Fasten your seatbelts. I have something I want to say. Something I probably shouldn’t. Right now it’s just you and me here. The security cameras are turned off. The NSA guy who monitors my calls, Fred, has taken the day off. I’m glad, because I need to say something to you and I need you to admit you’ve been thinking the same thing, too.
Aside from the violence, aside from their despicable racism and misogyny, aside from the fact that we vehemently oppose everything they stand for — the truth is, that deep down in your soul, as you watched what your eyes could not believe was happening, admit to me that in that appalling moment on January 6, 2021, you were — how do I say it — jealous that it was the fascists who had risen up, and not us long before now. Again, not jealous of the unforgivable violence they unleashed. Rather, I’m suggesting that there’s a small piece of you and me that has wished for just once in our lives we had that kind of courage, that resolve, that rage of conscience and commitment to just not effing put up with this shit any longer.
Deep, deep down we ask ourselves why didn’t we do this when there was a real theft of an election in November of 2000? We did not storm the barricades of the hanging chads in Florida. We did not surround the Supreme Court when they handed the White House to the man who lost.
We did not storm the Pentagon in August of 1964 on the day after Lyndon Johnson lied to the American people, telling us that the Vietnamese had attacked one of our ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.
And last week, as the Republican politicians in Texas declared their ownership of the reproductive organs of all women in Texas, we the majority did not rush to Austin and nonviolently encircle the state capitol building, take down the Texas flag, and refuse to leave until they removed their filthy hands from the bodies of the 173 million American women they wish to control. We are just months away from the Supreme Court’s own grubby hands doing just that — and what, my friends, are we going to do about that? Right now the Trump Court should be quivering in their boots, not from fear of our violence (we are nonviolent), but simply because they know WE are the majority, WE elected a House, a Senate, a President who believe what WE believe — and as long as this barely remains a Democracy and there are millions more of us than there are of them, they need to fear our wrath, the wrath of this Democracy, that WE are nonviolently coming for them and WE are not leaving until they back down from their stated desire to declare women 3/5 of a man.
But they do not fear us. They will not only force the majority gender to give birth by edict, to make women reproductive slaves against their will, they and their fascist minority will continue to eliminate voting rights, suppress the vote of Black and Hispanic Americans, force the poor to work for $7.25 an hour, force our students to be saddled with 30 years of student debt, force millions of single parents to leave a sick child at home alone because there is no day care, and force many of you to die a lonely and broken death because tens of millions of you don’t have the resources to pay a goddamn specialist to heal you and let…you…live.
Why wouldn’t ANY of these assaults on our lives, our bodies, our children not make us get up right now and nonviolently storm the Capitol? THIS IS OUR LIFE! THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN! If the State is going to use its power to physically hold you down to forcibly birth a baby against your will — I mean, please, people! What exactly will it take to make you and millions of others run down Pennsylvania Avenue screaming bloody murder and nonviolently prohibiting those Justices from entering that Court building?!
Tens of thousands of you have been wrongly turned away from the voting booth, stripping you of your constitutional right to elect YOUR representatives. You’ve been shown the door, tossed to the curb like the garbage they say you are. Why is it not your very next move - and we, your neighbors, OUR very next move - to put on our Viking headgear and run like wild men and women with the force of hundreds of thousands of us, nonviolently storming the chambers of our state Capitols and NOT LEAVING until they give us back our voting rights?
We all talk a good line about climate and the environment and the destruction of our planet — but really folks, if you TRULY and ABSOLUTELY believed that the end of the world is near, you’d be right now running and screaming down the middle of the West Side Highway like your hair was on fire, on your way to Wall Street with nonviolent clubs in your hands, or storming down Grand Boulevard to General Motors HQ in Detroit to shut them the fuck down, or flying like crazed banshees down Market Street in San Francisco to PG&E and nonviolently show them what it would look like for their executives to be without power, or a million of us in the Potomac on anything that floats and nonviolently surround Joe Manchin’s yacht and tow that bastard away, safely, so he doesn’t cause harm to anyone else.
You would do that, wouldn’t you, because you believe the earth is at its end, because you believe women’s bodies are their own and no one else’s, because you believe the police do not have the right shoot a Black kid in the back and laugh about it later, and because you believe your sick baby has a HUMAN RIGHT to see a doctor! And for THAT you would join MILLIONS in the street, right now, to demand that this State violence, these corporate attacks on WE the people must end and we will not relent until this madness ends.
But you and I will not do that. Why? Because we’re afraid? Because if the planet isn’t worth dying for, then the planet won’t be worth living on. That’s the ultimate fight and it’s been that way throughout history, throughout all the struggles to make people free. And if your children, your control of your reproductive organs, your right to vote, and the death of this planet aren’t worth the fight, then let’s just say that out loud, be honest with ourselves and get back to arresting the hooligans of January 6th because that’ll show ‘em — and it will make us feel better about ourselves because we would never do what they did! And because we will not rise up, well, the shame of knowing that about ourselves and revealing it to the White Supremacists who at least have the courage of their sick convictions — that’s just too much to bear. In the summer of 2020 we showed the world the largest nationwide demonstrations ever and the murderous cop was sent to prison and Trump was sent packing — and then what? So all we have left to do is throw Steve Bannon in jail? And then we can get back to the real fight of recycling our pop bottles, putting some solar panels on our roofs and whatever else our environmental leader Mike Bloomberg and his Sierra Club tell us to do? Because we all know, deep, deep down, the fix is in, our Democracy is in shreds, Black Lives don’t really matter and it’s too late now to stop Planet Earth from spinning off into the sunset of its demise because we ignored the real radical environmentalists and the teenage student from Sweden and went with the sell-outs instead. All this, because we secretly admire how the Right fights, wins, stands their ground, and never backs down. Even when they KNOW there are far many more of us than there are of them. They don’t care. This is THEIR country and we can either go eff ourselves or just go whine in the corner, wringing our hands about how “we’re going to lose the House and the Senate next year! And Trump will be back in 2024!” By the Democrats failing to deliver on most of Biden’s promises, we may depress the vote in 2022 and make that our self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, we secretly admire the Right — not because of their bigotry and fascism, but because they get the job done.
We could get the job done, too. But that would require all of us going back out into the streets like we did after the murder of George Floyd, following the lead of our youth, and women and people of color. And we would have to be relentless and never leave those streets or the offices of our governors, or the other halls of power. And we must finally look like we fucking mean business — out with the filibuster! Eliminate the Electoral College! Four new permanent seats on the Supreme Court (because when they made it nine seats in 1869, we had only 39 million people in the country and now we have 333 million — nine is not enough Justices to handle the backlog of cases in a nation that is now almost nine times larger!). We need to get serious, have it our way and if some kids end up nonviolently breaking a few windows at the neighborhood branch of Chase Bank, then so be it. When we win, and we hold true power, we promise to replace those windows free of charge, because that’s how liberals roll.
How did we get to this place where an overwhelmingly conservative, caucasian and male group of citizens -- many of them well-off, snobby and as entitled as the former President they were fighting on behalf of -- how have they become America’s radical insurrectionists? Maybe it should not have come as a surprise; white, male rage at progressive changes is not new —and January 6th was the latest manifestation.
The real question I want to raise with you today is this: if we truly believe what we say we believe, and if our warnings about the peril we are in are all true then wouldn’t we have brought our Nation’s Capital to its knees by now? Shouldn’t we have grinded the wheels of the apparatus to a halt, and done so, many times over? How many more times can we declare a state of emergency, or claim that the next election is the most important of our lifetime, but yet not be willing to storm the gates of power, be they financial, political or military, and thus make them all shiver in fear?
In short: where is our insurrection?