……for a long time now, I have been expecting a revolution of sorts. I mean, talk, talk, talki-ing bout my generation, ya know? It was half-wish and half-expectation. Inevitable, ya know?
I came by it honestly. My generation of baby-boomers was forged in the rhetoric of revolution. Even our music. We were hippies, Green Peace, we were the sexual revolution, the Feminist revolution, the digital revolution and we just kinda grew to dis the old establishment, cheer on the whatever-next revolution and hope for change.
Hell, we even called ourselves ‘progressives’ as if we knew best what it was all eventually supposed to look like. But except for some peaceful changes, some minor movements, some enlightenment, we never actually overthrew the oppressors. We talked the talk and walked a bit of the walk but, overall, we were ‘assimilated’. We got comfortable. We sold out. Took about twenty years….
In fact, when the hippy generation finally sold out completely they morphed into the ME generation and greed and consumerism surged ahead like a pent-up force of nature. We got us a Mercedes Benz. RRSPs. Real estate. Tax avoidance. We got plastic surgery, fake teeth, fake boobs and a big screen TV. We stopped protesting war once the draft was dropped and the poor and the drones were doing the killing. We stopped suspecting corporations with the acceptance of Costco and Walmart and they being associated with Globalism. It sounded egalitarian and it WAS cheaper. And, for a few decades, we stopped worrying about the environment – mostly. Our generation’s momentum for change-for-the-better waned. Our desire to make more money increased. We drank the Kool Aid.
Were we capricious? Fickle? Spoiled brats? And, if so, was that because of the ‘new attention span’ of the TV news cycle and soundbites that robbed us of serious thinking or was it the spectacle of celebrity and entertainment 24-7-365 for 30 years? Was it the incredibly pervasive and persuasive propaganda that got to us? Is that why we folded our ideals, morals and hopes for a better world? Or was it more systemic? Was it our poor education, our media or simply the effort of having to make ends meet?
Who knows? But we do know we never actually revolted. Some dropped out. Some burnt out. And many drugged out. But most of us worked within the system to buy a house and a car and take a vacation. We bought in. We did not even push our previously bone-deep politics, instead also buying into the bifurcated nonsense of red vs blue as if one held the answers and the other was just plain nuts. It was just so much easier. And we were busy.
But, I’ve been thinking…….maybe two things are also true but not so well known or understood. First: the brilliant, Machiavellian genius of modern Capitalism. Whatever is ‘revolting’ or ‘anti establishment’ becomes the new ‘opportunity’ for some marketer, some icon, some industry. Capitalism has learned to absorb any significant manifestation of resistance and embrace it to turn a profit. Capitalism is the great ‘sponge’ of ideas and makers of consumer trends. See tattoos, see Rap music, see drug-use. See gambling. See Tyranny. See celebrity. Capitalism markets all that!!! All those stupid, shallow expressions of ‘difference’ started as a revolutionary counter-culture act and each has gone mainstream to become a NEW mainstream industry.
Revolution has gone entrepreneurial.
I could go on and on about that but you get the point. But can you see all that described above as applied to the MAGA idiots?
NOW there is a group of counter-culturists. Post truth, alt-facts, lies, hate, ugly, fascist and stunningly ignorant. Worst fashion sense ever! A real rabble, a real bunch of deplorables…..THOSE dickheads are revolting (in every sense of the word). MAGA-dom (Magadumb?) is, however, a revolution of sorts. Hell, they have even killed a few people. Their hatred is, however, mostly focused on the swamp of elitism, privilege and wealth. Or jealousy. THAT is traditional. They do NOT want to accept any part of the ‘biased’ establishment and their movement is populist – also very traditional.
Could it be that the revolution we all half-expected is actually NOW taking place and it is not a movement for good, progressive causes but rather for bad, ignorant, selfish survival reasons? For the sake of anger, hatred and bigotry? Is this the revolution we expected? The revolution of cornered rats?
Bear in mind that these deplorables are so-called because they are unemployed, ill-educated, poor, addicted and are transferring their anger against the institutions, establishments and those who ‘don’t look like them’. Could there be a better definition of a revolutionary force?
I confess that I thought the revolution would look like ‘good works’ and ‘saving the planet’ and ‘helping others’ and all that. But there is NOTHING in the definition of revolution that says it will turn out the way expected. It could very well turn out differently.