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.)
There is a despair that grips the heart as I watch them fall around me: the too-thin young mother looking for work; the pain-ridden woman, ill, with no healthcare; the husband without answers to his wife’s worried questions; the preacher who weeps as he prays for God’s help; the youth sentenced harshly in a mockery of justice; the faces swollen from the beatings of cops . . .
My life is a bullet shot at the heart of their suffering.
Other people are angels, sent down to soothe, to assuage constant hunger, to keep off the chill, to provide houses for children, hope for the parents . . . but I have been fired from the cannon of justice and am hurtling full speed toward change. I have emptied my pockets to speed up my flight. My coins have fed children. My coat warms another. I spent my kind words as fast as I found them. Now, emptied and lightened, my whole self races faster, but despair is the wind that resists me.
It is hard to watch people cry out and not soothe them – it hurts to keep hurtling forward this way – but the thousands of soup kitchens, shelters, and charities are but Band-Aids without the arc of this flight.
Don’t resent me, oh angels, because I race past. Send me your blessings, instead. Point out my flight to the child you comfort. Tell them I’m heading to the root of their suffering and love is the force that propels me. Tell them I hear them, see them, and care. I’m not passing by without noticing their tears. I can’t feed them today, nor house them tonight. I can’t lift off their worries, or take away sorrows . . . but my life is a single-shot bullet that streams to the heart of the causes of suffering.
Tell them, oh angels, so they don’t misunderstand me. It is easy to love people who alleviate symptoms, but harder to love doctors who must speak the raw truth. Pain will not vanish without massive change. Hunger will continue, unchecked. If we don’t work hard at politics, we will work hard at poverty. Healthcare won’t fall from the sky. Justice is not made by rich judges in robes; justice is wrought by the people. Struggle lies before us – change never comes easily – but our other option is to lie down and die.
Our suffering is legion, our problems many; the causes abound and proliferate . . . but these conditions originate in cold, closed up hearts – human hearts that control, horde, and withhold; humans that write policies of greed; humans who order war, violence, and beatings as if they were dishes from the menu of hatred; humans with blind eyes, deaf ears, and stubborn minds; humans who have closed off their hearts.
My life is a bullet shot toward them all, but my impact will not bring them death . . . for love is the force that propels me. Love rips through their policies, tears up the rulebooks, kicks out corruption, and truncates their greed.
So send me your blessings, oh angels of people, for this is the change that I bring!
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