Gangsters look like you and me. They put their over-priced, ripped jean pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us. And sometimes, their biggest act of aggression is making us believe that they don’t exist. Or worse, that we are the aggressors! I mean, really, isn’t that what the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is all about? Staring into the faces of the gangsters and telling them to kiss our abused, marginalized, oppressed asses? Yes, power to the people! The people have a right to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The people have a right to stomp into on-coming, already congested traffic, protesting the state of the U.S. economy, while endangering the lives of unsuspecting, innocent motorists, who might very well otherwise be confused for law abiding citizens. Yes, by golly, it’s the American way. We have a right to bear arms, fuck up traffic patterns and “EAT THE RICH!”
This is why I love America. Unabashedly, undeniably, unashamed and un whatever else terrorists want to scare us out of being. Every time I want to protest corporate greed, I look deeply into the eyes of a neighboring fellow American, longing to tell them that we should go sleep out in a park where homeless people live. This is protest. And since he, she, this person, is also an American, I KNOW they are trying to get their march on like it’s (August 28) 1963. And now, it’s confirmed. If I were to ask someone to go half on a march with me, he/she/this person would be down like Victor Ortiz after a Mayweather kiss.
No, really. This is why I love Americans. Because just when you think you can’t boycott an idea, the ‘real’ Americans break out their collective cape and do the impossible. They achieve what terrorists, extremists, jihadis, and insurgents couldn’t; they make us take a look around and ask ourselves, why do we think of ourselves as a ‘we’? And, is that thought rational?
Mind blowingly powerful, right? Downright gangster, no?
All jokes aside. My real answer to the rational question is no. Hell no! In all seriousness, how do you protest the idea of economic depression? Further, how do you protest the idea of economic depression by paying good American green backs to fly in from New Orleans to sleep in a park in Manhattan? How can this possibly be the back bone of a protest against greed, poverty and economic disparity? It doesn’t make sense. It completely solidifies my notion that the days of the effective American political protest are dead. It also completely solidifies my notion that it’s really Americans, every day Americans, people like you and me, two leg having, blue jean wearing Americans that are the true gangsters. Yes. We, us, you and me, we inadvertently destroy everything that’s sacred to us, down to the fabric of our morality, in a desperate attempt to fight an enemy that very much looks like our own reflection.
“I don’t know how much I believe in redemptive stories, even though people want them and strive for them. They’re satisfied with stories of triumph over evil, but then triumph is a dead end. Triumph never sits still. Life goes on. People forget and make mistakes. Heroes are not completely pure, and villains aren’t purely evil. I’m interested in the continuity of conflict, the creation of racist narratives, or nationalist narratives, or whatever narratives people use to construct a group identity and to keep themselves whole—such activity has a darker side to it, since it allows people to lash out at whoever’s not in the group. That’s a contact thread that flummoxes me.”
These are words from a great American gangster. Yes, so gangster, that I stood in her house many a time and she never once hinted that she was the great Kara Walker herself. (But, that’s a story for another time…) This is the story of the American gangster moderne.
We are our own best friends. We are our own worst enemies. Our right hands are kept downtrodden because our left, affectionately known as ‘greedy as all hell’, keeps using our maxed out credit card to pay our cable bill so we can keep watching Kim Kardashian and Evelyn Lozada go from hoes to desperate housewives.
Seven hundred arrested, privileged protesters with too much free time and no point surely take a fire hose and attack dogs to 30 Americans; gangsters, who are actually using their good sense to redefine, question, and confront the disparities of existence within the 50 states. So, there.
I would like to take the time to proverbially spit on the feet of people who want to defy government spending, by forcing New York City taxpayers to pay the NYPD over time to make unnecessary arrests. If, this weekend, one cop couldn’t make it to help a battered woman or to prevent a kidnapping, I won’t blame the cop. I won’t blame ‘the system.’ I’ll blame the brats who didn’t understand that corporate greed doesn’t have a Governor and that if their gripe is political, they should march their disgruntled arses right into their Senators’ and Congresspersons’ offices to give those constituency having gangsters a piece of their protest loving minds.
This is America people. Nobody owes you anything. This is a capitalist society. You have more than someone. You have less than someone else. Be real gangster, and directly redistribute the wealth by taking what you have and giving it to someone else. Don’t wait for a non-profit to do it. Don’t wait for tax reform. Don’t wait for social security to kick in. That addict that you walk past every day is also poor and he, she, this person was not born to beg outside of McDonald’s any more than you were.
There is no idyllic, innocent, we. Not even when you block traffic to defend the idea of an oppressed us that doesn’t really exist. Everybody is a victim and everybody is a perpetrator. Quit whining. Be gangster enough to look yourself in the mirror and tell your ego to move it’s high maintenance, obese ass out of the way, so you can actually see yourself for who you are. My fellow Americans, three things are true. There is no ‘we’ in empire. All empires fall. And, the United States of America is a card toting member of the empire club. So, what does that mean for us?
US is the G-Unit. So, you, my fellow American, are a gangster. Get prepared. Us all know that gangsters die young. No amount of Vitamin Water will wash away the reality that in the eyes of someone else – who lay outside of whatever ‘we’ you are part of today – you, my misguided compatriot, will get rich or die trying.