Planet Waves | Tell Me Why by Jeanne Treadway





By Jeanne Treadway

I often feel isolated with this caged rage, as if I am the only one who suffers this bottled fury. Thank heavens, thats not true.

Still the searcher must ride the dark horse
Racing alone in his fright.
Tell me why, tell me why
-- Neil Young

I WAS BORN WITH 2,000 COLORS in my paint box and the rule said you could only use 10. So from birth until I recently got really really cranky, everyone felt they had a right to remove some color from my life. Most people focused on taming my outrage and anger, that thing in me that is dyed with the brightest hues and the deepest pigments.

Anger is one of those emotions most people don't want to talk about or see exhibited in any form. It exists in that world of pure, undiluted human emotive expression that includes grief and joy and orgasm and which scares the living bejeez outta most people. These are a few of the rules I've been taught about anger: When I talk about being angry, I AM angry and therefore no one wants to talk to me right then. I'm not supposed to be angry. Anger is bad. Anger is ugly. Anger is intense. Anger burns people up, literally. Anger poisons the body. I need to learn to handle my anger. Good people don't get angry.

Well, I say: Bull pucky. Anger is healthy. Anger is healing. And, good people better damn well get angry. Soon! Like right now. This week. Today.

For the past umpteen months Ive been religiously reading several newspapers, a handful of magazines, and a dozen websites. So much of the stuff I read just plain infuriates me. I collect the truly outrageous articles so I can remember what got my bile going each morning. I get so inflamed skimming through my pile of articles that I can literally make myself sick. I guess my brain translates things differently than is standard, because I don't see revolution taking hold in the streets just yet and my friends hate talking to me about current events.

But, you tell me. Why is it so difficult to understand that if we as a species destroy our beautiful blue planet, we destroy our life? If we piss in our water, that we poison ourselves? If we shit on our food, we have to eat that shit? Why are we amazed that land is exhausted, rivers are toxic, air is poisonous? Why do we shake our heads in sorrow and wonder about the horrendous droughts and cataclysmic weather everywhere? Why are we so surprised that the world faces a health crisis? How come we cannot understand that the way we live our lives affects the rest of the species sharing this globe? And why the hell cant we figure out how damn important those other species are to us?

Why was it so incredibly difficult to grasp that sending our children to Afghanistan is going to be so terribly destructive to the very web of our society and outright, appallingly murderous to those people in that far away tiny, devastated, unutterably poor country? How does insuring that 7.5 million Afghani refugees starve to death serve as an act of honor and acknowledgement for the 5,000 who died in the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon? What is it about our mental makeup that allows whole segments of our population to accept might is right? Is it engraved in a stone tablet somewhere that we have a god-given right to destroy every other culture, every other lifestyle, every conceivable thing that is not us? Why is it that we have not learned the preciousness of life, ours and theirs, from all our previous horrid mistakes?

Why do we casually accept that nuclear war is inevitable? That we have to be armed with planetary death to protect ourselves? From whom? How can we possibly believe that that damn Star Wars thingamabob is sensible, sane, or in any way useful? Do we really imagine in any way that WE will survive such a war? Holy gefelte fish! What is wrong with us? Do we really think we have made progress at halting the proliferation of nuclear war heads by agreeing with Russia to disarm those ancient bombs sweating their lethal poison in silos across America? Does warehousing them outside of Amarillo, Texas really mean that the nuclear age is over and that nuclear sanity is reigning?

Why is it that we opt to have millions of Americans locked in ghettos and barrios and nursing homes, starving, hopeless, eternally wounded so that we can hurl screaming missiles into caves half a world away? Why do we allow corporations to steal every good thing from our lives in the name of free enterprise? Why do we cripple countries that don't kowtow to us? Why do we perpetuate genocide? So that we can live the good life, throwing away more food, more clothes, more everything than the rest of the world has ever seen?

Why would we rather pass legislation outlawing homelessness than find solutions for it? Why do we act as if homelessness doesnt affect us? Why do we pretend that those sleeping in boxes are the cause of their own personal grief?

Why do we pack our kids into hostile, armed camps, force feed them twelve years of lies, pay their babysitters a pittance, and then bemoan the ignorance of each upcoming generation?

Tell me why we allow China to become our world trade partner when the country encourages the murder of tens of thousands of girl children each year? Or how come we ignore the plight of women in Afghanistan or in India or in Africa or in New York City? Why is it okay to glorify monsters? Because we are one too?

And hells bells, the list doesnt begin to stop there. What about the throw-away kids and dogs and cats and old people?What about the galloping, pernicious racism spreading everywhere? Did you read about that survey that found African-Americans are now the third most hated group in the US, after the Arabs and the Muslims. Hey, what progress.

What about the wild things that we ritually slaughter each fall? What about the pollution we send into the atmosphere by the billions of tons daily? What about the ______? You fill in the blank. There are hundreds of topics on which we could rant and rave together.

While I have a head of steam going, I also wanna ask why in the hell do we allow our government to be bought and sold by the likes of gazillionaires touted as economic saints who have no more interest in the health of the nation and the planet than they do about the personal health of me and my mother and my next door neighbor? When did out and out gluttony, greed, bribery, and thieving become okay? Hell, it not just okay. Its celebrated as genius, something to which we all should aspire. Why do we sit by, shrugging our shoulders and muttering "alas, alack. Theres nothing we can do."? Instead of changing this insidious evil, we are actually allowing this greed to expand. In the past fifty years business has been the business of America, but now with the threat of terrorism looming on our horizon, weve decided we must bail out the airlines, the insurance companies, IBM, the corporate farms, etcetera ad nauseum.

Before September 11, the mainstream media simply glossed over all these questions as being of minor importance. Now, every hideous, amoral, ruthless thing our government does is explained as a response to Osama bin Laden and terrorism. Why do we still swallow those lies? How can we allow the likes of Rumsfield and Ashcroft to usurp our rights as American citizens? How can we allow the FBI to create a blacklist of 5,000 people which includes all employees who may have worked at a money transfer company that may have unknowingly and indirectly done business with a suspected terrorist group? Why is it that 90% of Americans believe that George Bush suddenly got smart? That the idiocies of his first nine months in office don't matter? That he has instantly matured into a sane man who can lead this country with honor? That his theft of his office is now insignificant and need never be discussed again? GACK!

And on the other side of the coin are all those new age types who chant that we each choose our reality and that all of these issues don't matter or don't affect them because they choose not to participate in all this negativity. They have personally elected to incarnate as wealthy, white, chic American children of God and by damn they are going to get their just desserts on this plane of existence. To help someone in dire need would be to interfere with her karma and oh, we mustnt do that! That whales and dolphins are dying by the hundreds matters little because those soul groups are choosing to leave this beloved blue planet. That children die everywhere of starvation garners nary a tear from these spoiled, self-centered I choose not to children. However they define it, their attitude is simply one more aspect of the hateful, mean-spirited system we live with. Maybe they are right at some level, though. We do seem to be choosing to continue to accept the poison and hate, the greed and the egomania of a society in crisis.

I often feel isolated with this caged rage, as if I am the only one who suffers this bottled fury. Thank heavens, thats not true. Theres a whole gaggle of us out there. Were like a walking, talking parade of those silly topiary bushes you see in some gardens. Weve been pruned to within an inch of our lives, but they havent cut away that essential part of us yet, that part that knows the truth when we see it and that believes we can somehow, some way, return health to our Earth. That part of us that rants and raves until others start listening and helping us make these changes.

Ye Gods, weve got some mighty serious work in front of us, though. And its going to take more than a handful of rabblerousers to get it done. We gotta keep getting angry. We must expand our voice, not in decibel level but in quantity and quality. We gotta enlist a whole bunch more people in this. And we have got to find a way to get these bastards out of power.

By the way, just when does that hundredth monkey thing start taking effect? Will it be soon enough?

Copyright ©2001 by Jeanne Treadway

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