You Say You Want a Revolution

wiated45years

I met the amazing people pictured above a year ago, today, at a Bernie Sanders rally in Columbus, Ohio where I was a volunteer, working the door.

I spoke with them before I took this picture and listened to their story.
They felt a renewed spirit and were overwhelmed with joy that they were fortunate to live long enough to see real change in their lifetimes.
I had the good fortune to spend a year of my life talking daily with such beautiful people and listening to them talk about their dreams for a better America.
As I walked them to their seats, I looked outside and could see people lined up all the way to the horizon.
A girl who was volunteering with me said..
“Amazing, right? The line on the other side of the building is just as long.”
I really enjoyed that day.
As I greeted the 18,500 people that came through the door (they had to turn thousands of others away) I couldn’t help but notice the diversity of races and ages.
At the time the corporate media had been hammering home the lie that Sanders was not a real option for president and basically dismissed him as a rock star who appealed only to foolish white kids who simply just didn’t know any better.
This was their attempt to discourage minorities and the disenfranchised from supporting Sanders.
Ironically, the disenfranchised were the very people he represented.
As I watched Muslims, Christians and Jews enter, united by the common values of political revolution, a cage I had kept around my heart began to rust and fall apart.
As I watched people come in with their “Queers for Bernie” shirts and saw a group of punks with Mohawks enter wearing classic punk t-shirts with the sleeves torn off and the designs altered to indicate their support for Senator Sanders, I was reminded of the stories the elders in my Sunday school classes had uploaded into my malleable young mind about a man who came to represent the poor and destitute, a story I had stopped believing years ago after viewing the daily visage of a world gone to hell, where the rich profit from the broken backs and spilled blood of the impoverished.
Now, my cynical heart renewed by seeing the vision of a people united with a common vision, I choked back tears and continued greeting The People.
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A woman in a wheelchair needed assistance.
I pushed her to her seat while tears streamed down her cheeks.
“I’ve seen so much meanness in my life, but never have I been in a place with so much love.” she said.
I walked back to the front gate, where the Secret Service were checking people in, turned to the girl working the gate with me and naively said..
“I guess we know who the next president is going to be.”
And there it is…
The anger.
I feel it welling up inside of me, chasing away the positive feelings I had from this event, dropping a gray film over the entire memory and then replacing it with red anger that makes me want to crush the “Democratic” Party that pissed on our hopes and laughed at our dreams.
I think about the days spent with incredible people who were naive enough to believe that we could save America and become enraged when I think about how it was impossible for us to overcome the wicked arms of the corporate media..
I remember the dreams put on the shelf, so we could volunteer our time for the greater good..
I remember the belts tightened as millions of poor people skipped meals in order to send in their $27 every week..
I remember these things that once brought me joy and I watch the good feelings migrate into unfathomable anger.
We watched CNN broadcast the $uperdelegate totals 24 hours a day, months before they had even pledged, in their attempts to deceive perspective voters.
I was there during the coinflips in Iowa where Hillary Clinton supposedly won six out of six flips to win the state.
I was also in Iowa when Clinton volunteers showed up in red uniforms to fool the caucusers into…
You know what?
I don’t even want to talk about it!
That’s not why I started writing this.
In fact, I am getting caught up in the very opposite of what I wanted to say.
I’m taking a breath.
There’s too much work to do to allow myself to waste time with anger.
Congressional Democrats Hold News Conference Opposing Fast-Tracking The Trans-Pacific Partnership
Our movement has changed.
What was once a movement based on hope has become a movement based on rage.
And while I fully accept that anger is an important part of our movement, we cannot allow it to consume our movement.
Anger is a fast burning fuel that leaves the vessel exhausted and clouds the thinking of those feeling it and while there is no doubt that our anger is justified, I know that this is not a message that we are going to be able to use to elevate our movement to the place it needs to be.
In short, we need the carrot AND the stick.
We not only need to rage against the fascist, corporate machine, but we also need to be inspired by the greater vision that Bernie Sanders used to wake up the masses.
It is not enough to attend town halls and scare the hell out of our so called “representatives”.
It is not enough to focus on what we do not want.
We must also be constantly inspired by that which we DO want.
It is not enough to oppose tax cuts for the rich.
We must also be inspired to pursue our goal of universal healthcare for all citizens.
It is not enough to oppose private prisons that literally make billions off the suffering of The People.
We must also be focused on our vision of a society that would give every citizen access to clean water, proper nutrition and a top-flight education that leads to jobs that make America an amazing place to live.
Because when we live in anger, we live in reaction.
Real power comes from action, not reaction.
Bernie Sanders brought a vision to America that was inspiring and then we watched as the establishment used all of it’s power to destroy that vision.
But they cannot do it without your compliance.
WE decide the world we create.
WE gave the establishment its power and WE will take it away from them.
The Revolution is ongoing, but it cannot run on anger alone.
It needs a hybrid blend that mixes in inspiration as well.
If we forget that, we lose everything.
Be inspired, my friends.
I know it doesn’t seem like it…
But we are winning.
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Michael E Sparks is an Independent writer and political activist. If you believe in his vision and want to support it, you can donate $1 by clicking HERE.
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What Happens When You Videotape a Racist

I pulled into a fast food restaurant to use the restroom.
 
As I entered I noticed there was some sort of altercation taking place.
 
I hung to the side to observe and see what was going on.
 
I quickly realized that a white man was yelling racial insults at the Hispanic man behind the counter.

Apparently he had been waiting 15 minutes for his food.

I’m not really sure why he was in such a hurry.

He clearly had acquired enough fat reserves to survive without food for the next several months.
 
Making matters more interesting, a black woman was yelling at the white man saying…
 
“It’s his first day. Give him a chance.”
 
The man said..

“All you niggers and wetbacks better stick together, because Trump is going to round up all of you.”

The black lady got in his face and stated the obvious..

“You’re a racist!!”

He replied…

“I’m not a racist. I just don’t see why they only hired one Mexican. I’m sure he has twenty brothers and sisters that live in his house. Why doesn’t he bring a few of em to work with him? I’ll tell you why, because they’re lazy!!”

The lobby was absolutely full and everyone was feeling uncomfortable and looking down at their phones.

I thought about engaging him verbally.

It would have been easy to make him look foolish in front of the crowd, but I realized that this was just my ego talking. I was angry so I wanted to humiliate him. Everyone would have laughed at him and cheered me on, but I’ve done things like this before and often times it has resulted in me and the person I was humiliating coming to blows. On a handful of occasions I have even had the person I was publicly shaming pull out a weapon.

I imagined myself attacking his logical fallacy by saying something like..

“So Mexicans are ‘too lazy’ to work, but you are saying that the problem with this situation is that the restaurant needs to hire MORE Mexicans. So in effect you are saying that this man is doing the work of several people, but not to your satisfaction. I’m confused. Are Mexicans lazy or is the place understaffed? Because you seem to be making both arguments simultaneously and both can’t be true in this case, so pick one.”

This was a bad idea.

The racist would have just been confused and when people get confused in these situations, they often lash out.
 
If I took this path, I would be engaging in self-deception, as my real goal would have been to make him look foolish and inferior so that when he lashed out at me I could have knocked him out and everyone would have said that it was self-defense and thereby justified.

I would have felt like the big hero for a few minutes (unless I got shot) until the police came. Then I would have possibly been taken unto custody. How embarrassing for me to have to call my family and explain to them how I can’t even be trusted to use the restroom without finding my way into a jail cell. I could tell them how I was just defending the Hispanic man’s honor, but they know me all too well.

They would know that I had fallen back on old patterns and that I had let this tiny excuse for a man sidetrack me and now we would have to come up with money to pay legal fees and that this would undoubtedly prohibit us from doing other things that we wanted to do.

Engaging the man verbally was a ridiculous idea and violence is rarely an option and certainly was not required in this situation.

I’m too aware of my own motives and manipulations to engage in such tactics.
 
Still, I wanted to do something to protect the man behind the register.
 
I felt really sad for him.
 
Imagine starting a new job, using a second language, making garbage pay, only to be treated this way by entitled people.
 
I simply could not stand by without doing something to protect the man.
 
So I did what everyone else was doing, I pulled out my phone.
 
But instead of using it to distract myself from the situation, I started making a video of the racist man.
 
He said..
“You aren’t taking MY picture are you?”
 
I said..
“No. I’m making a video. Carry on as you were.”
 
But of course he didn’t carry on as he was.
 
Suddenly he was overwhelmed with the realization that the whole world was watching him.
 
He went completely silent and became kind of fidgety.
 
The woman next to me said..
 
“That’s a great idea!” and started filming him too.
 
Soon others joined in and the man felt scared and muttered…
 
“You people are the REAL racists.” as he hurried out the door.
 
After the man left I spoke to the black lady and thanked her for standing up for the Hispanic man. I tried to give her some ideas for how she might do this more peacefully in the future, but she wasn’t having any of my approach.
 
She said..
 
“He’s lucky he left when he did, because I was about to pick up that wet floor sign and beat him down with it.”.
 
Everyone else was at the counter telling the Hispanic man that he was doing a great job on his first day.
 
I wasn’t done.
 
I watched the man as he crossed the parking lot and got into his work van.
 
It had the company phone number on it.
 
I called and asked to be transferred to the person in charge.
 
I explained to them what had happened and told them that I would upload the video of the man so they could see who was making their company look bad.
 
His boss said..
 
“No need for that. I know exactly who it is. Rest assured this is the last straw with this guy. This isn’t his first complaint.”
So I guess he arrived back to his job only to be told that he no longer had one.
 
Maybe he can apply at the fast food restaurant.
 
They seemed to be a little understaffed.
plannedparenthood
Michael E Sparks is an independent journalist and political activist. He doesn’t get paid for his work, so if you believe in what he is doing you can buy him a cup of coffee by donating $1 HERE