On this day, July 14, 1789, the Bastille, a French prison on the east side of Paris, was attacked by an angry mob, fed up with the dictatorial rule of the French monarchy and King Louis XVI. It is considered to be a turning point in the French Revolution, and the overthrow of King Louis and his lot. He was beheaded by the time the gunpowder smoke cleared. The peasants prevailed. Viva la France! There, now you know the story of Bastille Day.
You might wonder, is there a an American version of the Bastille? And if so, should an angry mob attack it? Clean house. Well, maybe no beheadings but, you know, change America for the better of we the people.
For many Americans, it has been 20 months of angst and anger, cringing and cursing the current “powers that be”. That would be the present occupant of the White House and virtually all of congress, and much of our Supreme Court. There are millions of Americans, however, who are happy with the turn of events, starting with the outcome of the November 8th, 2016 election of a new President. For those of us not happy at all about that election’s outcome, it has been a daily existence in some ultra demented, ever more dysfunctional dystopia akin to the longest ever episode of the Twilight Zone. But with no means to simply change channels. The disapproving and disappointed of us may try to turn our heads, cover our ears, possibly simply refuse to accept reality, but it’s hard to rid ourselves of a deepening sense of dread and despair. Why? Because, as grotesque and dangerous as our current “leader of the free world” truly has revealed himself to be, there seems to be not one chance in hell of getting rid of this ersatz Louis XVI anytime soon. In fact, this despicable human being has many supporters–but I’m not referring to those that shockingly voted for him. I’m referring to an enabling congress, an irresponsible corporate media, and that Supreme Court.
Our crypto-quasi-neo fascist Louis XLI didn’t even get the most votes in that election. He fell short by 3,000,000, in fact. Somehow, our election system can declare the winner of the popular vote the loser. Our system, as of this July 14th, is also able to ignore now documented election tampering by a foreign government that certainly helped him “win” in spite of losing. Our current system allows for the blatant denial of our former President’s Constitutional right and requirement (as noted in Article Two of that document) to nominate Justices to the highest court in the land. Our current system allows for blatant, documented, voter suppression. Our current system allows the current administration to separate children from their parents. Oh, and the system allows for corporations to be considered “people” and that money is equal to free speech.
So, if one is either very wealthy, or mentally deranged in the case of supporting this System by seeming okay with it even exploiting them, all is well in the land of up is down, bad is good, wrong is right, losing is winning.
For those of us stuck in the Twilight Zone produced by this system, it would seem that we need to storm our Bastille. No, I’m not endorsing armed insurrection. Our Bastille is the voting booth. And we dissenters have to show up in huge numbers, an angry mob saying enough is enough! This November 6th, virtually two years from the start of our dystopia, we can get rid of at least some of Louis’ congressional supporters, and then demand a system that can make wrong right, down up, bad good, from the White House to local precincts. If that doesn’t happen starting this November, then I would say…well, that we will again get the government we deserve.
Here is a reason for hope: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. If you don’t know who she is, research that name. She is proof that this sickening dysfunctional system can be changed. It’s up to the electorate to bring this Twilight Zone episode to a end.
At least there’s that possibility.
In the meantime, happy Bastille Day, 2018.