Shift: Journal of Alternatives - Arts, Comics, Culture, Music, Science, and Spirit Experience.
Spring 2002 (images are links)


It’s been more than two hundred years since the Revolutionary War, and America is long due for a revolution coup d’etat. It’s not that America isn’t wonderful- our constitution, bill of rights and Declaration of Independence are some of the most revolutionary amazing documents in history (at least after they’ve been amended multiple times). The only problem is that our government doesn’t follow the said documents all that closely.

Flag image above from Ad Busters.

The only problem is that our government doesn’t follow the said documents all that closely.

It’s been more than two hundred years since the Revolutionary War, and America is long due for a revolution coup d’etat. It’s not that America isn’t wonderful- our constitution, bill of rights and Declaration of Independence are some of the most revolutionary amazing documents in history (at least after they’ve been amended multiple times). The only problem is that our government doesn’t follow the said documents all that closely. It just doesn’t seem right; for instance, that the president has the power to suspend habeas corpus, or to eliminate due process, or to pardon whomever he pleases. Throughout history, both past and modern, the president, the Supreme Court and the congress have repeatedly acted in a way that is, to say it lightly, incongruent with the constitution. During WWII, for example, our government placed Japanese persons, whether citizen or not, into so-called internment camps. It didn’t matter if they were American citizens, or if they were patriotic and hardworking; their property was seized, their jobs were lost and they were carted in to their new "homes", which essentially were crude, unsanitary prisons. And all the while, American’s were appalled by the concentration camps of the Nazi Regime, yet had no problem with interning thousands of Americans in the name of homeland security on the basis that they shared religious, cultural and ethnic ties with the enemy at the time (a little hypocritical, I feel). No, the guilt should not fall entirely on the government, no matter how many shady goings-on occur within it, people have an unhealthy habit of acting on fear rather than reasonable judgment, and American’s tend to act unreasonably whenever a crisis that has anything to do with us takes place. I don’t think that Americans are an exception and all other peoples, when confronted with a state of crisis, will react with sane and sensical decisions, but Americans definitely do not break the mold.

The thing about America is that you cannot judge it based only on what we have done in that face of grave danger and chaos. While it is important in discerning the societal personality of America, it is equally important to look at the everyday life of America. Unfortunately, that particular view of America isn’t wonderfully pleasing either. What with constant decadence, conformity screaming at us through every possible facet and hypocrisy and secrecy blaring on the radio, T.V. and newspapers, it’s impossible to ignore what American society has become. It pains me that every time I turn on the radio, I fear hearing the unchanging melodies of Brittany Spears, the Backstreet Boys, or N’Sync, when all I wanted to do was check the traffic and weather, or when I walk down the street and see nine-year-old girls wearing knee-high leather boots, mini skirts and tube tops (I can’t help but imagine an army of Brittany Spears look-alikes), or when I hear seven-year-old girls saying, "I’m not pretty, I don’t look like Brittany Spears". It’s not that I hate pop culture, on the contrary, pop culture has been a wonderfully progressive addition to American culture; where would we be without Janis Joplin, Jimi Henrix, The Doors, the Rolling Stones, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and so many others? The only thing I disagree with is the direction in which the pop culture has gone.

The music industry, Hollywood and the modeling industry seem to have a problem with putting anyone on TV that isn’t gorgeous, and the worst part about it is that "gorgeous" is quite the elite niche in the population. Honestly, how many women can be 5’10" with a 36C chest, wear a size 2, and have a minuscule waist and pronounced, curvy hips? Especially when the average dress size for American women is 12-14, that seems a bit unattainable, and absolutely ludicrous. And I can’t say that I’ve seen many ugly men on TV or on the silver screen, either; I mean, can’t imagine that there are many men who look like Brad Pitt. But again, I’m not saying that pop culture will be the downfall of American civilization, it’s just that I don’t feel that it leaves enough room to incorporate all of American society, and hence brings about segregation, feelings of inadequacy and elitism, which are all components of society that America has flourished through.

During the birth of this nation, segregation and elitism were such enormous parts of life that revolutions stemmed from the resentment caused by them. The only difference between now and then is that the elitism and segregation are far more covert than they were in the 18th and 19th centuries. And here, however abstract the connection may be, is where the need for a constitution-based government becomes relevant. The constitution, if followed exactly, would curb some of the patterns of elitism and segregation in society. If we actually acted on the beliefs that all people are created equal, or if we actually stopped discrimination on the basis of sex, race or any other category we are placed in, elitism and segregation, while they would not completely disappear, would decline in popularity. It is for this reason, and the reason that the government has been known to be involved in far too many shady dealings, that a constitutional reform should take place. Hence, we have a coup d’etat.

No, I am not suggesting by any means that people go out and start a bloody revolution against the government, for that would be the absolute opposite of what I believe in. Rather, just imagine what it would be like to have a peaceful revolution that brought our government back to the center. While I myself am a leftist, I believe that the end of partisan politics would lead to immense progress in government, and if by chance the government would be constitutionally based, then the progress would be all the better. So next time you’re watching TV and you see a barrage of the so-called ideal beautiful person, think about elitism, think about segregation, and think about how much better the world would be without them, and how much we could get done in the world if our government were constitutional.

-Gwyn Nordine 6/16/02

Those that tell lies-
I despise their eyes
That stare at me and glare at me,
I wonder- are they actually aware of me?
Or do they think I’m a mannequin?
Plastic, or made of tin
Like the Tin Man without a heart
I swear to do my part
My contribution
To start a revolution
I won’t assume the position
For our government- the Spanish Inquisition.
For them, every laceration
Is an entertaining fascination;
They don’t see the scars
Obtained behind bars
Or the pain so doleful
Or the eyes so soulful.
They see the tax dollars
From the good ol’ Blue Collars
And society preaches
And teaches and reaches
Out to segregation
Fuck meditation!
Don’t calm down
Or hear the sound
Of true liberty.
Don’t make a choice for you or me
Make it for society
Make it easy for the sinners
Who always end up winners
Don’t follow your dreams
Pretend it’s all peaches n’ cream
Just live in silence
And accept the violence
And watch the news
And follow the ruse
To keep you quiet-
I refuse to buy it.
Every conglomeration,
The leaders of our nation,
Have shackled the fists
We would’ve used to resist
The homogenization
Of the Independence proclamation.
They murder every opportunity
To come together in unity
Or to rise up in mutiny-
Instead, they tell us to buy Nike shoes,
Want a car? Don’t buy it used!
Unless you spend the conflict won’t be diffused.
Be an American! Be patriotic!
Oh no, don’t worry, it’s not idiotic.
Don’t delay
It’s the American way
To spend all thecash you stashed for some rainy day.
No matter that you’re unemployed
The Nuke’s already been deployed.
And still our democracy
Is made for aristocracy
Funded by the poor man
And out to destroy the Koran
Come along for the ride
Watch our prez avenge Daddy’s pride
Doesn’t matter that it’s suicide
For our nation on a global scale
We can’t let our Christian mission fail
Or let our money go to the hands of the poor-
If we do that we won’t be the Biggest Brother anymore.
I ask you- what are you fighting for?
Who in this country really wants war?
You want to see millions dying
And governments vying
For total control?
Or will you just kick back and watch the Super Bowl
And drink your Bud Light
And ignore the fight
And augment the delight
Of vengeful spite.
Score one for the Good Guys!
And say your good-byes
To any hope of peaceful reality.
How can it be among such brutality?
Just watch some TV
It’s like bullshit through an IV
Direct from the government to the eyes of you and me.
Don’t count the deceased
Count the profits increased
By some political beast
And- enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!
With turkey, mashed potatoes and beans…
Fuck that! Don’t believe their silk screens.
The ends never justify the means.
So don’t keep quiet
Start a peaceful riot
Throw out the politicians
And elect the electricians
Who know what it’s like to work for a living
Instead of politicians, used to the rich giving
Them all of the money that they’ll ever need
And living their lives according to greed.
Don’t just accept the current situation
Don’t give unwarranted respect to the leaders of our nation.
Realize you have to strive
To keep the truth alive.

-Gwyn Nordine 11/05/02

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