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I just looked it up: “torpor. : a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility : extreme sluggishness or stagnation of function.”

torpor

It’s my diagnosis for America. Every election here in Texas, people say, “We’re not a red state, we’re a non-voting state,” “Turnout is everything, ” and “If people would only vote…”  It’s not just voting, either.

Every public action lives or dies by its numbers, and those numbers are often in the twenties. True, the protests associated with Trump’s 2017 inauguration brought more people into America’s streets than ever before in America’s history. The 2018 turnout wasn’t bad, either.

Activists are holding their breaths to see what kind of turnout they will get when/if Trump fires Mueller or Rosenstein. I’m holding my breath over it for a slightly different reason: the call is for a major public action either at five PM on the day of the firing or at noon the next day.  I want to see what would happen if the protest occurred at noon on a workday.

Virtually all major calls for public protests occur on Saturday, Sunday, or a Holiday. That’s because turnout is paramount. It’s also because Americans are not familiar with the idea of a general strike. Sometimes called a political strike, it means that people take off work over something bigger than a shop-floor issue. It’s a weapon we desperately need in our American arsenal, but we haven’t done much about it so far.

What’s the Cure?

If non-participation is the symptom and torpor is the diagnosis, what do we do about it?The first step toward a remedy is to understand the problem. Our American torpor is partially a product of our ignorance, partly our arrogance, but mostly comes from our fear. Americans are afraid to stand up together.

The remedy, my friend, is you. You have to be the one to vote, to speak out, and to protest. When other people see you showing courage, they will have a little more courage of their own. This, of course, is not a simple remedy. It will take time and a lot of work.

Gene Lantz

I get to speak out on KNON radio every Saturday at 9AM Central Time. If you are curious about what I really think, check out http://lilleskole.us

 

 

 

The Republican position on undocumented workers is basically to deport them all. Round them up like cattle in concentration camps, and ship them to the other side of a humongous 2,000 mile wall. Twelve million human beings. Is that really likely?

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Let’s say you are a refugee from, for example, Guatemala. Or anywhere. You reluctantly left your home because you were facing hunger, assassination, torture, or some other kind of repression there. After a rough trip to the United States, you found conditions that were pretty terrible compared to the local citizenry, but better than conditions back where you came from.

Your life has an “underground” quality. You enroll your kids in school but, just to be careful, you don’t tell them exactly where you live. You stay out of public life in all aspects, because you worry about being uprooted or causing someone you care about to be uprooted. All this was true when you came to the U.S., it’s true now, and it will still be true after all the Republican fulminations against you.

If the repression in the United States gets worse, you aren’t likely to leave. You’ll just sink further into the underground, won’t you? Maybe you’ll take certain measures: take your kids out of school? Move more often? Change jobs more often? Change names more often? But you won’t leave voluntarily, and you won’t make it easy for ICE to find you.

There’s Always Crime

If things get so bad that you can’t feed your family legitimately , there’s always crime. You can buy a gun for mugging people. A handy crowbar for burglaries is even cheaper. You didn’t want to be part of a growing criminal underground, but it’s better than watching your children go hungry, isn’t it? You do what you have to do. You didn’t make this world, but you still have to live in it.

–Gene Lantz

I’m still on http://knon.org/workers-beat/ at 9 AM Central Time every Saturday. If you are interested in what I actually think, check out http://lilleskole.us