[This is a third article from our guest writer who does not wish to make his identity known. I refer to him as G, a retiree who moved to Bellingham over 15 years ago. His previous pieces were MintTheCoin - Money for Everyone and A Pandemic and a Depression. The paragraphs below followed the publication of a Guardian article entitled “Revealed: Police unions spend millions to influence policy in biggest US cities” which posited that police unions work against reform. What you read below is a conversation the author has with the article. What conversation might you have with this article? D. Conoboy]
For more than 40 years, at local and federal levels, cities and the U.S. government (protection racket operators), and corporations (the beneficiaries of the racketeers), have worked in unison to bust labor unions while at the same time protect police unions. The governmental and corporate motivation for protecting police is self-evident. This has harmed both the welfare and lives of citizens and the minds and hearts of police.
I propose we should regard those protestors who do damage to property rather differently than most of us now do. Millions of Americans live in a state of lifelong anxiety that massive studies have repeatedly shown causes deterioration of both physical and mental health. Prolonged anxiety shortens lives. What is not mentioned is what occurs when anxiety abruptly ceases, as for instance, when wars end or during great uprisings and protests which bring people together in strikingly unusual agreement and purpose with one another. They abruptly feel free. The experience is ecstatic and previously unknown to most of those feeling it. It releases tremendous energy and behavioral wildness. I recall what I saw on the streets of Kansas City, Missouri, when WWII ended - I was only 13, but was alone and participating with the masses of adults around me who were doing things I’d never observed. I recall something of what I felt, too, because I, as were all the others, was suddenly free and experiencing what every modern society forbids, a tribal joy spontaneously and totally independent of cultural mores and restrictions, free of judging myself and others, of having to measure my behavior, of concern about being punished, of illnesses and fears. The ancient Greeks and early Romans scheduled Dionysian rites for themselves, Orphic and Bacchic orgia during which they cleansed themselves of the trials, tribulations and property focused loneliness of civilization, not so that they could destroy or abandon their cities, but rather so that they could better them with more understanding selves, more music, more art, more beautiful architecture and happiness. Socrates and Plato participated in orgia, and during them - we can be certain - discovered priceless things about themselves and what was possible.
Later governments in Greece and Rome acted to prevent the orgia, as modern nations still do. Thus the mystery of the gods in ourselves is known to few of us. We believe God owned the property, including the tree and fruit, in Eden, and that only obedience to, and worship of, the owner will allow us to deserve or receive the bounty of nations and Earth. In our laws, our debts are more sacred than ourselves, and in our laws those who own our debts are our rightful masters. Debt is holy, even when it strangles a nation, as it often does and has done since at least the time of Buddha, then Christ, and later Mohammed (each of whom sought to free us from much of it because they knew that debt was a means of controlling the people who make the wealth we produce by our labor move upward to self-fashioned elites.) The intellectuals, who know what money is, are ignored and insulted by the rich and their politicians and institutions because what they tell us money is enables them to control us at our expense. We keep worshiping the rich, dreaming of becoming one of them, voting for their politicians and believing we are being educated by their TV, news, religious and other institutions, because we’ve been convinced their definitions and uses of money are correct and necessary, and our small take is all that is honestly possible. Indeed, most of us do not know that another definition and body of uses even exists or could, in any degree, be respectable.
No one need tell me that a few of the rats among us are at celebrations and protests. I know that as well as anyone does. Likewise, there are giant rats in the Edens of the White House, Congress, state and city governments, mansions and corporations who use the existence of smaller rats to beat all of us down in order to make themselves rich and powerful no matter the visibly horrific cost to us. Joy of life is not a commodity that belongs only to some class of persons, much less a class which long, long ago monetized it and by impoverishing many of us in order to own it, making it inaccessible to billions, generation upon generation down centuries. If you are an American or a Brit, poor, unable to pay your water bill and threatened, because of that, to be garnisheed or get a lien placed on your house, or you were born in one of the many concentration camps called ghettos because you are Black or Brown, the elites will tell you that you chose to be poor and are solely to blame. Really. And what social problem does that solve? None. It only fills dumpsters and prisons with human beings.
I do not write for elites. I owe them nothing. My labor, yours and the toil of our forebears gave them what they possess and refuse to share. I decline to be the servant or spokesperson of those to whom my late wife and I gave the privileges they hoard, as you also gave them. I will defend them against being murdered, treat them kindly, and forgive them for seldom knowing, and usually being blind to, what they do (as most humans are), but never would I protect them from being humbled and reduced by us. One knows what enough is when one has experienced too much. That is as true for whole societies as it is for an individual. Yes, I know it may already be too late and that runaway-capitalism has sealed our fate, but abandoning any effort at all to gain what would be better for us is an absolutely sure way to lose it. The possible, you know, is like love: Pursuing it may turn out to have been foolish, but Oh! what it pays when it turns out to have been wise.