Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
— Martin L. King Jr.
If You’re Not Outraged…You’re Not Paying Attention To What Is Going On Around You!
The movie Network was made over thirty years ago. I remember seeing the out take of Peter Finch’s character, Howard Beale, leaning out a window and yelling at the top of his lungs, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” His words perfectly describe my feeling concerning the political situation in America today.
First of all, I am not a political writer. There are more qualified political commentators on the web who can explain our political, economic, and social conditions better than I. I am just fed up with what this current administration is pulling off almost totally uncontested by either their own Republican party, the Democratic party, or the American public. The checks and balances of our government have been tossed aside by a corrupt and secretive executive branch. The only thing the oval office seems committed to is the increases in corporate profits and the top 1% at whatever cost.
I came of age during the sixties. In those days filled with racial tension, the war in Viet Nam, young men burning their draft cards and women burning their bras, I knew the enemy. It was anyone over thirty who supported institutionalized racism and the systematic destruction of any form of government which questioned the spread of democracy and capitalism. It was during the Cold War, one of the wars designed to keep us afraid, which ended with the destruction of the Berlin Wall and started up again under the Trump administration. We also had the War on Poverty, the War on Crime, and the War on Drugs which fed the coffers of the Wall Street investors but didn’t really end anything. These wars were never won because to do so would be a loss for corporate America on the bottom line and that was unacceptable.
Today, the enemy is the same only its spread is greater. From Washington’s oval office to the corporate boardroom. From the lies and deceit which led us into the unnecessary and unwindable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the lies and deceit leading to the billions in profits by the Oil industry, Enron, World Com and others. Previous administration and its band of robbers lied to us about the electrical shortages in the early summers of the new century as they told power plant executives to shut down their generators in order to raise the price of electricity. The employees of Enron and World Com lost all of their investments while their executives stashed millions in offshore numbered accounts. And, where O’ where are those Weapons of Mass Destruction?
The enemy hasn’t changed much, but taking over the oval office is a bit more involved than occupying the provost’s office at the University during my college days. I had very little faith in our electoral process before the 2016 election but now I have none. I no longer believe my vote matters nor will it make a difference. I don’t see change coming from the inside. Corruption cannot police itself. And I don’t see any knights in shinning armor coming to our rescue. It’s time for a revolution. I’m not sure how to go about it, but I got out of my chair. “I’m mad as hell and I’m getting madder.”
Peter Finch’s character, Howard Beale’s Monologue:
I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad. Worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in a house as slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller and all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster, and TV, and my steel belted radials and I won’t say anything.” Well I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot. I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being. God Dammit, my life has value.” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, and stick your head out, and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Things have got to change my friends. You’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”