[x-posted to Unreal City]
In the 19th century Karl Marx famously declared religion to be the opiate of the masses. In the 20th, Simone Weil responded, "Revolution, not religion, is the opiate of the masses."
Where have all our revolutionaries gone?
Coretta Scott King's passing is a hollowing reminder that the time of America's revolutionaries, its great liberals, has passed us by. In a span of five years in the 1960s we lost Jack Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. Since then the country has shifted dramatically to the right.
What world do we live in today? Martin and Coretta King's daughter Bernice has marched in opposition to gay marriage; Dr. King's own daughter does not support civil rights for homosexuals. Our Torturer-in-Chief gets a second term as President while Jimmy Carter, the great promoter of human rights and Nobel Peace laureate, was not re-elected and is reviled throughout the conservative South. Cindy Sheehan is arrested by der Führer's Gestapo for wearing an anti-war t-shirt. American soldiers have murdered 30,000 Iraqis for the purpose of establishing a military and economic base in the Middle East. Habeas corpus has been suspended. It's not acceptable in the United States to be labeled "racist," but it's perfectly fine to be a slimy racist if you can duck the label (i.e. the signifier is problematic but the signified is not). And of course it's not racist to hate "radical Islamists" because they're the enemy. Mind you it's still perfectly acceptable to hate women. It's still cool to hate gays.
Where is the left, where are its calls for change? Our "liberals" in Congress give the radical right free reign at home and abroad. Howard Dean is the popular voice of the American left--and he has been marginalized! Free speech is a luxury not affordable in times of war, and we've entered a perpetual state of war. Voters (especially and disproportionately black voters) are disenfranchised, and only Jesse Jackson seems to care; Jesse Jackson is just a relic of the past. We have no Jack Kennedy, we have no Martin Luther King. The gap between the rich and the poor grows, social mobility shrinks, and Ralph Nader is insignificant--and worst of all this is not his fault: America has spoken, time and time again, and We. Do. Not. Care. It's hard to be a fiery revolutionary when your strongest ally is Jon Stewart. And so human beings across the globe suffer.
THIS is the state of our Union.