New Year Revolutions

12/31/2007 05:19 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

This is another year which we are closing out with regret, not
relief; with sadness, not joy.

Because a war that should have ended years ago -- a war that should
never have begun -- is still raging.

Because a freshly-elected Congress that held out the promise for
progressive change is failing us -- dodging and faltering.

Because a sub-prime lending scandal that rocked the stock market and
shook the banking world is hitting hundreds of thousands of new homeowners
-- who, like the lenders, were overly greedy or overly naive.

And because pre-election campaigning got into swing before you could
say May Day, whipping up an artificial frenzy of urgency and relevance.
By the time Election Day 2008 rolls around, we will all be thoroughly fed
up or hopelessly confused. Or both.

Certainly, there have been other bad years in our recent hstory --
there was the year of 9/11, and the year of Katrina -- but those were
crises that were beyond our calculation or control. What has been
happening this past year is deliberate and domestic; we cannot blame
whimsical Mother Nature or wicked foreign terrorists.

And so we sit back and kvetch.

In Europe, students and workers demonstrate when they are deeply
unhappy with social conditions or angry with the government. They take to
the streets, they encircle factories and schools, they even halt public
transportation. The government sits up and takes notice, reconsiders,
negotiates, or backs down completely.

In America, popular mass protests are rare. The days of the civil
rights movement and the Vietnam War are over. We have become complacent,
apathetic or fatalistic. The response to dishonesty and deceit is a
shrug, or some snide jokes on a late night talk show. At most, we will
click on our computer and add our name to a petition. Or write a blog.
"You can't fight City Hall" seems to be the watchword of the day. And by
extension, you certainly can't challenge the White House.

What awaits us in the year ahead? The crystal ball is very murky.
If skyrocketing gas prices, soaring medical fees, and domino bankruptcies
don't move us, what will? If a sinking dollar, an erratic stock market,
an endless war, and a spiraling national debt don't wake us up, we're as
good as brain-dead.

I think the New Year resolution we have to make is stark and simple:
it's not a Resolution, it's Revolution. A revolt, an uprising, an
insurrection, a mutiny, as our founding fathers knew how to do. A revolt
against tyranny and oppression, a crusade against subterfuge and lies.
Yes, even a process of impeachment.

You may call it a holy war. Because the fact is, you'll never get to
heaven unless you raise a little hell.