Friday, July 04, 2008

A Letter to a Retired Activist

(originally published at OpEdNews)

My friend John spent most of 30 or 40 years as a full time activist. A learned, wise and all around intelligent man, his subsistence came from doing “odd jobs” here and there. His full time job was to deface the nation’s highways and byways by scrawling messages that Americans needed to read. If one sees “9/11 was an inside job” painted on an overpass, there’s a good chance that John was the graffitist.

He now tells me he’s grown tired of the anger that goes with all of that and has decided to make people happy on more of a personal level. He plays the trombone with a plethora of talent for the elderly living in last stop hotels and gives them maybe one last reason to smile.

He travels the country with his lovely wife, Kay, and he says he’s happier and more satisfied than he’s ever been.

I admire John both for what he did for all those years and for what he’s doing now and wrote him the following letter telling him as much:


Nothing changed, the rest of the world never got better, so you found a better world.

You’re right. I’m still swimming against the tide. While you were an activist for thirty or forty years, I was part of the problem, doing what I was told. I was weaving in and out of marriages like they were short term loans. I had no idea of what was going on “out there”. I worked for a global Fortune 500 chemical corporation and had no idea what NAFTA was going to be and, when it happened, what it was and what it meant until they aimed it at me and pulled the trigger. I worked for one of the powers that pushed it through and I was too busy making money for that company and becoming ever more in debt to the ABA to know what the news of the day was.

I wasn’t paying attention to this world so I blew my chance to now join you in yours. I owe this world what you gave it for so many years. I not only ignored it, I knew nothing about it and helped bring it to this point in time.

I suppose once I’ve done my twenty or thirty years of banging my head against that infamous wall, I’ll swim to shore and towel off.

I’ll keep informing you of new stuff and trying to expose old stuff in a new light. I hope that doesn’t cloud your new vantage point.

Remember when the military media’s theaters almost banned Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911”? Now there are two mainstream films that question our political system and the stealth manner in which our so called leaders govern. They’re not documentaries. One stars Kevin Spacey and it’s about the 2000 Florida theft. The film is called “Recount”.

I’m not sure who’s in the other movie but it’s called “Stop Gap”.

Yeah, I know, I know, we had ‘em when we found out about Downing Street and we had ‘em when we found they were breaking the law with their spying and how can one not see the connection between 9/11 and The Regime?

Maybe I’ll catch you a criminal or two. After all, somebody’s got to catch ‘em. They’ve been getting away with this ongoing farce for far too long. It’s my turn. After all, it’s just a matter of time, isn’t it? Do we have time to finish out our stay before it all goes wrong or will it all go wrong first and will the mist turn into that tidal wave so many of us have been fearing for so long?

Most of your activism was before 9/11. After 9/11, you used your wisdom, passion and energy hoping to bring a number of murderers to justice. You knew, however, that people would resist, so you handed out videos, hoping that one out of every so many people who received that free disc would watch it and become enlightened.

At the very least, the so called political process by which we occasionally change leadership started to become transparent in 2000. Suspicions rose. In 2004, the game was played again and, thanks to the person they call John Kerry, we saw maybe the worse performance ever. Despite the fact that it was obvious that he didn't want to play the role, he played it anyway. But when the play ended, he exited the stage as if it had spontaneously combusted.

As intense as the pursuit has become, the murderers have not only not been brought to justice, but they seem to become emboldened each time more evidence is revealed.

This is helped by the fact that what people know about them is being framed by friends of the criminals and people don’t believe in their guilt. They’re busy going to work, earning a living, coming home, mowing the lawn, looking at new cars, watching American Idol. They learn all they need to know from the criminals' enablers and protectors and, as far as they’re concerned, the criminals have never broken any laws.

You were anxious and nervous and frustrated because you know that the criminals are guilty and that there's been a long line of criminals and that the entire process has had Americans believing in myths and stories and lies.

Finally, you came to the conclusion that, after many years of seeing the cracks in the walls, pointing them out and listening to people tell you that they’re supposed to be there or that they’re not even there or blaming the wrong people for the walls’ worsening condition and constantly getting no help in repairing the wall, all you really need to do to recapture your sanity is open the door and leave the house.

You’ve found that the sun shines outside of the house and it’s warm and if you don’t buy anymore houses there will be no more cracks and you won’t have to try to point them out to people and it won’t matter if they know or not and you surely aren’t going to continue to ask for help repairing the wall because you’re no longer in the house. You’re no longer in any house.

You worked hard to fix the house and discovered that you could live just fine without it, thank you. You’ve adopted Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world.” You now help people smile who are staring into the face of their last days by playing oldies on your trombone. That’s the change you want to see; you want to see people smile.

Me? I have to repent and have my go at fixing the cracks. The house is so close to crumbling in on itself, like those buildings that are intentionally demolished by professionals with explosives, that it will take more than just one person to hold it up. Additionally, it will take an assemblage of carpenters with skills above and beyond any others to rebuild it.

The world doesn’t know it, but it owes you a debt of gratitude for working on the house for all those years.

Though it’s a cliché, “better late than never” describes where I now stand in the queue and, from where I stand, it’s my turn.

Thank you so much for what you did for all of those years, John, and I only hope that I can approach making the kind of difference you made during your “angry” years.

To friendship,

“Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death.” - James F. Byrnes

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