Monday, September 14, 2009

Pardon the Interruption


It has been a week of unceremonious interruptions. Joe Wilson, a Republican Senator from South Carolina, shouts "Liar" during *ahem* President Obama's speech. Kanye West jumps up on stage, feeling that Beyonce, the current queen of pop, was (Taylor) Swiftboated. West has been publicly threatened; below is a fair representation of the hatred that people are expressing toward the entertainer. In addition, West was apparently escorted out by security, and his performance was canceled.

I don't really care about West, Swift or Beyonce. They make pop art: super. We need art. But they don't really speak to me, or to the issues that I think artists should be speaking to. But, what I do find interesting is that, what West said is true: Beyonce made one of the best videos of all time, and by extension she deserves the award. I mean, how many different youtube "Single Ladies" versions are there?!

But, at the VMA, decorum reigns over truth.

If only the same values were in place during Obama's health care address to Congress. Joe Wilson, among numerous other elected officials, tried to shout down the elected President of the United States! And nary a response! It was a Presidential Address!


Wilson was not slinging words off the cuff. It was not a misguided spontaneous outburst. It would be foolish to regard Wilson's actions as anything less than calculated.

When we get our jobs in our organization, the first thing you do is you sit down with some of Saul Alinsky’s books, Rules for Radicals. And we read that book and we study that book, and everything that we've been trying to do here comes straight out of those pages.


Those are the words of Adam Brandon, from Dick Armey's "non profit" Freedom Works. They have been organizing the recent "tea parties" and public disruptions, using Alinsky as a guide. Now, many on the left have dismissed these demonstrators as lunatic. The demonstrators may-well be. But they are besides the point. The point being the demonstrations. They have forced a debate, when there should be none. Though they have rejected initiatives, without offering anything, they have garnered public space. They have captured airtime on major networks. And they have elected officials shouting down the President on their behalf.

This is not something
to dismiss this is
not something to debate
This is something to fight

So we will not debate the lunatic who dares dispute the validity, the value of Black and Third World and/or any other human life. Our lives are not debatable....We will continue to struggle for our survival and for the freedom of our children who will survive us by every means we choose to use.
~June Jordan, "On the Occasion of a Clear and Present Danger at Yale (1975)"

There is no logical response to state violence. There is no logical response to state sanctioned hate, so-called "free speech." The only avenue we have is the fight. They disrupt public debate and the state police don't escort them out, then we do. They hold a tea party/hate rally in our town, and the state police don't escort them out, then we do. We have already been brutalized and imprisoned. We have had our families turn against us. This fight is not fair. They get headlines, & we get tazed.

But, to end with another June Jordan interrogation:

Will you assume responsibility for your life, in these many, urgent ways, will you assume responsibility for your life, and my life, and our lives, the lives that are now, and that have always been, endangered and attacked by our enemies operating under deliberately asinine slogans....With all my heart, I hope so.

1 comment:

Michael Lamb said...

Yo, I loved Obama's sideways glare in the disruption's direction, before moving on. That guy needs to be sanctioned somehow by the procedures of Congress. Has to be a penalty for that.