Well, this is interesting. For the first time in many years, I’m writing both Brainiac On Banjo and Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind each week. B.O.B. is devoted to the greater world of comics and graphic novels and appears right here at PopCultureSquad.com every Monday, health and opportunity permitting. This column, which shall appear on every Thursday, is about politics, which, unfortunately, molds our culture and often bends it into shapes that would keep a balloon clown awake in a cold sweat.
Don’t worry. Both columns can be perceived as complete rants babbled from the dankest caverns of a deluded blowhard. I’ve earned it.
A half-century ago, I spent several years working hand-in-fist with the likes of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. It was a great time, and we-all did some work of which I am quite proud. Jerry often said the proudest moment of his life was when he was subpoenaed to testify before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, right-wing America’s powerful tribute to Cardinal Richelieu. Jerry said that receiving that subpoena was like getting his college diploma.
I miss HUAC. For all the damage it had done – and it had done a lot of damage – they were relatively straightforward about their goals and concerns. In comparison, today’s Great American fascists (check the word out; it may not be what you think) are weasels who vomit a bouillabaisse of lies, distortions, hidden motives, and pay-for-play contradictions.
As opposed to many of today’s Great American liberals. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant to say “progressives,” because the liberals sat back and let the Right usurp that fine word the way they usurped such phrases as “family,” “education reform,” “Democratic Party,” “right to work,” “state’s rights,” “job creator,” “moral majority,” and “faith-based initiative.” And now these same liberals are sitting back and wringing their hands over our sundry vanishing rights: marriage equality, free speech, fair taxes, and abortion. Yes, I said “abortion.” Fuck you, “pro-choicers” – it’s abortion, stand up and call it what it is and do so with pride.
This is because the Great American liberal believes in the phrase “the truth shall set you free” – but, of course, they mean it will set others free because, hey, they already know the truth! “If we just show them the truth, they will see the light!” If we learned anything in 2016, we learned this is bullshit: if the truth will set the disbelievers free, they would have tossed Donald Trump and his entire clown-car of think-alikes off the stage while they still had a chance. These reality-deniers belong to the Republican Party, which is not what the Republican Party was a generation ago. People such as Everett Dirksen, William F. Buckley Jr, Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower, and even the post-1964 Barry Goldwater would have been hauled before HUAC by today’s Republican Party.
I am so conservative I long for the days of those Republicans, along with folks like Adlai Stevenson, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Lewis, and damn near everybody with the last name “Kennedy.” Today’s so-called conservatives say they pine for the Leave It To Beaver days of the 1950s, but they don’t mean that at all. The 1950s saw Americans fight openly for freedoms for all using every tool available, a movement that expanded over the next two decades and is now being methodically dismantled to the benefit of the few ultra-wealthy Americans and the Russian oligarchs.
Do not let those hard-won victories disappear like the ozone layer, equal rights, the right of self-determination, and the right of every member of society to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If you care about reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, our right to clean air and water, our right to collective bargaining and so much more, now is the time to stand up. I’m not a great believer in electing politicians to improve our government and our lives – that trick never works. But I am a great believer in electing politicians who will not make things worse and at least try to make some things better.
But I’ll settle for politicians who are not venomous bigots.
If you think all politicians are the same, our recent history has proven you to be a moron. Get out and register and vote. Get your like-minded friends and relatives to do the same. If they are infirm on election day, drive them to the polls. I know it’s been made a lot harder to get through the registration and voting processes. That’s how it is right now. Labor through it and get people elected who reject Jim Crow in all its forms and will try to change the process.
Now it the time to get off your ass and stand up for your beliefs. It might very well be the last time. You don’t have to be Chicken Little to realize the sky is falling.