Each year as I teach the French Revolution in my class, I am struck by parallels: the chasm of distance between rich and poor, a national treasury depleted by foreign wars, a corrupt layer of untouchables whose influence in government belies their disinterest in the people being governed, the burden of taxes falling disproportionately on an under-represented working class. Read, in this post-modern age, from left to right: our well-documented economic divide, Afghanistan and Iraq (the latter times two), corporations shockingly bestowed with “personhood” by our judicial system, the 99%.

Listening to political debates on details of women’s health that should be outside the realm of politics, I am struck even more by how detached from reality our population and those vying for political leadership can be. We applaud the people’s movements of the Arab Spring, yet denigrate those who voice their outrage through the Occupy Wall Street movement. We debate political minutiae while people in our communities go hungry. We fatten the coffers of those rattling around in sprawling domiciles (plural) while our children’s education is eviscerated by lack of funds from property taxes (and no, it isn’t the teachers’ or the unions’ fault).

While I do not advocate putting those hedge fund pricks’ heads on a pike, somebody somewhere needs a wake-up call. But Americans are too complacent to rise up and revolt, with their multiple channels of streaming entertainment, news programs that inflate opinion to 24-hour coverage, game boys and smart phones: anything to keep us playing and brainless.

I will say this for the frogs across the pond: as we debate whether or not insurance should cover contraception, they have replaced radiation-exposing (cancer-causing) Mammograms with non-invasion, no radiation Thermography. While Republicans try to choose between two versions of self-interest, the French Socialist candidate is ahead of the incumbent in the polls.

Perhaps there’s a way to avoid the bloody aftermath and go straight to the heart of the matter. We can create our own version of what has failed in the past. Where men have floundered, let the women take over! Sisters, it’s time for our voice to out shout theirs (with all due respect, of course).

sidebar: Ignorance is Strength by Paul Krugman in The New York Times
(I saw this after I made this post and it backs up some of my argument.)

4 thoughts on “Revolution

  1. Thank you so much for seeing what so many do not and having the beautiful voice to say what needs to be shouted from the roof tops. I look around and see a culture that is all about “I got mine now you get yours” until illness and/or old age take hold and then an emptiness and a pain so deep that most wallow in drugs, sex, food, shopping, and/or electronic entertainment to numb the lonliness of that void. Yes, there is beauty all around us all the time and yes, our reality is a construct of our minds and our own hearts but yet there is something about this human experience that goes beyond our ability to create our own reality. I am watching women overeat themselves to awful health, undereat themselves to poor health, eating xanex and such like candy all the while trying to live up to some image, standard, personhood that is created by a consumer culture with no eye to life, love, compassion, or depth. I agree that there are parallels with the French Revolution from the little I know and yet, the answers we need are for something new. The French are struggling like the rest of us in many ways and adapting their economic system to mirror the U.S., not a good move but the same reason so many of us chain ourselves here in the U.S. with debt and too many work hours that leave us unavailable for our communities, our families, and most important ourselves! I look back on a simpler life and see so much beauty yet I also know that I do not want to go back to that, I want to move forward – new technologies, travel to other realms, good health and productive loving hearts available for all who want it but how to do this in a way that does not allow industry and government to simultaneously lobotomize the masses?!?! I just don’t know. What I do know is that I am not going down quietly because I just can’t and what a mixed blessing that is.

  2. The “average” American is poorly educated, uninterested in (or even hostile to) the ideas and realities of other countries’ economic and political solutions, does not own a passport so has never traveled and therefore feeds on a sort of jingo-ism that is wilfully ignorant. I grew up in Canada, left at 30 for the U.S. and after 22 years here find the nation in a pitiful mess. I’ve also lived in Mexico, France and England so have seen firsthand how differently other people construct their lives.

    If the U.S., and American women, are screwed — as many are, whose fault is it?

  3. thanks for raising your voice. You hit on what is the most perplexing and troubling part – how distracted, unaware and unwilling to act Americans are. That and their belief that the media is telling them the truth. It’s hard to imagine how bad it would have to get before people would consider revolting.

  4. just got to throw in here that on a local radio station we sometimes listen to for the music, i was sadly caught with my daughter in the car during a break where the f!*%ing dj announced too quickly that a survey had been conducted on US women under 25 and when asked what they preferred to have (1) Intellect OR (2) large breasts, most young women chose large breasts to which the male dj’s reply was “my kind of woman” whether the study if valid or not is not the point for me – what is loud and clear is what our young people are being bombarded with and i just feel like i am from another planet. so glad to have you here sharing your voice with us. i so need it đŸ™‚


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