In my first installment in Odyssey, I intend to make it clear where and with whom I stand. This is the plea of a man running short on hope. I have no interest in horserace politics nor in the perspectives of corporate media, which has long since abdicated the sacred duty of journalism in favor of ratings-grabbing nonsense and autocratic hobnobbing. My sole interest is in developing an egalitarian way of living based on mutual aid and in accordance with the laws of nature so that we might leave a greener, more peaceful and happier world in which we may evolve together. Stay strong, friends.
"If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal." - Emma Goldman
Here we stand on the precipice, a mere six weeks from November 8, with two clear paths laid out for our society. One is the absurdity of ethnonationalism, in which strongmen construct literal walls to protect their stolen wealth of colonized nations; the other, status quo neoliberalism, corruption, and the expansion of a venomous, global regime beholden to Almighty Dollar.
In other words, America's election is one between cyanide and rat poison.
Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump pretends his hands aren't extra teeny tiny. (Mark Wilson/Getty)
But what if there was a third way? A way just off the beaten path, once trodden by some of the brightest minds and fiercest hearts our modern times have ever known. One that inspires hope, courage, and selflessness; one that leads to genuine freedom and prosperity, not just the plastic sort wrapped up in a flag and draped over a coffin. Such a path is not seen through the lens of modern economics, nor through the "reforms" of arms-dealing gangsters masquerading as statesmen.
No. The path to liberation is through you and me.
The unpopularity of the elephants and jackasses is self-evident. Never before has the American electorate expressed such distaste for both major party standard bearers. Predictably, the lightweight third parties have flocked to the disaffected and promised the people their pound of the establishment's flesh. Many have been eager to gobble up this "revolutionary" message, although it is one those lackluster candidates could never hope to deliver without a constitutional amendment and a boatload of money and luck. The parliamentarians of the republican revolutions have been corrupted (if it were ever truly clean) and now serve only to pacify a restless people. The ballot box is a gun to our heads, forcing us to support one pre-approved candidate or another out of the most pitiful of human emotions: fear.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton lands on the tarmac under sniper fire. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Of course, in the face of fear, courage and bold action are essential. Action not of some authoritarian figure spouting vague promises of greatness, but rather from associations of individuals, strong and free, supporting one another for the sake of life. The greatest theft of all has been the theft of our communities, now alienated into isolated storage units for obedient, uncritical workers. Our dependence upon this economy – one which degrades our environment, exploits our people, and pollutes our spirits – has been foisted upon us by a shrewd, wicked alliance between State and Corporate power. The lubrication of finance keeps the wheels turning, and to the bankers, all are indebted for their Divine and Glorious stewardship of our system of world trade. At the intersection of big business and big government awaits the ghost of Il Duce.
Benito "Il Duce" Mussolini prepares to make Italy great again. (Keystone/Getty)
However, all hope is not yet lost. If we succeed in reestablishing our communities, forging interpersonal relationships with our neighbors, and creating new institutions by which we support one another and protect ourselves, we cannot be stopped. The bedrock of this vision is love and grace, the recognition that we are each reflections of one another and that what harms you, harms me.
Of course, what use is love and grace without a bit of rage? We rage against those who would divide us and make war upon us. We rage against those who would reduce our beautiful, mosaic souls to simple flags, religions, professions, or net worth. We are not nations, gods, or numbers; we are human beings, and in times as dark as these, our unbound emotion is a revolutionary act.
As I develop an anthology of work under the banner of The Odyssey, my aim is to develop this theme and explore the myriad ways – both historically and contemporarily – that humanity has struggled for true freedom from both the State and wealth. My great desire is to include discussions with people far more intelligent and experienced than myself and to reflect the needs of those who are too often made voiceless in our world. I do my best here to avoid ideological dogma, though my biases will undoubtedly appear often. In these pages, my hope is we find, together, some practicable methods – tried, true, and some a bit new – to remake our society in the image of love and solidarity.
To paraphrase Robert Frost – old tyme Americana personified – we must now take that road less traveled.