The revolution will not be twittered

The revolution will not be brought to you in 140 characters or less from anonymous sources half-a-world away and repeated as the whole truth by talking heads with an agenda. It will not star your internet friends or make you vicariously courageous.

And what business is it of ours in any case? If you’re so excited about freedom on its bloody march, then start walking. But my best honest guess is that the majority of Americans now weighing in on a contested election in a country that a good many of them can’t find on a map don’t even understand what’s happening in Iran.

That’s the problem.

Don’t look at me. My knowledge of Iranian politics is not enough to choose sides. Because Mousavi opposed Ahmadinejad does not mean that he’s a beacon of hope and freedom. This is not a revolution to bring down the Iranian system anymore than the candidacy of President Obama was a revolution. Elections are merely refined power struggles of the elite.

Fitting, then, that a group of people who make a living at such power struggles should weigh in on the matter. The US House of Representatives – that august body of a good many personages who voted “yea” on such bold initiatives in freedom as the USA PATRIOT Act – is inserting itself into the domestic politics of a foreign nation in the name of the downtrodden yearning to be free. Bitter irony, anyone? (Except Ron Paul, who may be the only sane one of the lot.)

Bloggers are proudly proclaiming their acts of what the US Government would define as cyber-terrorism if it were done to a government website.

You are not a part of the revolution.

Is the situation interesting? Yes. It’s tense and the stakes are high. But this isn’t our nation, nor is it the great push for freedom and democracy that we’re pretending it is. It seems that we like to believe that we chipped at the Berlin Wall. We believe that we stood in front of the tanks in Moscow. Or at least we believe that people do things like that because they want to be like us.

We’ve got it backwards. We don’t have the guts to take to the streets like the Iranians…or even the French. And we know we don’t have the guts. That’s why we take such vicarious pride in these events.

A socio-economic elite has pilloried the majority of Americans for decades now with barely a whimper. It hasn’t always been that way, and once upon a time “This Land is Your Land” was a song about revolution. But you’d never know it unless you heard Pete Seeger slip the last two verses in as they were originally written. (I’d twitter it, but there are too many characters.) Now if it was those old-time Wobblies standing vicariously with the people on the streets of Tehran, then it might be worth something.

It’s not.

Nor would the US have erupted in a similar way if the organs had announced a McCain landslide. We would have gone to work; paid our taxes; and bitched a lot. We like our stepping out of line with others taking the police beatings. If anyone in the US might do it it would be the rabid right, but at the teaparties they only dunked bags into cups of water…because they didn’t want to break the law. And that just about sums up America’s revolutionary spirit.

Unless, of course, it’s someone else’s revolution. You may not know this yet, but what the rest of the world hates about us is that we have a nasty habit of sticking our noses in everyone’s business and telling them what to do, what’s right and what’s wrong. And it was not only George W. Bush; it’s also the guy who’s so proud of his cyber warfare conquests.

Wear the green. Follow the tweets breathlessly. Cheer on the brave souls willing to get their skull kicked in for something. But if you want a revolution you’ll have to get your own.

And you don’t, so you won’t.

~ by Lex on June 19, 2009.

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