There was a time not too long ago where I would have been giving a standing ovation to the speech that Meryl Streep gave at the Golden Globe two days ago. It seems like a lifetime ago, when I saw the world through partisan lenses and pursued justice through the narrow prism of exclusionary grievances. I am no longer that guy, nothing educates us in seems faster than the kick of life’s struggles. After what I have witnessed the past 18 months of struggle, of privation that knows no color and poverty that does not differentiate based on political ideology, I now see life differently and see these burdens of humanity through the basis of universal justice.
It is this precise awakening that led me to a revelation of sorts; I see now the utter foolishness of my past and how I was myself part and parcel of perpetuating injustice. The lesson I learned is simple, if you fight for humanity, do so without a partisan agenda and without pushing an ideology. It is with this knowledge gained that I see the actions of Meryl Streep two days ago as the vacuous “look at me” act of symbolism that it was. Furthermore, now that I see life unencumbered by political blinders, I understand that these “liberal” and “conservative” lions are really jackals who have at their core an intention to peddle grievance to one side while demonizing the other side.
Colonization depends on the masses being fractured and shattered and in the process having the masses turn on each other. This is where the pundits, politicians, and media darlings come in—they get rewarded handsomely to whisper animosity and antipathy to their side and their side only. What I mean by “their side” is simple, there are demagogues who are propagated, accorded access to the media and given megaphones to preach fiery rhetoric and convince segmented groups that their beef lies not with the few who make all our lives miserable but with the “others”—those who are not like us who are our enemies. This is why I disavow labels, not only do terms like “black” and “white” not describe us as human beings, they also serve to ghettoize us, the people, into cauldrons in order to keep us from understanding our common struggle.
I never understood this pernicious tactic of divide and subdue until I realized through my own travels and travails that everyone suffers equally irrespective of external traits. Economic injustice is no joke, in every city, suburb, and rural township, there are endless masses being eviscerated by homelessness, hopelessness, and hunger. At the root of this injustice is a system that is taking more and more away from us; Wall Street has tied a noose around our collective necks and have turned us into anxiety laced slaves of the system. We stopped being a nation a long time ago; we are one big corporation, 50 franchised states with politicians and a political system hijacked by a moneyed few who use their paychecks to influence policies and bleed entire nations globally. What Eisenhower warned us about was quaint and those who perished in the Revolutionary War would have swiftly submitted to the British crown if they knew that their rebellion would be commandeered by corporate barons and avaricious oligarchs. The United States has morphed into a military-financial complex where the citizens are being swallowed whole in order to feed the appetite of the 1%.
It is to obfuscate the truth of what we have become as a nation and to hide the duplicitous motives of the powerful and their toadies that we are continuously being inundated by attention hounds who have a motive to distract us from seeing the bigger picture. Pick pockets work in tandem, the first person is the bump while the second picks you clean. Well consider these double speaking hyenas in the media and in the halls of DC the bump—their job is to keep you focus on banalities with outrage and sensationalism. I don’t blame the people for falling for this chicanery, the power of the media can never be overstated. This is why one of the first objectives of war is to capture TV stations and media outlets, mass media is really a weapon of mass propaganda when it is entrusted to those who benefit through our confusion and misplaced anger. It is precisely while we are inundated with mass hysteria and seething anger that the second (see oligarchs and the morally bankrupt 1%) strikes and picks our pockets as our eyes and minds are focused on the hyena’s bump.
This bump, the intentional distraction, worked brilliantly in 2007-2008 as Wall Street broke this nation’s back in half only to get rewarded by the very same bump they selected for us. Barack Obama thus the biggest bump since Mount Everest, he was pushed to the forefront to be the “anti-Bush” and to give us a facade of change when in reality he was the continuation of Bush’s policies—a browner and more eloquent version of Dudya. To be honest, the bump is politics as a whole, the rich and powerful laugh at us as we fight over their political ideologies while they party it up among their Democrat and Republican lackeys when the camera lights go off. We need to stop focusing on politics, these names we hold on to slavishly thinking we are doing our part to fight injustice are really the same labels that further and enhance injustice. We need to focus as a people on policies—the economic policies which are eating away at our hopes by means of fiscal and monetary theft.
It is with this in mind that I circle back to the speech that Meryl Streep made. As I said, not too long ago, I would have taken to social media to rave about her performance. But the wisdom of hardship has taught me that her speech was precisely a performance and nothing else. She should actually win another Golden Globe award and three more Academy awards for that speech; pretending to be outraged over the antics of Trump yet mum was the word as our current commander in chief ordered more than 20,000 bombs to be dropped on Syria alone and has been droning around the world like a teenager who just got a new PlayStation. More than 100,000 Syrians dead and entombed before they had a chance to pursue their happiness and the very same “liberal” blowhards who once used to froth at the mouth when Bush invaded Iraq are all the sudden sitting on their hands. Their once fierce opposition to Bush’s economic policies nullified as they praise the same president who transferred over $14,000,000,000 to Wall Street through Quantitative Easing and Zero percent schemes and gave Main Street hope sandwiches and change that can’t even buy McChicken sandwiches.
What Streep did on Sunday is no different than what Hannity and Limbaugh do for their crowd. Instead of speaking out against injustice, she put on her partisan attire and took to the microphone to incite anger to her crowd the same way Fox News incites their audience with outrage and sensationalism. I don’t want people to think that this is a defense of the reprehensible Donald Trump, I’m pretty sure that the grade point average of Wharton School dipped by 4 points while the dimwit Trump was in attendance. People have a way of conflating wealth with wisdom, Donald Trump was born into wealth and took advantage of his bequeathed fortune to game the system and earn more money declaring bankruptcies and continuously rent-seeking in New York City. The same NYC that is run by Democrats parenthetically, so when Democratic elected officials in New York City get in a tizzy about Donald Trump, just know it’s all bullshit and a show because they are the same elected officials who greased the wheels for the Donald as he was greasing their pockets.
The point I am is simple, these elitist pricks irrespective of their political ideology are playing us for fools and suckers. Forget Plymouth Rock, they are picking up Stone Mountain and bludgeoning our heads with stones into a state of economic insolvency and dependency. Yes, I am in fact echoing Malcolm X in that sentence, he warned us a long time ago, Republicans are wolves and Democrats are foxes. These wolves and foxes are conspiring behind our backs as they pretend that they are fighting on our behalf. If you are near DC, go to this little spot called Old Ebbitt Grill right across the White House on 15th Street around 6:00 PM sometime and you will be in for a treat. The same shysters who are brawling while frothing at the mouth on CNN and Fox News as if they were Peter Griffin and the chicken from Family Guy are in there on a regular basis getting drunk chumming it up. This whole thing is a joke and the pundits from Van Jones, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’donnell on the left to Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Bill Oreilly on the right and all in between are all in on it. They are using the pain and suffering of people to gain status and leveraging injustice as shticks to advance their own agenda. This is not about fairness or equity for them, it’s about their own ego and furthering their need to get adulation from the masses.
Here is where I am at in life, if one does not speak out against universal injustice and instead speaks through the narrow confines of partisan ideology, I instantly dismiss them as frauds who don’t care one iota about justice. They are using us as billboards and as pawns to further fracture the people. Instead of tackling the root of injustice, they are actually watering it with their screeds and tirades. Mark my words, the same fools who have been praising Potus DroneUS Obama will now all the sudden find their outrage when Trump take the baton from Obama and continues the endless immoral wars and the immorality of tilting the playing field to the 1%. And the carnival barkers on the other side who have been baying like rabid dogs about Obama’s executive overreach will all the sudden be silent as church rats when Trump continues the same executive imperialism as he furthers the agenda of his aristocratic military-financial patrons.
For God’s sake wake up to the deception that is being foisted on us. Our enemies are not our neighbors nor those who have different hues of skin tones. Stop talking about “white privilege”, “Muslim violence”, or “minorities living off the dole”, it is absurd that we are acting like crabs in a barrel clawing at each other as an overbearing government beholden to oligarchs is turning once hope into a boiling nightmare for all of us. These stars and media celebrities are not edifying us nor speaking truth to power, they are just cackling through partisan shades and pretending to throw shades when in reality they are all basking in comfort as the rest of us struggle. Kindly tell these fools to beg off because they are only using the burdens and tribulations of people to gain a following and extend their 15 minutes of fame. Stop being distracted by the bump for that is exactly what these dunderheads are and instead PAY ATTENTION TO THE POLICIES in DC. Beyond that, if we ever want to solve injustice, the answer lies in unity. As long as we are separated and fractured, we will forever be slaves of the 1%.
To Meryl Streep and the rest of her lot in the mass media, at long last, have you no shame? Are you going to keep using us as political props? Until you find it within you to speak up for all without regard to politics, you will be exactly what you are, carnival barkers and hounds who are destroying the very essence of justice you pay lip service to. Please stop using people in Flint, MI, Standing Rock, ND, and the rest who are suffering as your stage props—hopping around in your expensive jets to apply your paternalistic fraudulence for a few minutes in front of a camera only to fly back to your mansions. I know my words don’t have the reach that yours do nor do I have the star power to actually reach you. But one man who speaks truth in solitude is better than many who spreads lies while getting the adoration of a million. I know this to be true, in short order, liberals who once were praising Obama as he got all neo-CON with it will be up in arms when Trump does the same thing. Likewise, conservatives who “cared” deeply about Benghazi will become “patriotic” and silent when Trump initiates a thousand Benghazis in countless nations as he bombs with one hand while taking their resources away with his other tiny hands.
Situational morality is more lethal than a concoction of Ebola, Avian Flu and Zika mixed together. At least these stars are getting paid handsomely for their treachery; what about us, the people, why do we have to further this chimera and take part in this nonsense. We have at our disposal the very same weapon of communication that the powerful have unleashed on us, so then why do we take to social media to repeat and bleat the mantra of these nattering nitwits who continue to fracture us with their forked tongues. Stop parroting these stooges who don’t seek truth at all—they seek to only mire us further into the morass of resentment and displaced anger. Stop letting them make a mockery of us and instead mock them rightly for their partisan drivel. Above all, if you take away anything from this article, I hope it is this one axiom. Those who don’t speak for universal justice are perpetuating injustice; those who get paid by the purveyors of injustice have every incentive for the status quo of injustice to continue.
If we are ever to attain a modicum of equality in our lifetime and bend the arc of history towards justice, we will never attain this dream being led by hacks who benefit from our disunion. The change will have to come from us—the people—not the stars and the famous who sit atop the people. When you encounter hatred from someone tomorrow, understand that person is broken—instead of returning hatred with hatred, extend grace instead. These small gestures and acts of kindness is the revolution that the powerful fear, for it is love that will defeat hatred and it will be kindness that will subdue greed. Do not let these media hounds and sophomoric dingoes lead you to Partisan Streep, take an exit from their avenue and tell them to beg off and instead seek reconciliation and universal justice. All else is empty and dead for where there is partisanship and situational morality—there will never be peace nor justice befitting of it.
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.