Pinocchio has been re-elected. He is on his way, finally,
to becoming a real president. Now all he needs to do is lose the strings. The
time has come, my liberal friends, not to complain about the election results
(legitimate or not, he used our democratic system exactly as it is set up to
work), but instead to start making some progressive changes in our game plan.
See, whether the Republicans realize it or not, a social revolution is still
on the way, and this time it will succeed. The difference now is that we will
do something they never even considered doing: We are going to learn from history.
In the 1960s, there were campuswide protests across the country
in an effort to change both the government’s agenda and the educational “conspiracy”
of which the students felt they were victims. The government agenda they opposed
was one of aggressive military endeavors and legislation that attempted to crush
diversity (eerily similar to the current administration’s agenda, which I will
outline for you later). The educational conspiracy that they were so opposed
to had to do with the universities’ curricula. To them, it seemed as though
the institutions were discouraging creativity/independent thought and attempting
a nationwide robotification of the minds of the student body. This would, they
claimed, train them to act as “bricks in the wall” of the corporate
hierarchy, and make them easy to exploit so the CEOs could stuff their own wallets.
So who were these students? Were they drugged out, paranoid, mindless slackers?
Drugged out? Maybe. But mindless? Not even close. The students who led the protests
(at schools such as Berkeley, Michigan, Cornell and NYU) were among the brightest
members of their respective classes. These kids were well-read, thoughtful and
decisive. They didn’t scream indiscernible moans but instead wrote articulate
and insightful documents, such as the Port Huron Statement of 1962 in which
members of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) advocated what they referred
to as “participatory democracy.”
So the question is: If the cream of the crop of the country’s
best schools were liberal and made such a powerful statement, then why is the
country still so conservative, with such a skewed moral system, and what can
the new generation of students do about it? Before I answer that, I will quickly
explain what I mean by skewed.
If all men deserve equal inalienable rights, then why are
gays being stripped of theirs? Yes, I understand that marriage isn’t a constitutional
right, but seriously, what do you win if you succeed in banning it? None of
your Christian marriages are affected either way, and life is slightly worse
for an entire demographic of citizens. I really can’t understand you bigoted
fools. Next, it’s really easy to say that your tax cut saved Americans billions
of dollars. What’s not so easy is explaining to the middle and lower economic
brackets why they paid the same damn amount of money the years before and after
the tax cut. Why is it economically beneficial to large corporations to pollute
and outsource? Why is global warming less of a concern than what you can and
can’t say on TV? Why are you so afraid of human nudity and language that you
make a conscious effort to censor them, while war and violence are considered
patriotic? Why don’t you give peace a chance? Why is marijuana illegal
when tobacco kills tens of thousands times as many people per year? Why are
campaigns no longer about how great a candidate is, but instead about how sketchy
an opponent is? This one’s for both parties; you do realize that this approach
leaves Americans nervous about their officials no matter who wins, right?
So why did those students of the ’60s fall short if their message
was right? Don’t get me wrong, because of their efforts, women, gays and minorities
have made huge equality gains, and the environment is a vital part of any candidate’s
platform, so they definitely made some worthwhile progress. Once again, though,
the country is still right-leaning. Well, they fell short, because they focused
too much on appealing to the policymakers and didn’t give enough credit to a
long-term solution. Think about it, from the perspective of the adults of the
time, you’ve got a bunch of seemingly ignorant kids chanting that everything
you have ever worked for and believed in is wrong, providing no alternative
to speak of. How would you react if you were presented with that? True, visionaries
like Tom Hayden and Abbie Hoffman had a better solution than simply “peace,”
but the giant crowds didn’t come off as having one. No, the old white men whose
entire fortunes and security could be derived from the “terrors” of
capitalism were not going to listen, but the students persisted. They amassed
and chanted and did drugs and sang to those same old white men for a decade,
and when it didn’t go anywhere, they turned millitant, killed their credibility,
and eventually gave up their optimism, many turning into those same old rich,
white men that they had hated so viciously. If you can’t change your environment,
adapt to it. That’s why they fell short.
It’s time for all you Democrats and Republicans alike to pay close
attention. I will now reveal the secret to our impending successful revolution.
The atmosphere of the ’60s will return (except with techno music and cell phones).
Students will once again be open-minded and willing to take risks (though probably
less promiscuous due to STDs). Next, unlike our parents, we will not scream
for immediate change. We will quietly educate and exist only as splinters under
the fingernails of those in power. We understand that we can’t get those who
possess the power to change, but the kids are a different story. If enough kids
are willing to start thinking; if enough kids come to understand the importance
of global success over personal wealth; and if the kids understand that we will
soon inherit the world and run it how we choose, then they will join and they
will act. It will be, by the standard definition, a guardian coup d’état.
Without warning, we will simultaneously come of age, all with an understanding
of why liberal policies are so vital to the future of the country and the world.
We will, in a time span of less than five years, fill out Congress; then, like
musical chairs, everything will suddenly shift. The power will transfer to us
and we will have won. The time of bigotry and greed will be over and a better,
more progressive world will result. So there you have it, that’s the plan. Try
to act surprised when the time comes.
On November 4, 2004, 17-year-old Travis Moe led a sleep-in
at Boulder High to protest the policies and priorities of the Bush administration,
military recruitment in school and disregard for the environment. See “Slumber
Party” on this page for more on the kids.