If TV channels are any measure, the US presidential elections,
now less than 4 months away, are the permanent stuff of headlines.
If candidate A sneezes, it's breaking news; if candidate B hiccups, it's film at eleven.
It's hardly worthy of headlines, but the beast [the media] must be fed.
For far too many people this news overdose on the elections has
bred a kind of passivity among millions, as they wait in front of TV
screens and computers, like deer caught in headlights.
What happened to anti-war protests?
What happened to housing rights protestors?
What happened to anti-FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) activists?
People are dulled by the almost sure expectation that the
Democrats will prevail in the next election due to the low ratings of
the Republican Party, and its lame duck President George W. Bush.
And those dull expectations are based upon the totally unfounded
faith that a Democratic win of the White House really means an end to
the war. (We might ask, which war?)
Millions have apparently forgotten the bitter lessons from the
2006 mid term election, when Democrats prevailed in congressional
elections, formed a slight majority in both houses, and proceeded to do
Peace in Iraq? Off the table. Instead, like lemmings leaping off a cliff they voted for more and more billions for war.
And what of the recently renewed FISA bill, which legalized the
law-breaking of the Bush Administration -- and gave retroactive
protection to phone an communications companies which violated prior
FISA -- signed, sealed and delivered: and even the Democratic
candidate (Sen. Barack Obama, D.IL), who blasted the measure, put his
John Hancock on it, voting 'yes.'
The great abolitionist (and women's right supporter), Frederick
Douglass, supported Abraham Lincoln, yet that didn't stop him from
protesting against him, when he moved too slowly, or not at all.
Reading his criticisms are still biting, even though over a century has
passed. And yet, his teaching remains just as relevant, for Douglass
said, "Power concedes nothing without demand."
If people demand nothing, that is precisely what they will get.
These lessons from history must teach us today, that protesters must PROTEST.
Elections aren't endings -- they are beginnings -- and movements mustn't stop moving; they should protest more!
7/23/08 (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal