I hope you really reflect on this one truth: there is a wide gap between defiance and petulance. We have every right to be frustrated by a political and social climate that is making it harder and harder for us to pursue our lives with dignity. This is especially the case for the younger generation; a couple of days ago I applied for a job at a coffee shop and I was told to submit a resume and a cover letter. When I graduated from college in 98, a job opportunity was something I took for granted. No longer, those who graduate from college not only accumulate a debt that will keep them in perpetual bondage, to add insult to injury a four year degree is now a requirement for menial wage jobs.
But these pains that we feel and the frustration of unfairness that mugs us is universal. When it comes to injustice and the fast fading chance to pursue happiness, these are blights that rob all without regard to the endless ways we are sliced and diced as a society. The only way we can make inroads to solving these issues is through inclusion and unity. Stop aiming sideways and snipping at fellow victims of an economic terrorism which has been unleashed on “we the people” by our own corporate hijacked government. A government that is so beholden to pugnacious plutocrats that they continue to rupture our lives as they pay lip service to democracy. So instead of aiming at those who struggle just like you, how about you hold fire and extend a hand of friendship.
The struggle is not about Democrats versus Republicans, liberals versus conservatives, “black” versus “white”, believers versus atheists, and endless ways we keep getting fractured as a people. Do not let meaningless labels be the end all and be all of you, do not fight and suffer for the ideologies of the rich and powerful. The struggle is as it always was since biblical days, it’s was and still is the powerful against the powerless. The powerful—the pharisees club of plutocrats, politicians, and media pundits alike—have become more and more cunning since they once crucified a prophet who spoke against them. Through a mix of duplicity, grievance peddling, and demagoguery, the art of divide and conquer has been unleashed upon all of us. Don’t think for a moment that if you have a six figure job you are a part of the “powerful”, you are struggling just like us even if you eat sushi instead of sugar sandwiches. The 99% are those who work perpetually enslaved to paychecks, the powerful are those who own us through monetary scams and fiscal tricks.
Stop falling for the antic the powerful keep pushing on us! Those who speak anger and hatred to you are not for you. These same pricks on TV, from Van Jones to Sean Hannity and the like, care not an iota or a wit about justice. They are all a bunch of actor-vists who feign outrage against injustice with forked tongues only to accept checks from injustice with mangled fingers. There is a simple test to see who is about the cause apart from those who use the cause as a means of amassing fortunes. If they are given access to mainstream media and afforded status and wealth, 99% of the time discount them as fraudulent. Yes this includes your favorite politician and pundit, you know the malignant imps who go on TV ranting and raving against the system as they are steady amassing fortunes through the system.
The problem is identity. We find identity in inane labels built on the artificial constructs of race, religion, and political ideologies. It’s sad, people in Idaho are upset about the same governmental and corporate excesses as the folk in Baltimore. The same injustice that poisons waters in West Virginia poisoned the waters of Flint and is robbing the Dakota Nation of their lands. These issues of are all interconnected; but we are so blinded by ideological and identity blinders that we turn natural allies into enemies. Stop finding your identity through labels—you are not an adjective! If you like cucumbers, that does not make you a cucumberist. The problem with these labels is simple, when you wear an identity you tend to exclude others who don’t identify with your ideology. Cucumberism, if you, has become the enemy of both logic and justice.
Courage is nowhere to be found by congregating with fellow believers and and fist-bumping those who think just like you. Courage is speaking to someone who does not think like you. Courage is countering hate with love and defeating ignorance with knowledge. Instead of getting amens from the choir, wade out into the thicket of divergent opinions. Stasis is what happens when we speak only to our crowd; mobs do not a revolution deliver. You want to change the world, do so by being an example of the change you want to see instead of setting garbage bins on fire. Stop being a cucumberist; be a human and nourish others through compassion for your fellow humans who struggle like you.
We’ve tried revolutions of violence in the past. These revolutions NEVER work; all revolutions—including the revolution of 1776—devolve right back into the tyranny that gave birth to it. What we need is a revolution of the concept of what a revolution is. Maybe we need to be solutionaries instead of revolutionaries. The solution is found in and through kindness for the only weakness that evil has is the strength found in love. This I believe in my heart; the true revolution that will lead us to some modicum of redemption and lessen injustice will be the one that is led by artists. What I mean by artist is simple; those who use their gifts to create instead of using their abilities to destroy. Artists are antithetical to politicians; politicians lie and deceive in order to profit themselves, artists seek out truth in order to profit humanity.
Read this paragraph with really sober thought and clear-eyed analysis. There are people who keep begging for “revolutions” and talking about “war”. Be careful what you are speaking into existence, society is being marched into conflict for a reason, as long as we fight each other we are too distracted to realize the source of our indignation. But the tempest is brewing over into explicit hostility and conflict. Revolutions are fun until people start dropping like flies and our own children start becoming victims of the flames we as a society keep being cajoled and coaxed to fan. Stop using the pains of people and injustice as a sport, I promise you one thing, hashtags and selfies will not be a luxury if the hatred breaks out into open conflict. All will suffer if the paradigm shifts and we become embroiled in internecine strife.
Be an artist and paint, write, think, and speak with love in your heart. The world has enough fire and hatred—be water and love instead. Do not fall for the antics of Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer, Michael Moore, Bill O’Reilly and their duplicitous lot. They are using grievance and resentment as a flute marching all of us like lemmings right to the cliff. Pause and think and speak against the crowd. You have a gift, use it to build bridges not to set bridges on fire. Injustice did not begin with Trump’s inauguration, our military-financial complex laden government and the pricks on Wall Street have been bending us and bleeding the world for a long time. Do not let your quest to find justice be subverted by political ideology or nullified by partisan hackery. Stand for universal justice or count yourself as a purveyor of injustice. Peace. I am not a #Cucumberist
Stop clawing at fellow sufferers and claw at the barrel of injustice instead::
The podcast (Ghion Cast) was recorded earlier today sometime after midnight. Initially, it was for the purpose of discussing the reason behind the hashtag #EthiopiaYeneFiker. But after witnessing the mayhem of Berkeley and the continued slow broil we are going through as society; I decided to broaden the discussion about the very things which are fracturing us as a people. Just remember one takeaway from what you are going to listen to, injustice is not lessened by resorting to anger.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- Who is there for Us? When Suffering and Hopelessness Give Way to Tribalism and Hatred - May 26, 2019
- Judge Not… - May 16, 2019
- Why I No Longer Fight for Justice - May 9, 2019