(P) One of Jefferson's more famous letters has a line about God forbid we go 20 years without rebellion. That's about how much memory I have as I approach birthday number 25, and I am wondering if we're overdue. Or, perhaps, if it's already happened?
Hatred and fear and authoritarianism and greed have arrested such incredible dominance over our country that I wonder if we've already seen the apex and are now watching the collapse of movement conservatism. The battle for ideas is clearly lost to them. The thing is, they keep winning the outcomes, from disenfranchising millions of Americans to unfathomable wealth consolidation to controlling what most of the major media outlets consider appropriate topics of conversation. Is that disconnect a sign of revolution underway, or a call for revolution? Are the lengths to which the ends justify the means an inherent strength, or a sign of hollowed out weakness? John Edwards commented last month that "...we have reached this point in our history where we have to leave behind half measures, broken promises, sweet rhetoric...".
That's certainly revolutionary for leadership in Washington. But is Washington (and other power centers) so removed from what Americans want that to actually have a government representing us is a radical change? But maybe that's exactly the kind of rebellion Jefferson would have in mind, one whose very strength is the disgust of the people with the excesses of their leaders. We need radical change precisely because the current leadership is so entrenched and so poorly represents the people they govern, not because we need a fundamental change in the people being governed.
I remain quite optimistic and am excited that we seem to have reached a point in the last year or two where truth seems to be overwhelming the fingers in the dam holding back all the ugliness and lies and inconsistencies. Perhaps the most radical change we need is to simply stop accepting the misgoverning of our country, to be that which we want to see happen. The next 25 years could be very different.
But they won't just because we want them to be different. We actually have to stand up and say no, offering our own vision for the future.
I'm not entirely sure how to do that.