It’s the Collapse of America, El Norte, as We Know It … and They Feel Fine!

One of the best things in life is feeling like you are accomplishing something bigger, more enlightening and grander in the scheme of all busted-usury based interchanges with fellow humans and all the other species and geomorphic things that make this planet, a, pretty darn unique, and, b, the water planet. Hmm, wonder why Lovelock developed that single bio-organism theory, Gaia Theory?

Nothing big, hanging out at Terrain, Saturday, Oct. 5, in Spokane …. Except, after leaving Spokane Summer of 2011, I still run into people I know, I have taught, I have agitated against and agitated, for their own damned good, when I return, even for quick 24 hour visits. It was just an hour or two at some small town event called Terrain, where under 35 year old artists get to showcase every sort of art in a warehouse with live bands, live performance, street food and theater.   It’s been going on since 2006, and kudos to the organizers. Bad tidings to the city, the business community and the powers that be who can’t allow-make-facilitate this into a monthly event, instead of once a year.

Four came up to me, calling out, “Hey, Mister Haeder, hey, I just wanted to stop you and say, thanks. You were the best teacher I had in college, and, man, the world needs more people like you.” I am paraphrasing what three others said, but the quote is direct from one of them.

Hey, it’s not sentimentality I quote that for, really. I quote that because, a, I am an agitator, and, b, I do not fit the bottom line or the mid-brow line or the academic pomposity of the current vanguard and powers that be who run higher education. I believe in hard work, revolutionary and highly liberal forces in teaching and teachable moments, and I believe that soon enough, young Bob and young Bertha will end up in “the system,” as cogs in the machine, or as part of the great masses working for a corporation in the master-slave relationship we should have never-ever accepted. Maybe a little rattlin’ of the cage will produce future agitators. Outside the box thinkers. Downright angry folk not willing to listen to the corporate-military party-line. College is or could be so much more, and that includes taking on this credo quickly: Forget that anyone told you this had to be job preparation 101. Forget that. And stay the course, quit ditching class, and do the work, because, a, it’s already watered down enough, and, b, teachers are precarious and more vulnerable as ever and therefor limit what they should do, and, c, the on-line dystopia of instruction and human intercourse is about to come to a state college, university and community college near you.

So when people approach me with kudos, I of course take everything with a grain of salt, and I know that reaching people is as valuable as gallium, and that really, that’s all we have — collective narratives, collective histories, what historians writing about say, Hanford’s downwinders, call a community linked by hazards. By naming themselves as “downwinders,” they have contributed to the discursive constitution of those hazards. And, then, this downwinder community “is simultaneously a product of nuclear materialities, a rhetorical agent in those materialities, and a product of self-organization through rhetorical action” ((Taylor, Kinhsella, Depoe, Metzler, 2007, Nuclear Legacies: Communication, Controversy, and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex.))

For me, those students in my life — by the thousands — are part of that rhetorical community of shared interest around the value of good, bright and in-your-face education. When one comes out of the woodwork, say, 10 years after attending  one of my classes, then I can look at my face in the mirror in the morning and say all is not lost in my life of precarity and disenfranchisement, poverty and triangulation.

The same holds true of those people who communicate with me through the pipeline of digital discourse, in this case, through my articles and through my work at places like this, Dissident Voice.  It goes without saying, one good deed deserves another.

So we already ran a great piece by Gregory Vickrey, “The Commodification of Tim DeChristopher,” here at DV.

Now, a new one, titled:

The Sprawling Dictates of a Maniac Gone Sane: Debt Revolution

By Gregory Vickrey

Who would have thought that the United States government could be lead grassroots organizer in a campaign for sanity and economic collapse? While thousands of us dream of having the guts to pull up to the White House in a standard automobile or the rites of self-immolation in order to start the breakdown for rise-up, John Boehner may be the bold actor we seek for temporary guidance over the most-appropriate precipice of all: “saving the planet.”

Imagine, if you will, reality. Ecological collapse remains imminent without economic collapse; Sarah Palin controlled a relevant climate-political agenda 8 long years ago; Ke$ha sings a song more prescient than any message; and so many us think concepts of inception that will put us in control, rather than in jail.

That is reality.

“Saving the planet” is in quotes because it is the white man’s burden to take an approach of superiority regardless of circumstance and because it consults this writer’s ego so things make sense.

That is also reality.

And yet here we are, with science and reason on our side, without the foresight as a collective to recognize the gift Boehner and the rest of the United States Congress could bestow upon the planet, and our assumed crusade to do well by Mother Earth.

October 17. Google it.

The most aggressive climate scientists and the most asinine energy whores agree that we are in a world of hurt, facing calamity in number of 11 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius), in feedback loops unbeknownst to humankind, and in rhyme with death knells of up to 200 species a day and acidification of the foundations of all we eat.


No one is grasping it.

As a “revolutionary” and/or “activist” you’ve probably received countless emails begging you to give to and write for and spread the message of your favorite big environmental or civil justice organization during these harrowing times. No doubt you felt compelled to contribute. To do something. To be “part of the solution.” But did you receive word from the desperate mom in the black sedan? Do you know why our brother placed flame to his own heart? Have you discussed over your favorite lager the plight of the plankton? Are you mesmerized or appalled by these ramblings?

These are real questions.

And it disgusts and intrigues me to consider that Boehner and friends are part of the beginnings of a possible answer.

No organization will tell you that. Friends will suggest you are maniacal. Your own “revolutionary” conscience will bend in fear at the thought.

Yet with consideration and science and the boldness within, we know: October 17 could be a day of celebration. A chance. A convoluted, distorted, disseminating way to return to our Mother, and return to ourselves.

A step towards accepting reality.

From Shutdown to Debt Showdown, we must embrace this time and our place to embark by taking a measurable step towards the appropriate collapse of all we know. October 17. Otherwise, the one Mother Nature delivers will defy all of our terms for what is reasonable, and there will be neither place nor time to rue the day we didn’t say, “Go Boehner.”

Gregory Vickrey is a consultant in the environmental and political arenas and may be reached at: moc.yerkcivyrogergnull@yrogerg.

Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.