Friday, February 8, 2008

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

As much as I find government and political science to be quite interesting, I can’t stand taking classes on the subjects. Why, you ask? Because I don’t have it in me to keep my damn mouth shut. Nine times out of ten, I’ll leave the room all fired up and pissed at the system because some other person in the class decided to argue with me about something and get me all in a political rage. Now, for a half Palestinian girl in today’s society with three-fourths of my government name being quite tricky to pronounce, added to the fact that I live in a very politically volatile area, it’s a misconceived problem when I rant about things like that in public. Especially when I’m walking back to my car sporting my kaffiyeh around my neck (and I don’t mean one of those purple hipster ass joints that Urban Outfitters was selling), only to put the key into the ignition and start blasting some Non Phixion, Immortal Technique, Dead Prez, Diabolic, Paris, etc., with my windows down while I’m stuck in traffic. Allah forbid that I should come across an interesting looking rock on the sidewalk that I had the urge to pick up, or else I may find myself getting patted down in search of a slingshot. It seems that post 9/11 life is like American Idol for revolutionary minds –

“Randy, yes or no, what do you think?”

“Yo dawg, she dropped it like it was hot when the pressure was on, dawg. She really showed some true passion for what she does. That’s dangerous to the competition. She could take them all. I say yes. This girl could win.”

“Paula, yes or no?”

“That’s a yes from me. She’s so charming and charismatic. The people will love listening to her.”

“Well, that’s two out of three. It looks like you’re on to the next round. Here’s your ticket to Guantanamo!”

One of these days somebody is bound to get the wrong impression. I don’t even think I have to say what that impression might be – you’re probably already thinking it.


Ah, the power of media brainwashing. It’s ok – I’m not holding this against you. I hold this against the regional cable monopolies that control what television channels you’re able to receive. How coincidental is it that those who cannot afford to have hundreds of TV channels or a satellite dish that receives foreign programming are the ones that end up stuck with a small handful of blatantly biased television news sources?* How coincidental is it that it is this same demographic that probably has the most reason to revolt against its leaders, for it is these people that face the harshest realities of the injustices in our society on a daily basis?

If you ask me, it’s not coincidental at all.

This financially imposed technological disadvantage could be argued by an opposing point of view. You could say, “yo, there’s always the public library. You can hit that place up and pick up some books for free to read up on some true knowledge.” Yeah, you can. But thanks to the Patriot Act, that search for true knowledge at the library might just dig your already suspicious looking ass into an even deeper hole. On top of all of that, living in a constant financial struggle is not a simple state of being. Many work excessive hours at minimum wage jobs that tire them out and leave them with little free time. Sitting down to read doesn’t exactly pay the bills or put a hot meal into your kids’ stomachs. It’s like this never-ending trap that people on the lower end of the financial spectrum are seemingly stuck in.

It doesn’t help that public school systems just seem to further the problem, which is even scarier seeing as how the youth (better known as our future) is in their hands. Think about how many overly privileged white kids end up in those “smart” classes. Think about the types of characters that end up on school boards. Think about how much attention and praise the kids who effortlessly do well in school receive, despite the fact that they’re not the ones that truly need that treatment. Think about the children you see as you drive down the streets of the city, and then think of society in 50 years when it’s up to them to be running things. Those same kids that had information that will prove irrelevant to their futures shoved down their throats, in order for them to regurgitate those facts into passing scores on standardized tests so that the school doesn’t lose their federal funding due to the No Child Left Behind concept. And don’t be too sure that the No Child Left Behind program will meet its demise when Bush leaves office – the wording of the title of that program is no accident. What’s the next President going to do? Say, “OK, we can leave some children behind again”? Yeah, that sounds so “politically correct”, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, a ridiculous amount of money is being poured into programs like Homeland Security. Security? Oh yeah, we’re a lot more secure now. The fact that you can still run up on Capitol Hill with a samurai sword, a bow and arrow, guns, ammo, and some explosive-looking devices is proof of that. It seems as if our government doesn’t have its own finances prioritized correctly. But who am I to talk? After all, I’m just a lowly taxpayer. Far be it from me to be concerned with how the government spends my hard earned money.

Issues such as the aforementioned ones could be listed and explained in a multi-volume book, so let’s get to the point. America achieved its sovereignty by revolution. This country’s independence was achieved by people speaking out, standing up, and fighting for what they believed in. It’s a part of our history. Fast forward a couple hundred years, and this same land is now (and has been) in need of some serious reform once again. The difference between then and now, however, is that these days there has been a sense of fear instilled by the various forms of information technology into the citizens that prevents them from speaking out against what they believe is wrong. I’m shocked when people come up to me after I go off on a verbal tirade in a government class and say “Thank you. You said what I always think but can never bring myself to say.”

Despite what you may have been lead to believe about the definition of what constitutes a possession of “patriotism” is these days, it is not illegal to speak what’s on your mind. It is not illegal to seek truth and understanding. It is not illegal to demand change. Nor are any of the aforementioned actions “unpatriotic”. Quite the contrary. Demanding a stop to injustice, an improved life, and therefore a better country, is to me the highest form of patriotism. Caring enough about the place you live in to put effort into making it safe and just for you, your family, and those that will come after you is nothing but noble. Unite with those around you who share your same ideals for positive change. With unity comes strength, and with that unified strength can come powerful amounts of positive reform. You are doing nothing wrong by speaking out. However be aware that the goals you may possess for the future will require more than speaking. So for those that are able, take part in your communities. Reach out to the youth. Anything. It’s time to stop letting fear control you.

*Seriously. In my personal cable lineup in the past few years, since I don't have that VIP pay channel package and all that bullsh*t that I ironically tried to sell to people during my brief stint as a telemarketer, I've seen numerous stations that broadcast news from other countries taken out of my access. This included an Arabic news channel, a station that broadcast many areas' newscasts such as China, Russia, the Middle East, India/Bangladesh/that whole area, and even BBC. I am left with run of the mill major network news, and of course the 24/7 "news" channels (I say that reluctantly since they seem to consider the A-list celebrity world newsworthy) like CNN, MSNBC, etc. I'm not making this stuff up. Now, if only I could figure out how to get some English subtitles going on in this Dish Network sh*t...

writer:Amanda Bassa

Mandy speaking some truth.....

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