I‘m writing this article specifically to the next generation of activists who have been moved into action and feel compelled to make a difference. I sincerely hope you don’t read this write up as a lecture or some type of pious admonition; rather, I hope you take this missive as a friendly counsel from someone who entered into a life of political activism with the same energy and passion that you are currently feeling. The path you choose to take is up to you, all of us gain wisdom through many trials and errors. My aim is to pass on observations that I’ve made throughout my years with the hope that you reflect on what you are reading as you chart your path forward.
The first counsel is to disavow tribalism. We emerged from the womb without any sense of our differences; hatred and aversion to those who don’t look or act like us are imbued in our souls by the brokenness of this world. If we hope to mend our planet and heal the scars of the past, we can only do so by reverting back as much as possible to the innocence of our youth. We live in a time where innumerable demagogues are being pushed to the forefront by the establishment in order to splinter us into islands of separable grievances. Do not pay attention to these firebrands; in front of cameras they speak against injustice only to get paid by the very system they pretend to be against.
I, too, fell for this most cunning deception. There was a time I walked about demeaning all “white” people and cursing Republicans. But after witnessing broken “white” people from South Carolina to Colorado and residing next to the forgotten masses in multiple states across America, it finally dawned on me that suffering is not limited to color, gender, or belief system. My eye opening moment occurred while I was living in a homeless shelter in Greenville, South Carolina. It was there that I saw a seven year old “white” girl living in the same mission with a diverse sea of humanity made equal by the menace of poverty . At that exact moment, I shed tribalism and realized that we are truly in this together. We are not labels , that is why I keep putting quote marks around the terms black and white when describing people. The video at the bottom of this article was inspired by my two year journey of hardship that led me to disavow labels.
The second counsel is tied in directly to the first. Do not let politics distract you from your purpose. There was a time I used to view this world through the left/right divide. Now I realize that politics itself is the problem. When we glom on to political labels and attach ourselves to partisan ideologies, we allow the establishment to shatter us into encampments. The only people who thrive in this hyper partisan paradigm are professionals in the politico-media complex and their corporate masters who make fortunes through our disunion. The rest of us, who keep viewing politics as a sport, are getting pillaged by the very personalities we keep cheer leading for.
Why do you think they call us their base? Democrats and Republicans have us so chained to the duopoly that they arrogantly insult us as they condition us vote for the lesser of two evils. We should all wake up to this one overriding fact; people who prosper through the status quo will never deliver the change we have been waiting for. My bet is on you, the next generation; I pray that you stop being played for suckers and refuse to be bamboozled by the establishment. Many of you know this already; when it comes to policies, there is not an iota of a difference between the two parties. They differ in their methodologies but in the end both sides of the aisle are colluding to bleed our nation and our planet.
In order to distract us from this truth, corporate shills keep coming up with endless ways to stir us into anger, incite us with outrage and pit us against one another. Neither party has any interest in fixing the issues that confront us nor do they have any intention of alleviating the suffering of the world; their incentive is to further injustice and to make money as we hurt. Parties exist to sustain themselves by stepping on the rest of us. It is an act of self-harm to vote or believe in either party, they have proven for more than a century that their cardinal agendas are to serve their corporate masters, amass wealth and consolidate clout as they pay lip service to justice.
These two parties are aided and abetted by almost every lever of power; government, mainstream media, academia and beyond have been co-opted by the vast wealth of the global oligarchy. They are paid handsomely to cater to your indulgences and differences, this is why they keep politicizing everything and trying their hardest to inject hatred into the universe. Their quest is to convince you that answers are found through politics when in truth their path only lead to more problems. The political and media class will keep you focused on the symptoms of injustice while doing all they can to distract you from the disease. They are trying to consume your enthusiasm to nourish their wantonness. Click To Tweet
Discount anyone who talks about social justice if they do not speak about economic inequalities. They want you to hack at branches while disregarding the root of iniquities. Economic imbalances are at the core of most of society’s ills. Crime, drug abuse, broken families, homelessness, suicides and high incarceration, in large part, can be traced back to the hopelessness that hunger and poverty inculcate in the minds of those who struggle in indigence. A vast majority of Americans are one or two paychecks away from insolvency and destitution; our nation has been turned into a vast pyramid scheme where wealth is transferred from the many who languish to the few who flourish. Focus like a laser on this issue and pay no attention to frauds who try to convince you that your enemy are people who are struggling just like you.
Do not let leeches in DC and ticks in the media-entertainment complex use you as stage props and billboards. For the first time in America’s history, your generation will be worse off than your parents. The lucky few who are able to go to college face the bleak prospect of graduating with a hundred thousand dollar debt only to be employed as Uber drivers or Starbucks baristas. The American dream is getting snuffed out by the greed of the neo-aristocracy who are intent on coming after our marrows after they bled us to the bone in 2008. Since the Great Recession, the wealth of the 1% has skyrocketed while the bottom 99 percent’s share of the economic pie has dwindled. Wages have stagnated as more and more Americans are driven to working multiple jobs just to keep up with the rent. In this continuing fleecing of our nation and the planet as a whole, Democrats and Republicans are equally complicit.
Steer clear from the cult of personality too many in my generation and prior have become. Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the endless stream of empty suits who keep being paraded by mainstream media are nothing more than mannequins of the corporate state. Disregard politics and pay attention to policies that both parties keep enacting. Don’t let wedge issues distract you from the economic theft that is taking place. If we have any hope to stop this ongoing larceny and the crimes against humanity that are being committed by the military-financial complex, it’s only if we come together as a people and demand a government that works for us. This article is not so much advising you as much as I am placing my faith in your generation. Don’t be like us, be better than us and find a way to disavow politics and stand up for inclusive justice. #PostTribalGeneration
No one is greater than the other; we are all the greater when we love and help one another::
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This video was recorded during my stay at a mission in Wellington, Colorado. Through hardship I learned to disregard labels and realized the value of unity in the face of injustice. Do not get caught up on the title, the message is profound if you listen to it.
Check out this latest Ghion Cast where I discussed the marches from this weekend, this video and the March for Our Lives rallies were the basis of this article. Be the change you want to see in this world.
DMV Event: How Overcome Can Overcome Oppression
If we are to bend the arc of history towards justice, we can only do so through inclusiveness and by speaking truth to power without political, identity or ideological blinders. That is the aim of the event I’ll be hosting next Wednesday,April 4th, at Kaldi’s Social house. The event was inspired by one of the most widely read articles here at the Ghion Journal titled “Greater than Wakanda”. Click HERE or on the picture below to RSVP.
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.