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Them


Why are we in this mess?

Is it because of the homeless on State Street and elsewhere throughout the city?

Is it because of illegal immigrants?

Women perhaps?

People of color?

Maybe gays and lesbians?

Haven’t these people—along with terrorists and prisoners—all been blamed and targeted?

Having gone through all “them,” now its the teachers, the cops, the firefighters, nurses, dietitians, social workers, state/county/local workers and, of course, their unions. All those people who keep us safe, who literally put out fires, who care for us when we get sick, who help keep us healthy, who teach our kids, who repair our roads, and so on—it’s all their fault, isn’t it?

I guess we don’t need all “them” anymore. We can do without librarians, road crews, and all the rest. Once we have eliminated all “them,” then everything will be OK, right? Don’t you feel all better now, knowing that once we crush the last few remaining unions (and hence the workers that they represent) in the United States, all will be well? It will be “morning again in America,” as President Reagan insipidly stated so long ago.

In order for this take place, however, something else needs to happen. It couldn’t be possible that capitalism—which is prone to periodic crises (see 1930s, early 1970s, early 1980s, etc.)—is to blame, could it? It couldn’t be what Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day called the “dirty, rotten system,” could it? It has to be “them” it’s always “their” fault, never this system that is responsible for untold suffering and misery. Don’t we all know this? So why aren’t more of us “mad as hell,” as the anchorman from Network was?

Why do we care about Jersey Shore, Lady Gaga, and that nonsense when people are literally risking their lives in Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, and elsewhere? Isn’t it time for us to do the same? Isn’t it time, past time, to finally democratize the United States? Isn’t it time for systemic, revolutionary change? Isn’t this what Dr. King called for in his famous “A Time to Break Silence” speech where he denounced the Vietnam

War, exactly one year before he was assassinated? In that speech, Dr. King called for a “revolution in values.”

We all know that King was a “dreamer,” but he was also a revolutionary who was “guided by great feelings of love.” Everyone knows that we’re “knee deep in the big muddy” right now—and why? Isn’t it time to go beyond convenient scapegoats and ask the big questions that are not being addressed? I think so. How about you?

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