Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Reflections on Independence Day
Late in the evening of July 3, 2002 I found myself introspective, contemplative of the meaning behind the holiday that was dawning. I wrote an essay called "Reflections on Independence." It was the first time I made a public appeal for revolution. The following year I updated it and repeated my call. Last year I was on a media tour in Portland, unprepared to continue the tradition though certainly acting in the spirit. By the time July 4, 2005 arrived, talk of peaceful revolution had become commonplace. At least that's what I'm striving for, even if we're not quite there yet.
I spent most of the day on the Arcata Plaza handing out leaflets and encouraging participation at Wednesday's meeting of the Arcata City Council. This will include the potentially historic vote on the Voter Confidence Resolution, a strategem openly identified as an attempt to catalyze peaceful revolution. This year I found myself thinking a bit less about the meaning of Independence and a bit more about the meaning and history of Independence Day itself.
One of the people I encountered Monday afternoon was performance artist and fellow revolutionary Shaye Harty. She invited me to the Eureka Courthouse later in the day to "celebrate the unveiling of the Declaration of Freedom for Humboldt Nation." I was intrigued. After chatting for a few minutes, she asked me to sit and talk with her in front of Emma and her rolling video camera. What did we discuss? Well, peaceful revolution of course. Throughout the rest of the day I was struck with ideas for several video shorts on which Shaye and I could collaborate. Basically I suggested we should aim to create provocative and compelling elements that "connect the dots" in simple, irreverent and engaging ways, and which could fit between two commercials on Free Speech TV. We'll see...
Anyway, about 25 people assembled at the Courthouse to witness Shaye's recitation of her Declaration, written on hemp parchment (Shaye: "hemp hemp hooray!"). This Declaration repurposes language from the original from 1776 and adds in contemporary "facts to be submitted to a candid world." Noting that our "repeated Petitions have been answered only be repeated injury," Shaye's Declaration concludes that the County of Humboldt, and all who choose to join us, "of Right ought to be a Free and Independent Nation; that we are Absolved from all Allegiance to the United States of America."
Upon completion of the reading, Shaye donned a gas mask and torched a flag comprised not of the stars and stripes but the corporate logos of America's oppressors. This drew horn honks and vitriol from one motorist unable to distinguish what was burning. If he had his way we "Communists" would "go back to Russia." Ah, the sweet stench of enlightenment. Basking in the intangible bliss of our new sovereignty, Shaye led us up the block to the Federal Courthouse where a souvenir copy of the Declaration was duct-taped to the glass door. That was the little-known loophole that made it official.
That's right-- it was official. I posted my declaration right where the Feds could clearly read it. Oh how I love Duct tape (100% made in the U.S.A. of course).
I bet whoever came across it first didn't even read it. They probably had no idea that it was printed on Handmade Hemp parchment paper. Nor were they aware of the late nights after work that I stayed up by candle light just like Jefferson to pen this new evolutionary document. Well, monitor light actually, but what would we do without our computers anyway?
One more thing to mention. I do like to refer to my self as an evolutionary. You see, I don't believe in revolutions.
Let me elaborate....
First of all, they connotate violence and I am a pacifist through and through. We have had numerous uprisings in the history of civilization-- each of which has been termed by historians as "revolution." But where has that left us? Continually using violence as a means to an end.
I have faith in the evolution of the human soul, not revolution of our social structures. For all I care, they could all come crashing down. No more nations, boundries, borders or races: just all of us living as a happy peaceful human family on our spaceship earth.
Gandhi said it best with "Be the change that you wish to see others." If every human being on the planet made a concious decision to strive for peace and harmony, we wouldn't need revolution. WE WOULD EVOLVE INTO HIGHER BEINGS-- we would become true luminaries.
Symantics are a big deal to me and by putting the term evolutionary out there instead of revolution, I think it will bring about a broader discussion of how to truly attain peace. Begin in your own heart and choose it.