The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today”, when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution. This article is one of a series written by The Man From the North, which are not included in the novel, but can be read here. (The novel can also be ordered from this link.)
The government is not your father. The mega-corporations that monopolize your sustenance are not your mother. Obedience to their abuse is inappropriate … it is time to stop obeying. Imagine what you know is true: elections are a sham. Our politicians are not related to us by vote. They treat us all like bastards. The corporations that we expect to feed us, cloth us, shelter us, provide for us, are not our mothers. We were adopted for a moment, when we had cash inside our pockets, but now we’re useless – worse than useless – we’re sick and weak and cannot do their work. The corporations are through with us. We’re being abandoned on the roadside.
It has been said many times that America is in its adolescence. We are immature, pimply, self-indulgent, egocentric creatures. We conceal our insecurity in arrogance. We cover cowardice with bravado. Responsibility is ignored as we indulge in video games, sex, drugs, alcohol, chips and soda pop.
Watch out, then, for time holds still for no one. Pain and suffering force rapid growth and the average American is crashing through folly toward maturity. As our country confronts rising rates of poverty (approaching nearly fifty percent by international standards), we are no longer the teenage inheritors of the earth with keys to shiny cars and proms and college educations, suburban houses with white picket fences. We are not the children of a dream, but young adults confronted with a harsh reality. Our national household contains our dying mothers riddled with cancer, our hungry baby sisters, our laid-off fathers, and ailing grandparents, our meth-addicted younger brothers, and our incarcerated cousins.
We are scrambling to keep ourselves alive.
And this government that claims to know what’s best is beating us in its drunken stupor. The profit-addicted corporations are feeding arsenic to the baby. We hear the slurred and senseless speeches of this government and a hot surge of resentment chokes us. We struggle to hold our family together while the corporations take the lunch money from the children to get high on the drug of war. We stare dumbfounded, as corporate government demands our obedience. These false parents are ordering us to get into the car that will drive us off the cliff of climate change.
Obedience to this abuse is not a virtue.
With the ferocious force of youthful rebelliousness burning in our chests, we must grab our little sister, sling the baby on our hip, and refuse to let these people order us around. A government that does not serve its people does not deserve allegiance. Authority that abuses its position forfeits its right to our obedience. Entities that rob and poison people, rape the land and plunder public money should no longer enjoy our cooperation with their destruction.
We cannot obey them and survive.
We must grow up rapidly and painfully. Our government does not watch over us. It takes our last remaining dollar and gives it to the thugs of the military-industrial complex. It convinces us to resent our feeble grandmothers and starving children while it parties with the good ole boys. We must confront these lies! We must say to them, do not try to make us hate our people. The poor are not the robbers of our hard-earned money. You are! You give a penny to the old people and drink the rest in subsidies to your corporate cronies! You buy million dollar drones while the children have no winter coats! Your gorge yourself on opulence while the people scrounge in dumpsters for their food!
And when the government punches you for your outburst, look up, young teenager; look up with your bloody nose and blackened eye!
“Don’t get fresh,” the government will say.
And with fire burning in your eyes, you’ll think … I’m not. I’m getting wise.
The government is still larger, stronger, more experienced and tougher than you … but you are getting wise. You won’t fight him with fists or knives or guns … he’ll always beat you at that game. Instead, you’ll learn his weaknesses: where he goes to drum up money, which of his thugs resents his brutal abuses, what groups he leans on for support, and who among your brothers and sisters won’t take his bullying anymore. One by one, you’ll gather allies, erode his support, and cut him off. No one will give him money. No one will include him in the deals. No one allows him to crash their parties, sleep with their wives, take their cars and crash them. One by one, you strengthen the people and remove their unwitting obedience to abuse. You strengthen their pride in themselves, their ability to care for one another, and the resilience of their communities. You tell them that real fathers and mothers are people who care for the weak and immature. Fathers and mothers are flesh-and-blood human beings with hearts and souls. Corporations cannot replace them. Tyrants cannot take their place. Governments should not expect the obedience we gave to our parents when we were young. Americans are not children. We are adults, equals among equals. As friends and neighbors, we can govern ourselves.
The abuses of the government and the corporations are unfortunate, but let us not bemoan the loss of hierarchical control. Whether the tyrants are benevolent or destructive, they still usurp the right to self-governance that exists in every human being. Respect demands that we cease treating full-grown adults as subordinates to be ruled over. The long arc of civil and equal rights that granted suffrage and liberty to women, African-Americans, and all classes must be carried further. America must leave its adolescent reliance on representative politicians who do nothing but abuse us. We must grow into fully functional adults who can work together to provide for our whole society.
We must look around at other nations, our neighbors on this planet, and instead of attacking them, we learn from them, strengthen them, support one another as we deal with catastrophic climate change, collapsing economies, and political instability. We are heaving in the agonies of coming of age on this planet, but beyond the pain of growing up is a long life for this human species … a long life that we won’t survive to enjoy if we obey our profit-addicted, abusive government and corporations. We must disobey, break the rules, and evoke the rebellion of the teenager to grow into the maturity of the adult. We must trust our innate sense of injustice. We must have faith in our ability to create something brighter from the ashes of the old. We must find the courage to change the course of our lives.
Come on, America! The time has come. Grow up!
Author/Activist Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha and Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Occupy Radio and Love (and Revolution) Radio, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She is a trainer and social media coordinator for Campaign Nonviolence and Pace e Bene. Sun attended the James Lawson Institute on Strategic Nonviolent Resistance in 2014 and her essays on social justice movements appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance. www.riverasun.com