's helping to elect Democrats or (even better), helping tilt America toward the left to a degree it's never been before.

Why? Well, I've admitted it many times elsewhere, but my sin is sloth. Overwhelming, self-absorbed, callous sloth. The kind that insults true activists of any stripe when they come within fifty feet of me. The kind that would make them call me a Good German, or worse. The kind that, festering and fermenting into the most wretched form of apathy, drives me to cynically throw up my hands and childishly wish a pox on every house in American politics.

Oh yes, this piggie can squeal, no question about that. The thing that I feared would happen has happened. I remember telling my friends and family, while in the fervent throes of Campaign 2004, that the worst possible outcome after a Kerry loss would be a repeat of the staggering shoulder-shrug that the public seemed to give in the mid-seventies after Nixon won big and then crashed and burned. Of course, I had no idea what that was really like, bicentennial baby that I am. No idea, not then- but now? I'm beginning to understand.

Iraq? Yes, clusterfuck from the beginning. I earnestly said so, along with everyone else calling bullshit on BushCo. However, I earnestly said so on the one medium that could be ignored- could be marginalized at will by those in power. See, personally I've never believed in the triumphally transformative power of the blogosphere. I tried to get inspired, and eventually was, in momentary fits and starts and glorious instances of... what, exactly? Honestly, I'm happy for everyone who's found use and meaning in all of this, especially the activists who've actually done things instead of snipe from the sidelines.

But me? I couldn't even bring myself to write regularly to one of my best friends from high school who happened to be comanding a tank north of Baghdad for all of 2005. What I did write was substantial, but undoubtedly not enough. I stayed fat and happy at home, indulging in the same old creative high point of my life that I had for the past decade- as a bass guitarist in rock bands. Way to go, dude. Way to stick it to the Man, man. My two whole lyircs that cleverly and cryptically alluded to "political" themes sure contributed to the downfall of the Republican Congress.

I don't mean to sound flip or ungrateful. I'm immensely happy to return to the nurturing teat of the suburbia that raised me. My family and friends love me, and I enjoy a happy marriage. I am glad to do what I do for a living, even though on at least two occasions, I've had to work for clients that under other circumstances I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. I've had a lot of help to get where I did, and I'd like to think I didn't take any of it for granted.

Of course, any spoiled white GenXer or Millenial can say that, but we still don't really know what the fuck it means, and we still sound like ignorantly smug assholes when we try to genuinely Care About Things. It's our Nature. We are The Privileged and The Lucky and The Disastrously Innocent. We talk the talk and never walk the walk as much as we like (or at least enough for anyone else). We hide behind band-aids like the Peace Corps (and other vastly less useful endeavors) and pretend to care about a wider circle than our 50 closest friends and family, and...

Shit, that can't be true for everybody, even if it is true for me. Can it? I don't fucking know. I wanted to write another chapter of my burgeoning serious-white-boy novel, but out spewed this thing instead. If you've made it this far, you deserve a medal.

And to all those who would gate-crash the gate-crashers? Don't forget to give us our fucking cigarettes before we get the firing squad. Thanks.

Morning-after update: Ugh. This sure does look like some whiny stuff in the harsh light of day. Luurve that white blooz!

Cross-posted: dkos, mlw.

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