A bit of explanation is in order: ‘Year zero’ is a science fiction trope denoting the end of the old world and the replacement of the calendar with a new world order (and all that entails) with a new calendar starting from the year Zero. In this instance, I promote the trope to remind you of the idea that while the world may be changing for some of you, for many of us, it has become a world we no longer recognize and no longer feel safe in. In essence: the End is Nigh.
My first words for you in the coming year, are ultimately from Captain America (and by proxy, the venerable American writer, Mark Twain.)
Not because I couldn’t write something as inspiring, but because this was so goddamn awesome, in light of the coming presidency, I figured the words of Captain America and Mark Twain would be sure to spark that revolutionary spirit in a way few things could.
Steve Rogers as Captain America recounts to Spider-man, how he continues when the world seems like its too much to handle…
“I was just a kid…A million years ago, it seems sometimes. Maybe twelve. I was reading Mark Twain.
And he wrote something that struck me right down to my core…something so powerful, so true, that it changed my life. I memorized it so I could repeat it to myself, over and over across the years.
‘In a republic, who is the country?
Is it the government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the government is merely a temporary servant: it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. It’s function is to obey orders, not originate them.
Who, then is the country? Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it, they have not command, they have only their little share in the command.
In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country: In a republic it is the common voice of the people each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak.
It is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catchphrases of politicians.
Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man.
To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.
If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have your duty by yourself and by your country. Hold up your head. You have nothing to be ashamed of’.
Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world–
–No you move.”
From: Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #537
My Last Words of 2016:
Make no mistake, there are dark days ahead. If you are minority, if you are a person of color, a person of religious conviction outside of the avowed Christianity of the nation, a person who has taken it upon themselves to love whom they will, no matter what others may think, to be a person of conviction, of integrity, and expecting the same from their fellows, then you are in danger.
This world is becoming one without integrity, without moral fiber, without an understanding of the value of truth, (technically, they understand it, they just don’t subscribe to it and find it easier to control you if you can’t discern it) a world based in fear, in exploitation, in murder, in economic shenanigans designed to keep you poor, without opportunity, without choices, while they feast upon your humanity, steal your home, your future, your pensions, your dreams until they have everything and you have nothing.
Don’t bother trying to convince me otherwise. I recognize the nature of Evil. It seeks to advance itself at your expense. This is the nature of evil. It sacrifices nothing of itself. It can only grow at your expense. It thrives while you languish. It lauds itself on being clever while you and yours starve deprived of all the world could offer you but now won’t, because of them.
And they will try to blame you for the evils they do.
In these dark days, I will say to you. Resist. Fight. Realize your future will depend not upon those evils seeking to exploit you but from those people who you ally yourself with. Those people who recognize your worth, and are willing to do what it takes for you BOTH to prosper.
You cannot defeat evil unless you are willing to confront it. In the days ahead, document the creeping evil. It will try to change left into right, up into down, war into peace, love into hate. The one thing the creeping evil hates more than anything is for you to remember yesterday.
They count upon your distraction, your inattention, your difficulties, your stresses, they count on you being too poor in heart and in spirit to fight back. Track the evil back to its lair. Kill it with light. Disperse the shadow, reveal the lies, share the truth. Starve the darkness.
Stave it off until the sun rises again. It will.