“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop….”
– Mario Savio
Dear Class of 2010:
Whether you are in college, graduate school or high school, you are about to enjoy a well-earned right of passage: your graduation ceremony.
Unfortunately for you, Baby boomers like my parents and generation x’res like me – despite the heroic efforts of a handful of individuals and organizations- have failed to stop the slide into neofuedalism and the iron clad grip held by the military industrial complex over our two duopoly in Washington.
I’d like you to consider using the opportunity of your graduation ceremony to do something heroic: disrupt the ceremony. If you your graduation speaker is a politician of the Republican or Democratic variety, they have more blood on their hands than a Lady Macbeth if it were to be directed by Quentin Tarentino. Let them, and the hungry eyes of the press, know about it. Do it creatively. The methods you will use to protest and stop the illegal, immoral, and very expensive war being waged with the tax dollars of your great great grandchildren have not been invented yet.
I mean, if a little zit faced teenage brat can invent a way to arrange a series of ones and zeroes so that they appear on laptops and mobile phones as a website destination earthlings commonly refer to as facebook, then I say Wonder Twin Powers activate- and invent a new form of protest to get us off the train careening uncontrollably out of speed towards world war 3.
Listen, in October of 2007- so, in Internet years about 359 years ago, I made a video called “Students: A Challenge to You” wherein I challenged young people to create a new, heretofore unthought-of ways of protesting the war. The video went viral, grabbing nearly five million views to date. It also earned me a footnote in the 2008 Presidential election in that because of that video I was the first video blogger in history to be hired by a presidential campaign. I had the pleasure and honor of working for Dennis Kucinich. Did it inspire any actual protest?
I don’t really know. It is hard to blame you students. You are used to following instructions from your elders, and I am saying to you- please invent a new form of protest, and I will follow you. I have already carried the cool signs. I have chanted the cool chants. I have been arrested and gone to jail for the cause. I quit a stable job to try to get a peace candidate elected.
Despite this, I must agree with Chris Hedges, who recently wrote:
We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace is movement is dead.
No one cares.
You can say, and many of you will: go to hell old man. Twenty years ago, what were you thinking? To which I respond to you: twenty years from now, what will they be asking?
Will they be asking?
7 May 2010
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A freelance writer, Davis Fleetwood has worked as a writer/ media consultant for Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign and served as a contributing editorial commentator for The Uptake. His videos have been seen by over 14 million viewers. He has been called (among many other things) “one of the most prominent voices in YouTube politics.” (-You Tube News & Politics chief, Steve Grove) He was a “Best of YouTube, 2007” nomination. His book I Stay In So You Can Go Out, is due out in May from No Cure For That Press, and his first full length feature documentary, MANIFEST DESTINY’S CHILD, is due out on DVD this June.
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