Ed.’s note: The following was delivered at the “Inaguration Subversion” event held at STORIES Books and Café in LA on January 20, 2009. In order to maintain its essence, we have decided to leave its initial punctuation intact.
I wanted Barack Obama to be inaugurated today as much as anyone. I spent two months going door to door for him in New Orleans where this trailer park chick with a baby in her arms and a cig in her hand told me: “I’m a Christian, I ain’t gonna vote for no goddamned Muslim” then invited me into her double wide for a beer. I campaigned for Obama in the wealthy Bucks County suburbs of Philadelphia where a rich white woman got off her cell phone long enough to tell me: “I believe Neither that he has enough experience, Nor do I feel that I can trust him” before slamming a door in my face. I believe that thought without action means little, so volunteered in the hopes that an Obama presidency will mean something more to the lower classes than CNN videos of him playing basketball on the new White House courts…That said, I believe that the problems in this country are SYSTEMIC and that The Man in the suit usually buys a new car with the profit he makes on my dreams…Yes, Obama was inaugurated, this is definitely good news—but no matter how this thing shakes out: we will still not be invited to the club. Rich Folks will still be eating dinner in their fancy dining cars, probably drinking coffee, and smoking big cigars…Corporations will still CONTROL, sanitize and homogenize our culture, families will still be ripped apart by the Drug War, poor people will still be executed, London Will Still Be Calling, John Roberts will still be chief justice, there will still be socioeconomic inequity straight outta 1932, our democracy will still be for sale with access limited to only the very wealthy, you will still be born to lose, and gambling’s for fools and THAT’S THE WAY I LIKE IT BABY I DON’T WANT TO LIVE FOREVER, there will still be privatization of public property as a means to gouge the first amendment, and don’t forget the JOKER! the US will still be world’s biggest arms dealer selling death to all sides all the time, Darrow will still be completely wasting, out of work and down, workers will still be used up and exploited, Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner will still get his head blown off by that son of a bitch Van Owen, telecommunications companies will still be granted immunity from spying on me and you, there will still be BEYOND EXCESSIVE entanglement of religion, the Feds will still use the 4th amendment to pick up dogshit on the White House lawn, I still could have been someone—but so COULD ANYONE, YOU TOOK MY DREAMS FROM ME—more than quarter of our children will still be born into poverty, we will still be at war, recruiters standing on Newark street corners, Generals Gathered in their Masses…Just Like Witches At Black Masses, EVIL MINDS THAT PLOT DESTRUCTION…needless to say pretentious cultural douchebags will continue to remain pretentious cultural douchebags, life will still be stupid and contagious here we go now, entertain us and if that’s not bad enough so that its even a longer way to the top if you want to rock and roll—that 700 billion dollar Wall Street bail out rip off—that our innocent new president advocated for –has rendered campaign promises and inauguration day speeches even more meaningless than usual so that the whole stinking song that’s made you want to curl up and die these last 8 years will 92.25 percent continue to remain the same—except for one thing:
It won’t be cool to be pissed off about it. Barack Obama is in the White House –Anger is no longer necessary. Dissent, resistance and protest will be poo poohed. Whatever little righteous angst and edge surfaced through these last few years, whatever belief there was that thought should be put into action, whatever poon, or dick, that you got playing lefty writer at the bar and telling stories about how you got arrested while protesting the war at Rockefeller Center—will be lost in a well-adjusted haze of chardonnay and Wellbutrin. Ripping into Bush and knowing who Naomi Klein is will no longer get you laid. I know, friends, it sucks—we all read Chomsky for nothing. The sexy aspects of creeping fascism will be gone, while the lame aspects of creeping fascism will endure. We are entering one of those twilight zone dinner parties where everyone’s is toasting like its 1955 while right underneath the table is a 700-pound psychotic alien gorilla with a 35-inch cock that’s gonna jump out any second and like a tattooed love boy show you what that hole is for…
I’ve lived through California Uber Alles. I have seen the suede denim secret police come for your uncool niece. I was in San Francisco during the Clinton years. I did a lot of good drugs (no shit), ate in a lot of fusion asian restaurants, fucked around the art world with near impunity, dressed up in flannels and boots like a good little Kerouac wannabe—they were good times and I’m happy to recreate. But I’m honest enough to know that it was total bullshit. The economy was good, but America was still strapping it on and reaming out the planet. We were partying, dancing on the world grave, that’s all. The rest of the earth was burning down around us while were watching Repo Man on Thursday Afternoons and arguing about the comparative—Plate of Shrimp!—strength of Humboldt County Weed vs. The Hammerlock Shit Coming out of Aspen Colorado at the time. And of course the fact that the Mayans invented television. My big social justice idea of 1996 was that if we built a compost pile in my friend’s backyard – then not only would we be saving the environment, brother, but that we could grow shrooms in it as well so that it would be like killing two birds with one stone. I went to an 80 thousand dollar wedding where we all gorged and puked on more food than most of the world sees in a month—and the Feel-Good Liberal Buzz at the open bar reception was that the wedding invitations were printed out on acid, free recycled paper…It was a joke. A White liberal’s wet dream where being a revolutionary was knowing what cool stickers to put on your laptop. Fuck Bill Ayers and the weather underground—I worked part time at an internet start up in Oakland where the way to make a badass statement was to walk around the office without any shoes on and whisper to everyone that you were downloading Alanis Morrisette songs on Napster. Ooohhh…Now, that’s the kind of kickass radical shit that gets you laid when we’ve got a Democrat in the white house.
Now, to be trippingly clear beyond all doubt and question – I am in no way whatsoever wistful or wanting to hang on to the George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, Rick McDaniels, Abu Ghraib, torture, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, Halliburton, Blackwater pigs, procedural and substantive due process violations, Defense Secretary Robert Gates (oh…..wait), alleged mismanagement that was really an intentional “go fuck yourself poor people,” secret prisons, water boarding, evangelical dildometrics, denial of science, denial of global warming, lack of transparency, Laura Bush book festival, Guantanamo Bay, expansion of the executive branch, expansion of my ass, that dumb bitch from Liberty Law school who only hired Christians for the Justice Department, Alberto Gonzalez, Lionel Richie, suspension of habeas corpus, propaganda enough to give Joseph Goebbels a boner, constant lying and manipulation of the media, weapons of mass destruction, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Katrina, and one more time, Hurricane Katrina and the abandonment of 99.01 percent of us for the top .01 percent of those rich fucks in gated communities engaged in a necrophiliac raping of what’s left of our revolutionary founding and ideals...I am not for that, okay? You don’t have to worry about The Jayster when it comes to appreciating that this is a major improvement over what we just had…After I’m done with this reading, I’m gonna go find a Republican TGIFRiday’s in Orange County, stand up on the bar with a jalapeno popper in my hand, and tell all those close minded clowns and let’s face it, racist fuckers, that they should just relocate to Houston and get a job at Tom Delay’s bug company or as a fluffer in one of those brainwash megachurches….and then after that, I’m gonna shoot over to a Eurotrash cocktail lounge in West Hollywood—yeah, I said it—and shit-talk till the cows come home…because if you think that France, Spain or Germany could ever elect and inaugurate a French, Spanish or German citizen OF Arab, African, or Turkish descent – then you’ve never been to a soccer game in Europe.
Truth is…I’ve got to stop being so pissed off and get it together anyway. It’s time for me to be a yuppie lawyer, go to dinner parties, blow smoke up each other’s asses and make smart conversation about how ice cream will continue to remain delicious, have the sexual tension between the couples be More than enough to satisfy me, sneak outside to smoke a cig and feel like a rebel—it’ll be freeing to finally come out of the closet about how much I really do like spending my Saturday mornings at Williams-Sonoma and Bed, Bath and Beyond…We’ll all walk hand–in–hand in Obamaland. Witty, ironic, focused on our careers, frolicking on gentrified street corners, buying each other gift certificates to Urban Outfitters, waving to each other at Trader Joes, eating organic beans, farting, blaming it on the Chinese and putting money in socially conscious stocks because Capitalism gets cute and furry again when liberals are back in charge and either way, you gotta grow up sometime……
But I tell ya, brothers and sisters...that punk rock part of me, that good and Suicidal part of me that went to your schools, your churches, your institutional learning facilities that Subhuman part that wonders who’s gonna fight the system you me or fucking no one, and my forever Adolescent soul that asks when I reach my final day and time, will I be able to leave my life behind and if the resentments too much for me will I ever rest in peace and my Horrible Horrible Bad Brains that have come to now with now dismay that in this world we all must pay, pay to write, pay to play, pay to cum and pay to fight—will always believe that George W Bush did nothing but reveal the true and permanent workings of the American Empire. That the evil shit we’ve seen for the last eight years is the same evil shit that goes down all the time, but that Bush was just too dumb and cocky to think that he had to hide any of it. That Our Great Icon Kennedy was the one who really jacked us into us into the bullshit hell of Vietnam, that everybody’s favorite guy Bill Clinton deregulated the financial sector as much as any Republican ever did and that the peace loving peanut farmer from Georgia is more to blame than anyone for escalating our military presence in the Middle East to protect our oil interests and that as long as it takes unspeakable, insane amounts of money from massive multi national corporations who profit from the world being the systemically fucked up place that it is to even consider running for president – then just like Alanis I am HERE, TO REMIND YOU, OF THE MESS YOU LEFT WHEN YOU WENT AWAY…Yes, I will throw it down! While again, this is certainly a new and improved way to start 2009, the inauguration of Obama is nothing but holding hands on the beach while the great buttfucking ocean of truth lay before us. It’s not about abortion, a tax cut for the middle class, ethanol subsidies, triple dividend dooodly doos and reduction in earmarks whatever the fuck they are, it’s about deprogramming this twisted shit out of our heads that makes us sell out to the first trick that comes along with enough money in his pocket while handing over our power to the strongest pimp who promises that he’ll protect us, it’s not about having some great leader who will bring change for our society and culture, but about deprogramming ourselves of this creeping conservative morality that has us all checking our passions at the door while living in some kind of schizoid look but don’t touch version of Victorian England, and it sure as hell ain’t about Using Obama As An Excuse to Pat Yourself On The Back—feeling like an heroic mix of Che Guevara and John Brown—because you took off lunch to go pull the lever for a black guy instead of running over to check out the sale over at Baby Gap at The Grove…..
No no, it’s not any of that all…but simply this:
That if what we want is a vital, truthful, and yes beautiful society, then we’re gonna have to do more than turn on the TV and watch Great and Famous Men give speeches about it.
JASON FLORES-WILLIAMS is a lawyer in New Mexico.