Yet another school shooting. A call for vigils and marches, and letter-writing campaigns. While I agree kids have skin in the game, (always have and always will), this seems reactionary because of an incident. I encourage their political awakening, yet I wonder if it’s right to suggest they can accomplish something that we in generations before them have lacked the political ability to do. I watched the video of Parkland High School shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez’s powerful speech demanding gun control. I could feel her empowered grief and anger, and feel the passion of the very large assembly she addressed. This incident has sparked yet another flurry of outrage by “us.” We will hold marches and vigils all around the world. And then, we once again become too busy in our lives, too busy trying to make a living, too focused on myriad other political issues, too disillusioned with the political system to be involved, too locked into the dogma of our personal beliefs; so we go home. This is the way things have been arranged by the economic and political forces in this country. This reflects the political box our activism must work within. This is what we have bought into.
No one has a “right” to own a gun. Where the hell did that come from? Even free-thinking gun owners ought to get this. Illegitimate wealthy land and slave owners who stole land from the indigenous people living on it, who murdered them, who subjugated women as property wrote a document that essentially kept them from being taxed by the imperialist European governments, while opening the capitalist exploitation of resources of this land which they stole. The purpose of this document, (nothing more than words on paper) called the Constitution was to limit democracy and yet protect them (Second Amendment) from reprisals of those European governments. This is some illegitimate BS, and yet for generations we have bought it. There is no “right” to own a gun.
And, this is the dead-end path we offer to our children in our encouragement to awaken them. There is no path, and we are blind to that. We blindly lap dog to propaganda pretending we have a political voice. The political system is fixed. The majority of Americans want gun control, so why don’t we have it. Vigils will not deliver, marches will only deliver if we face off with those forces. I mean in their face. Our voices are more and more restrained as we go forward. Online petitions are only leads for donation requests. The non-profits asking for donations are required to maintain corporate charters limiting their political power, legally covering their asses, and to get a tax break. Ah, capitalist America!
We are society, and this is our society. If we’re not responsible, who is? If we own it, the only conclusion we can arrive at is that the U.S. Constitution does not serve the people, and has created a political and economic system which gives corporations more power than the people who labor in the myth we keep repeating to ourselves, that we have a voice. We don’t. We never really have. The Constitution, the basis for our political system, was not devised to give people power, nor was it meant to be reformed; it was meant to hold us in bondage. With the proper amount of propaganda applied, it has worked. It is fixed!
The Center for Responsive Politics reported in 2012, the median net worth for members of the House and Senate was $1,008,767. This is how the capitalist system serves the public. If we don’t move beyond our indoctrination about a representative government, we will remain the “governed.” We have moved beyond a time when our marches and civil disobedience frightened these people. They don’t care, because they are fully aware that we don’t hold power in this system.
So, we have to stop being the reactionaries when they stick it to us. If you want it to change, if you want to offer a future to our children, then offer them a new way, a new paradigm, a new political and economic system, a new vision of what a society in which citizens with a true voice can look like. Do we know? With vision, if we are willing to give up our attachment to an obviously brutal and dysfunctional system and its culture, I think in our hearts we do. We embrace our children and invite them to join us in the creation of a new era.
Dennis Duckett writes from Nederland, Colorado.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.