Enough has been written and said about the various groups demonstrating against the government or the banks: either pro or contra, either serious or humorous, either informed or ignorant.
Watching recent footage of the police attacking peaceful demonstrators, I could not help but recall similar images from the Vietnam era. There is one documentary about a university in the mid West, at which the authorities were particularly pigheaded and brutal. For the police, the demonstrators were more hated than many soldiers “hated” the Viet Cong. Students were brutally beaten for expressing an opinion about deceitful and now proven wrong policies of “their” government.
Right or wrong, the police always overreact and attack. For some reason, holding all the weapons does not alleviate their fear of someone armed only with a different opinion.
I cannot imagine becoming a revolutionary. I have never been a dissident. Although I attended a very liberal college during the period of dissent against an unpopular war, I never joined in. I have a lot of patience and a long fuse. Things must be desperate before I jump on any bandwagon. Being an introvert, I would never join a crowd: I would dislike most of the people.
Instead, I observe. I notice what’s going on and am selectively empathetic. I study the issues on both sides and check out a bit of history. I compare, evaluate, and judge, but remain on the sidelines or in the background.
My criticisms are aimed at improving the situation. On a large canvas, such as antiwar dissent, my tiny brush (a mote of dust in a stadium) makes no impact; in a smaller setting, I might get some attention. I got in trouble in the Army for pointing out inefficiencies and stupid practices. Big organizations do not like to change, especially based on impulses from below. When working for large corporations, I occasionally found ways to carefully exert influence on foolish practices or waste.
Returning to the subject of revolutions, I read an interesting article in Vanity Fair about the recent uprising in Egypt. It rose like a tsunami, but the waters have returned to their previous calm. Forces have dissipated, because the powers-that-be have been able to take advantage of inertia and lack of leadership. Masses tend to be like sheep or lemmings, whether in third world countries or modern democracies. The better off people believe they are, the lower the voter count. Even with the power to vote for leaders, too many act against their own best interest, fooled into believing lies and fearing all the wrong things.
In the article by Christopher Hitchens is a statement about Iran (and revolutions is general)...
“...able to rely on the passivity of a large and fairly pious rural population, itself dependent in turn on state subsidy. Heroism breaks its heart, and idealism its back, on the intransigence of the credulous and the mediocre, manipulated by the cynical and the corrupt.”
...but this statement could apply also to the United States.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.