Our Struggle

by Ali Carlson

So many people are struggling against the overwhelming propaganda that mainstream media is relentlessly churning out about the inevitability of Hillary Clinton winning the Democratic Party’s nomination for President. They want us to believe that there is no other option. They demand that we support Mrs. Clinton because she is the “lesser of two evils,” because a Donald Trump presidency would be a catastrophe. They speculate about a cascade of horror unfolding that would end civilization as we know it.

It reminds me of the nonsense that the same media drummed up surrounding the beginning of the new millennium. Y2K, the turning of world’s digital clock from 12/31/1999 to 1/1/2000, was the subject of endless what-ifs and months of planning to head off the feared collapse of data banks worldwide. In the end, absolutely nothing happened and life went on just as it always has.

This year’s crisis surrounds the choice of which candidate supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders will choose to vote for in the event that he is not the Democratic nominee. Senator Sanders himself acknowledges that the odds are stacked against him. He started his campaign with no money, little name recognition and a small band of followers. We are all aware of how his movement has grown, of the intense passion and patriotism he inspires, of the strength of his convictions and the power he projects. He makes us believe that change is possible. He unites us in that purpose.

But what if the establishment succeeds in its efforts to shut that movement down? Do we then retreat back into apathy, isolation, powerlessness, negativity, nihilism? Do we let the oligarchs have their way with our country? Do we subvert our purpose and back another candidate who does not share our values? Or do we burn it all down?

A living wage, job security, paid sick leave and vacation benefits, safe housing, quality child care and health care, a clean and wholesome environment, these are all things that have been slipping away from average Americans for a long time now.  And when you can’t support yourself or your family despite working hard everyday, but your employer is making a ton of money, you have to ask why that is.

Burning it down is a way of saying, “No, while we are willing to work in exchange for a guarantee of these basic human rights, we won’t be bullied into taking less. If our employers won’t and the government can’t give us even these basic things when a tiny fraction of people are making more and more money all the time, then they do not deserve my respect or my labor.” And they certainly have no right to our submission.

When they make a thousand times what we make and another thousand times more by taking advantage of us in countless other ways, like taking a lot of our small amount of income in taxes and interest fees that they don’t ever pay, that’s not fair. This level of exploitation is poisoning us and everything it touches. We cannot nourish ourselves or our communities or our planet when our labor has become soaked in the blood and tears of poverty and oppression. We are being told to hate and fear our neighbors because they want to take away what little we have and so we are all awash in mistrust and misery.

We are made to believe that there is not enough to support all of us, not enough health care, not enough education, not enough water or land. But that is not the truth. That is the story we are told to make us fear and despise one another instead of seeing the abundance in our world.

Burning it all down means refusing to accept their choices. Burning it all down means choosing to value each other over commodities. Burning it all down means no longer wanting what they want us to want. It means standing up for each other, because we are all brothers and sisters and we all have value. We are deserving of respect and entitled to basic human rights.

If enough people stand up together and for each other, we can begin to heal each other and our world. We can articulate the kind of world we want our labor to produce. Then, all people will begin to realize that there is more than one way to be in this world and that freedom means nothing without the ability to create the world that we want to live in. Sometimes, you have to burn it down to build it back up.

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