By: Josh Cameron | Our Voice Contributor
“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crack-pot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.” – Thomas J. Watson
As a young boy, I was taught that my voice didn’t matter. I had a step-father that would closed-fist punch us and even one day beat my brother so bad his entire leg was black. Not blue. Not red. Black! I was forged in a fire that told me “no one cares what you think”.
I struggled in school. I had a hard time speaking out. I wet the bed until I was about 8. Why was that? Probably because even when I closed my eyes, I was surrounded by endless nightmares. When I awoke, the monster of my dreams was there, just waiting to pounce should I disregard the lesson I was being taught: “no one cares what you think”. A lesson driven home with fists.
I found solace in metal music. I found solace in counter culture. I was raised secular, so at home I’d get punched in the face, at school I’d get screamed at, every single day of my High School at Viewmont High, in Bountiful, Utah. These were people who said they were saved by and believed in not just the gospels of Christ, but the Book of Mormon. These people who claimed spiritual superiority, treated me as William Wallace was treated when perp walked through the streets of England at the end of Braveheart, the movie.
Where he got rocks thrown at him, I had bottles thrown at me. Where he got screamed at for challenging English rule, I got screamed at for not cow towing to the prevailing narrative, that to be a Utahn is to be Mormon, and not to be Mormon is to be met with extreme hostility. I was told that my only solace, music, metal in particular, is what is making me a counter culture kid and creates problems. I was gaslighted by my caretaker/s who instead of admitting fault, blamed it on me. I had my music stolen from me by those same caretakers who refused self-introspection and blamed everything on me, the kid.
You see, I have fought gaslighting and propaganda my whole life. I have stood up to screams, tormentors, terrorist like abusers, objects thrown at me and later, war. I was a broken thing, mad at the world at how it alienated me then blamed me for it. Eventually joined the Army as a means to solve “what do I do when I grow up”.
It wasn’t until years after the Army that I realized I don’t have a problem with authority. I have a problem with authoritarianism. I see now, we are in an age where we are told not to believe our lying eyes. In this year of 2020, there is a massive corona virus scare, justified or not. We are told by our dictatorial regime leader that scientists who have dedicated decades of their lives to studying diseases, don’t know as much as a guy who can’t sell Vodka or Steaks and bankrupted a casino. That a carnival barker is somehow more empowered to deign the truth of a situation over those who review and study objective evidence.
In 2017, Democrats were sued over their collusion, not with Russia, but with Hillary Clinton, where somehow before the primary even started, she had hundreds of delegates. We saw, during the #meToo movement, Hillary parading Bill Clinton around, someone who rode on Lolita express as many as 26 times to pedophile island with Jeffrey Epstein (who didn’t kill himself). We see Hillary, Oprah even, and really any major Democratic party leader schmoozing up to Harvey Weinstein, actively dismissing the exploited women under his reign of terror. These very people present them as our saviors, while telling us not to believe our lying eyes.
So, in light of all of this, what did I do?
I became a Utah Democratic party delegate. What did this allow me to do? I was able to vote in several special elections, even outside the convention process. You see our Salt Lake County Sheriff left office, requiring a party vote to install a new one. Roughly 500 people showed up. Salt Lake County has about 1.1 million people in it. I voted in another special election for SLCo Mayor, and SLCo Council.
Why is this important?
Because this kid, who from day one was told he didn’t matter, fought through the gaslighting and propaganda. He fought through the naysayers claiming they know better. Each of these special elections, my voice became that of 2200. While not earth shattering, being dismissed to having the voice of thousands represented at the end of my pen, as I fill in my ballot, is powerful. And this, folks, is how change is made. Not from Bernie Sanders saving us from the boogieman Donald Trump, but from us rising up, demanding to be heard, and fighting through the gaslighting noise of party bosses whose only interest is fundraising. It comes from wresting control from corporate influence that outsources jobs, to enabling the will of the people.
Only we can save ourselves.
Only we care enough to. Too many people have been disenfranchised and disillusioned of the power of voting. They see a new poll tax here in the year 2020, and it is hours long waits. Reports out to Texas showed 5.5-8 hours long waits. People cry out that the youth aren’t turning out. Michigan had reports of several hours long waits as well.
Have you ever raised a young child? Do you know what that does to your sleep? You get it robbed from you. Do you think that young people, who are struggling to get by day to day, who are a $500 emergency away from bankruptcy, who are exhausted from lack of sleep, are enabled to vote if they need to wait in a line for several hours? Who’s watching their kid? If the answer is to get someone else to watch their child, who’s paying the babysitter?
I see time and again Democrats crying out that Republicans are guilty of voter suppression while turning a blind eye to our modern-day poll tax. Intellectual integrity is the most important thing we can hold on to. Intellectual integrity with an intellectual curiosity is what saw me through the gaslighting into someone who has their hands on levers of power.
Do you want real change?
It will require more than voting because the party doesn’t want change. They’ll disenfranchise you by making you wait in a line so long it breaks your spirit. The party wants money for their corporate coffers.
If we don’t save ourselves, who else will? Do we really want it to get so bad that the only answer is anarchy in the streets? While fun to imagine, the people who get hurt the most acutely are the working-class business owners and shop keepers who livelihoods get destroyed in riots. So, I call you all to riot all the way to becoming a delegate, a school board member, a city council member/mayor up to county, state and national legislature. There is no elected office too small to swell with people interested in representation over influence of corporations.
If we do what we’ve always done, let those who gaslight us to control the narrative, how do we ever expect things to change for the better? The time to act is now. The people who tell you that its impossible, are gaslighting you. The people who demand they know better, are propagandizing you. Don’t listen.
Stand up, and be counted at all costs!