I am Apostate

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Off the rails, as a nation we have taken our hand off the brake and are watching with morbid fascination as society runs headlong into complete collapse. I do not say this lightly, in fact I have spent a great deal of time considering the ramifications of making this statement at all. Nevertheless, I think if someone doesn’t speak up than how are we to begin to have discussions that perhaps stop the runaway train before it hits the damaged trestle and falls straight down into the abyss.

My generation was supposed to change the world. We marched with Dr. King for Civil Rights, many stood up for change even against generations of tradition within their own families. We cheered when SCOTUS found in favor of the Lovings and put an end to the miscegenation laws. We stood up and protested the Vietnam War and the meaningless deaths of our friends and family for corporate greed, yes we knew even then why war this war was being fought.

We believed in giving back and reaching out, we followed a President who believed in the same things, from this, the Peace Corp was created and we filled its ranks. My generation was supposed to change the world. We decried violence, yet saw our heroes gunned down: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X. We recognized the threats to our ecology by our own actions and from this were born both the Sierra Club and Environmental Movement. We denounced greed and from this, the first voice for Consumer Protection rose up in Ralph Nader.

Warren Court 1962-65 Courtesy of Oyez.com

Finally our generation recognized the disparity in treatment of women in our society, from this Women’s Liberation was born in part  helped by the introduction of the Birth Control pill and the agreement of the Supreme Court that women had the legal right to control their reproductive health.

Yet here we are today, forty-three years after the end of the sixties the decade of great upheaval and dramatic social change and we are off the rails, heading for the abyss and I don’t believe we are talking about the real problems facing us.

I was twelve years old in 1969. I am grateful to those who came before me

Me 1962

and fought for the rights and privileges we
enjoy today. Those who faced jail, violence
and social condemnation so I could marry
whom I chose, pursue the career I chose,
attend the school I chose and manage my
reproductive choices and health.

I am grateful for my voice! For the voice I raised in protest of wrongs since I was old enough to understand it could be raised, I have raised it. Now though it seems my voice, all of our voices are silenced by the clatter of a much louder and insidious blast of sound, the counting of coins. We are convinced now our value is only counted by the zero’s behind the dollar signs or diminished by their lack.

What has happened? It isn’t any one thing, instead it must be a concoction of many parts that have come together to form a toxic brew we are willingly imbibing.

1969 War Protest Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Why are we so willing to sit back in silence? So willing to hand over privileges and rights to those who have no dog in the fight beyond their own self-glorification and this they have certainly done nothing to earn. Why are we not standing on the steps of Congress and the White House, flooding the streets in protest and demanding our voices be heard above the braying of the obnoxious and hate filled rhetoric of the ideologues streaming through every media outlet today.

I ask this question, yet I am afraid of the answer. I am afraid because the answer might be we view political grandstanding as simply another form of entertainment. We enjoy the show and have forgotten in our lethargy it is not entertainment; it is in fact our future, it is in fact the hand on the brake. The posturing of all those who would be king, is more than entertainment it is the fuel that will break us as a nation, turning friends into enemies and dividing families. The bombastic language combined with ideologies that barely mask the intent to divide us is frightening more because of what it says about our acceptance of open hostility against those unable to defend themselves.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Our attention is misdirected and we allow it! We seem content to watch as our options are stripped from us, our opportunities vanish and our voices are silenced under the weight of our exhaustion and our debt. To speak up and speak out will soon mean to be Apostate, perhaps there will be a stake awaiting me in the village square. Nevertheless, I simply cannot sit silent and motionless on a runaway train, can you?

Comments

  1. Anna Popejoy says:

    Here’s my two cents; I’ve been around for awhile 70 yrs to be exact so I’ve seen a lot of changes (to many to mention) and have long said that the America I’ve known will not be the same America that my grandchildren and great grandchildren will know unless we citizens take back our government.
    In hindsight I’ve observed our nation being subverted slowly and methodically as not to draw attention to the machinations of those in power. They have kept us busy and exhausted with consumerism and the pursuit of of the American Dream (we’re immersed so deeply it takes both parents working) that we have no time for anything else let alone on what is happening around us and with our government. In the meantime we have lost our voice not by choice but by our government getting to much power & giving the rights of person hood to corporate entities through their lobbyist influencing “our” Representatives by monetary “contributions. By the time our citizens have become aware that our rights and freedoms have disappeared all the major changes and the power players are in place with the objective of globalization close at hand and the death of our democracy.
    The rope is around our nations neck….The Patriot Act, NDAA are wide open to perversions, the recent SOPA attempt & now another which at this moment I can’t recall are infringements of our freedoms. Main stream media (corporate entities) didn’t treat these events as front page news worthy.
    Occupy Wall Street…..hope at last finally someone see’s what I see. It’s unfortunate that main stream media has reported on this event (took them two weeks) with a bias & has slanted the public’s opinion of the OW’s as being lazy, immoral, unemployed system sucking leeches…much like the hippies of the 60’s were viewed. However bad the press…..I think everyone knows who they are now & has opened some eyes. but like El GUAPO above said….”many still have their head in the sand” & won’t rise until we’re all broke and hungry. I fear its too late for a “Revolution”…..the NDAA can curtail it right in it’s tracks. (scary)
    We need to clean the slates and take our country back by vote & getting rid of Corporate person hood.

    • Anna – you have said a mouthful. Those are only a few of the many legislative shenanigans that have been undertaken in the past two decades. Roger Ailes said during the Nixon years he wanted a television station that spoke for the Right and moved the nation further and further towards the right. Rupert Murdouch gave him the means to accomplish this, but it wasn’t just moving the nation to more conservative politics it was truly to exhaust them and turn their heads, distract them and redefine the national conversation.

      OW and the 99% are trying to change the conversation once again. I fear so many failing to hear their message because it is being misreported. Already new legislation is being introduced to keep them from protesting anywhere a political figure might be. I agree we need to wipe the slate clean, energize our populace through our vote, demand a reversal of Citizen United. Mostly though we need to demand education for our young, truth in education rather than this slop they are being fed, perhaps that will start the change so necessary for our nation to survive.

      • Anna Popejoy says:

        Exactly!…..The dumbing down of America has been accomplished! Student performance ranks far lower than other industrialized nations, statistics show that despite thirty plus years of almost continuous reform, public education in the United States is still not doing an adequate job.

  2. I believe we have an enemy within,and it is our elected officials but before I delve into that,We are our are own worst enemy,We as adults got lazy we expect everything to be handed to us.

    And by the time the that we realized we were in trouble it is too late. I do believe our nation will fall this is not a doomsday thing it is the truth. Our government has sold us out and we allowed it.

    I didn’t vote for our leader I didn’t have faith in him then and way less now but it s not all his fault he is just the latest in a series of con men who are out for there own benefit certainly not ours.

    We need leaders who are everyday people not wanna be rock stars, I have friends who speak of a revolution and mean every word of it. These people are ordinary people Truck drivers Lawyers Doctors,Police Officers and they all agree on one thing enough is enough.

    I am not the brightest guy in the world ,but unless we stand up as a nation and tell the politician NO MORE will we tolerate what they do, And if they don’t listen remove them from office. Lets band together and tell the Government you work for us not the other way around.Call your Congress person your Senator,your Governor that is a start. But be prepared. Some where i Read that the way to take over is divide and conquer we must not let this happen The old ways of protests worked they got change will it work again I do not know maybe we should find out. It cant do any more damage that’s being done as I type. A word of caution I can see how he could declare Marshall law and declare himself supreme leader.Sorry for the lenght and maybe I don’t have a clue But I for one am ready and willing to take America back and make her what she once was A STRONG PROUD COUNTRY.

    • Ah well to each his own assessment. Those who seek power certainly have a bit of ego to them, that is true. I won’t go into whether the current POTUS has more or less than others, your opinion should remain your own. The fact that this POTUS has made every attempt to provide for the people of this nation and been stopped at every corner by an opposition that stated they will do anything to prevent his success, up to and including seeing this nation fail should tell you and your friends something; but then those who refuse to see will not see, ever. Have you stopped, researched and considered what this President has done during his tenure? Do you know? What is your source?

      Everyday people? Where pray tell would you find them? What pray tell do they look like? Men? White Men?

      The truth is this nation allows this to continue by supporting those who work against their best interest. Don’t believe me? Listen to those who ‘represent’ you. Divide and Conquer, yes that has already been accomplished quite well hasn’t it? This nation has been divided horribly; divided by gender, race, religion and fear. We are being set back 60 years, listen to what those who would be President say. Listen to those in Congress and what they are saying, their diatribes against the people of this nation, especially those who ‘aren’t like them’ saddens me.

      Take back this nation? Take it back from whom? Take it back for whom?

      • To answer at least one of your questions i know men and women of many race creeds and colors and i have a great respect for all men and women. And you reiterate a few of my points. The reason we speak of these things is that we want the same things to get back to a place where fair is fair we are not overburdened with a horrible national debt. and the complete destruction of the USA. I read and gain information like everyone else the news the internet etc.

        I listen to what the wanna be Presidents have to say and I am mortified I do not like any of the candidates including the President,and not because he is black. I don’t care if the person in office is green with blue stripes as long as he is a true Leader. I agree our Nation has been set back so how do we fix it? I have only listed my concerns as to what may happen. We are on the down hill slide and no one is concerned about about our liberty’s, our rights or our well being. The congress and most of our other elected officials is what else can we get?

        • Bear I only start from your first statement which is calling the current POTUS a con man, then go from there. Or that he might declare Marshal law, which is a cry often heard from some of the shock jocks on the extreme right to undermine his presidency I find I am a bit intolerant.

          I think a pragmatic view of the world we live in is important. I think looking at the causes for things is important. Why do we have debt? What are the causes of that debt? How do we solve those problems in a way that don’t burden our children and grandchildren?

          Are you aware that every President since Ike has moved further to the Right? If they were Republican they moved more to the Right than the previous Republican President; if they were Democrat they moved more to the Right than the previous Democratic President. What does this mean? In part it means many of the causes of our national debt are laid at the feet of conservative policy including Tax and Spend policy. It means that since Reagan we have had Supply Side Economics, the greatest failure of the modern Industrial era. It means we have had the modern Manifest Destiny in play. It means we have more and more conservative social policies. It means we have had greater and greater corporate influence in our government policy making.

          No Bear, I think it is extremely important to have a very pragmatic view and to understand where this nation has been and is going. The further right we move, the less we the people matter.

  3. I’m relieved there are stirrings now. I don’t think there will be outright uproar until the imminence or repercussions of the repression are seen.
    I think right now, too many people have their heads in the sand with an “oh, it’ll never happen here” frame of mind.

    • I tend to agree with you, though for some it is apathy and some are in the corner quietly cheering it on. Thinking, yes! Yes, this will force the issue, force it to the forefront and force the apathetic to move. Unfortunately, by then it will be to late.

      • Yes, too late for the moment, but when it is turned back, I think the freedoms will be clung to more dearly.
        I am very confused at what is going on at the moment. There is an unapologetic former member of the neo nazis running under the gop banner in Kansas.
        really makes me wonder what the hell is happening, and how far the pendulum will swing before it comes back.

        • He has run before. He is a putz. The issue will always be do we refuse anyone the right to speak their peace because it offends us? I think we cannot afford to do so. We must always be ready to stand up to defend even the most offensive or we cannot demand the same right to be heard.

          • I agree, and in the same theme, I defend Mitt and Rickys rights to yell as loud as they like.
            Because it’s easier to let them prove their jack-assery themselves.

  4. I have never been one to sit on my hands, but I did take my time deciding what I wanted to say. I am the next generation, and I think we have played a large role in the Boomers/Joneses not doing now what they did then. I feel like the assumption was we would carry on with the activism Boomers had made a lifestyle in their youth.

    Everything was handed to us, and we were very removed from the political process…all the way down to my generation is the non-voting public.

    If I had to come up with a plausible solution, it would be Boomers vote conscience and shake the grandchildren. Those just reaching voting age are the ones who vote the largest percentage. Harnessing them to the ideals of the Boomers may be the only saving grace for this disaster area.

    My heart aches over this as well,
    Red.

    • I am readying my next, I thought I would leave this a non-political forum, I find I cannot. Perhaps because it is my nature to lift my voice at injustice, I don’t know.

      I am on the edge of the Boomer generation, but was brought up in front of the television watching the flag draped caskets coming home. My peers, my cousins they were all older than me so my indoctrination was early and I absorbed the lessons not just as an intellectual practice but on an emotional level that has never left me.

      Every shot fired across the bow of our freedoms feels like one fired directly at us, directly at the heart of who we are. I find silence is not an option.

      Ah well, the truth of me comes out. We will see where it goes. Perhaps I will simply slip further into a mere voice in the wind.

  5. Antigone's Clamor says:

    Great post… Any woman, no matter what her beliefs are, should be allowed to have a voice!! I do not know why women allow themselves to be oppressed or oppress themselves.

    • I don’t know either, yet we are silent and growing more so. We settle into our comfort thinking someone else we do the heavy lifting. Or perhaps that it is impossible for this to truly happen in this nation and to us. I think you have the right of it, why do we oppress ourselves?

  6. Oh, and even though you made me remember what a cop out I’ve become;-0, I really did enjoy your writing and the trip down memory lane.

  7. Even though I graduated high school in 1969, when you were 12, you do a wonderful job of summing up our generation and I agree with everything you say, including the part about us standing up. It is possibly because I was part of that generation of women who first tried to have it all, such a idealistic optimist who was inspired by all that you mention that accounts for my lethargy today.

    I worked, hard, in the party of my choice for years, even to the detriment of making a living and attending to my own family so passionate was I. Then, for a reason I won’t go into dealing entirely with politics, I just had had enough. I was so passionate about things I became counter productive to the “cause”, so I had to walk away from it all for my own and other people’s health, lol! However, I still seethe, 😉 and I straighten a few people out on Facebook now and then but mostly I just delete them—that’s how emotional I get. So, I don’t know. I agree with what you say but if you wonder why some of us just sit and let it happen maybe it’s because we are not the idealistic generation we once were and feel powerless to do what we once thought we could do.

    But don’t let me influence you, (see how negative and counter productive I’ve become?) keep on keeping on and I’ll keep giving you five stars and saying, “Yay, you go get ’em girl.”

    • Ah we are the same generation though, just you are the head and I am the tail. I do understand the desire to sit down and sit it out though, we have had many years where it felt like we had achieved most of what we wanted. Then suddenly it all reared up and we were on that runaway train to the past.

      For those of us not to tired, not to worn down — I think we must stand up or we will find ourselves suddenly in Burqa’s and tied to stakes in the town squares our voices silenced and our freedoms stripped.

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