When it is routine to hold hostage a domestic flight to check the papers of ordinary citizens, when you have made it legal to seize the assets of those who speak out or gather in groups of more than two for fear we might contradict you or plan some protest, and shut the press down for printing truth, because you can’t bear to be wrong or challenged—
When you make us make art furtively as though it were wrong and dangerous (O it is, yes!)—
When you and your cronies have stolen our wages through bad schedules and punch-clock shenanigans and right to work for less laws, stripped us of what little we make through exorbitant taxes that subsidize your businesses, given the bosses permission to use our time and our bodies as they like without regard for our humanity or safety, no matter how many of us are maimed or killed, dumped us out of the skimpy, fraying safety net without arms, legs, or lungs, poisoned the air and water then sold it back to us, bottled, like the whole country is a company town, neglected unto ruin the bridges we cross to work each day and dug up the parks we cherish when we’re not, disappeared the buses and trains we ride so we have to all buy your cars or walk to your jobs, enslaved us with debt for an advanced education you require to work in the goddam mailroom, made us so poor we have to wager our lives in your wars to even begin to get ahead, then send our children to countries we’ve no business being in and abandon them when they come home without limbs or minds or sleep, pawn off the excess equipment to police and give them the power they should never have to decide who lives and who dies for expressing themselves or just walking down the street, enforcing harsh laws that send more of us (mostly Black and brown) than in any other nation to jails where we still work like slaves—
When you have reduced us from a free(ish) nation of free(ish) people pursuing happiness to utterly oppressed masses, when you are huddled in your compounds with your paid servants and paid security, unsure of their loyalty, behind razor wire and laser beams, as much prisoners as those in your jails—
This ends two ways: in misery for all of us or death for you and rebirth for us.
Stop now, while you still can. We are already sharpening our tools.
Claim you are the Party of Family Values, and ban abortion but rob the funds for prenatal care, school lunches, food stamps, teacher salaries, college financial aid. Get ‘em born and forget ‘em, or better, keep ‘em poor so they become the ultimate resource: more fodder for your army.
Then dedicate your platform to soldiers going to war for your greed, but keep your own children from the front, and turn a blind eye to the maimed, the homeless, those your wars wounded invisibly, who can no longer sleep for fear that followed them home. If they survived your war, let them kill themselves.
Say you are believers in the American Dream then deny it to anyone who does not look like you or comes fleeing some country you can’t find on a map. Or rob those already here who thought they had achieved it when you revolve back to your pillaging corporate job.
Mouth the words freedom of religion and conscience but show no mercy no justice, no love.
You are the worst kind of liars, warping words into unintelligible contradictions, deceiving with fear, and harming those who trusted you while you prosper.
We have been robbed of even the slightest sense that the government belongs to all the people, of belief that it just might be working to make our lives better. Worse, we have been robbed of a fundamental right— to pursue happiness:
To wake up and read the paper without dread of what new perfidy we might find there. To go to work without wondering if what we do is of value or if we should be in the streets carrying signs, instead. To not wonder if we should get a gun and learn to use it. To not question whether the art we make is frivolous or not political enough. To lie in bed and read novels, go see a movie, make love, binge watch something other than “The West Wing,” “Homeland,” or worse, “24.” To send our students abroad and welcome others here. To not have to examine every fucking thing our government does to protect ourselves and those we love.
This is his goal: to suck us dry of joy, of security, of life, leaving us as hollow as Liberty’s crown after 9/11.