Today, the Revolution Did Not Happen (but it May Have Started)



An Argentinian Catholic, a Tibetan Buddhist, a Pakistani Muslim and an American Lesbian Talk Show Host walk into a bar.


Bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.”


The foursome exchanges looks and replies, “Well, damn! Then who do you serve?!”



Today, the Revolution did not happen.


(But it may have started.)


Instead, injustice continued to reign because human beings allowed their self-interests to be quashed—including such basic self-interests as equitable access to education, healthcare, even shelter and food and water. Though perhaps we’ve had it when it comes to not being allowed to breathe.


Many of us allowed ourselves to be sheep-penned by the invisible American caste system. We allowed pastors and aldermen and Morning Joe talking heads and any number of other system shepherds to convince us that Jesus or Mayor Rahm, or sometimes both, want us to be on the outside looking in. It’s our destiny. If we only had more faith and less melanin and the right parents, things might be different. Ho-hum.


I don’t mean to discount the efforts of the thousands of Americans who diligently blocked Lake Shore Drive and the Brooklyn Bridge this week to protest the state-endorsed murder of Cigarette Terrorist Mastermind Eric Garner. Yet sadly, these pedestrian protest efforts weren’t enough to prevent men in Brioni suits and women in Miu Miu shoes from nibbling Sevruga caviar and collecting dividends from the spoils of the global military industrial complex, from the raping of Earth’s precious resources, from the trades of 1,001 human abuses—all perfectly legal actions, again, because we allow them to be.


By the way, this may be an embarrassing moment to remind the country that within the past month, many more of us stormed Walmart than the election polls. And so it goes.


Anyway, today the Revolution did not happen.


(But it may have started.)


Instead, Uncle Sam continued to wander the Earth in his oxidized Lady Liberty disguise: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. And if you don’t mind, in exchange, I’ll launch a few murderous drone strikes in your general direction. Oh look, there’s an innocent black child waving a plastic gun. Excuse me, be right back.”


Bang bang all over you!


For what it’s worth, Concepción Picciotto appears to be the sole person in the entire country willing to do anything for more than several days in a row about G.I. Joe’s mindless military gallivanting. (If you want to hang out with her, drive on up to Lafayette Square sometime.)


As Ms. Picciotto knows all too well, it takes a lot to drag people away from the poppy milk of their electronic devices and sport-ball addictions—their insipid boob tubes.


Maybe we need to convince everyone that the Revolution is an Ariana Grande video being filmed at their local state capitol.


By the way, even if the Progressive Revolution started today, there’s the frightening fact that there exists a multiverse of competing revolutions. Somewhere in the Interweb ether, Tea Party bloggers are publishing similar calls to action—only they’re trying to stir the masses to take up arms in defense of the Ammo Alamo. Of course, their posts doubtless will have fewer references to lady’s designer footwear.


Also, somewhere an Evangelical Nutjob is blowing the revolutionary ram’s horn hoping to establish a theocracy and call Jesus a-snowboardin’ down the clouds to tear our Little Blue Planet to pieces. Too late, we’ve already done the work for him.


All to say, the revolutionary red carpet is starting to get a little crowded. Many groups, many casks of tea.


But the Progressive Revolution has a secret weapon



Today, the Progressive Revolution did not happen.


But it may have started.


Yes, the progressive meme machine is in maximum overdrive. And people have even started to trickle into the streets.


But we need global leaders to emerge at this point.


Global leaders? Yes, because the Progressive Revolution is not one defined by geographic borders. It is in fact a revolution that begins to erase those lines. We are all citizens of this Little Blue Planet. The needs of one in Zimbabwe are no less important than the needs of one in Walla Walla. Your family member was murdered by a black drone, mine by an officer of the blue wall; and we all have a little Agent Orange in our bloodstream.


Somebody put out the bat light.


I have a dream. I have a dream that Pope Francis picks up the phone and calls the Dalai Lama and says, “Hey, meet me in Ferguson tomorrow. Bring along some friends.”


His Holiness in turn texts Malala: “Join us in Mizzou.”


Malala stops by the Big Apple on her way to St. Louis. She knocks on Rachel Maddow’s office door, “C’mon, Rach! We need you too!”


Along the way, they snag Noam Chomsky and Cornel West and Michael Moore and Leymah Gbowee and Jimmy Carter and on and on.


“Should we invite Barry?” Liu Xiaobo asks.


Pope Francis puts his finger to his chin, “Yes, but only if he promises to unplug the drones.”


And I bring cardboard cutouts of Kurt Vonnegut and Mohamed Bouazizi and stand them up at Revolution Ground Zero—the spot where Michael Brown was gunned down, where his corpse was left uncovered for all the world to see while his lifeblood seeped into the pavement.


And right on this very spot, all of these leaders of peace—none of whom see eye to eye on everything, as none ever will—join hand in hand and challenge the paramilitary powers who be to train their turrets and barrels upon them.


They open up the demonstration by kicking back with a few peace hymns—including Donny Hathaway’s version of “What’s Goin’ On.”


And then they start walking—walking to the very spot where Eric Garner was choked to death before a live studio audience. Along the way, they call on the people to join them. And from there, they walk near and far across this planet to the sites of other scenes of governmental and oligarchical abuse.


And they let it be known that they won’t stop walking until governments large and small melt down the golden calf of greed, disband the prison-profit systems, turn weapons into ploughshares. And on and on.


I’m sorry, but cameras on cops won’t cut it. The basic rights of every one of our 7 billion-plus human being neighbors is not a negotiating point. The preservation of the planet isn’t something to be taken up in committee. It’s Civilization: either you’re in or you’re out.


Today, the Progressive Revolution did not happen.


But we’re ready for it to happen.


Leaders, where are you? Convene us and guide us.




We the People of the Third Planet from the Sun


Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Malala and Rachel Maddow walk into a bar.


Bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve your kind here.”


The foursome exchanges looks and replies, “Ahem, did you see the 7.2 billion people behind us in the doorway? Now start serving cold ones.”


{Originally published on the website Forward Progressives on December 4, 2014. The website recently closed down without maintaining an archive. The original article received more than 100,000 views.}



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