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Where to Begin in this Age of Climate Destruction?

Issue 254

Reverend Billy Talen Feb 6

Hey there, Rev,

So those dire apocalyptic prophecies of yours are coming to fruition. Australia is on fire. It’s a scary time to live on planet Earth.  Which brings me to my question. I’m sure you get a lot of people asking you, “How do I stick to my New Year’s resolutions?” this time of year. But I’m feeling a bit paralyzed. What I’d like to know is, how do I determine what my resolutions should be? Dieting and exercise don’t seem like enough anymore.

— Burt, Upper West Side

Burt,

This question is one that many of us are asking right now. How can I contribute when the scale of the Evil is so vast. The racist violence and the Earth’s fire and flood and the pernicious infection called the 1 percent paralyzes us. Let’s go straight from “feeling a bit paralyzed” to the CHANGE WE GOTTA SEE, Burt. 

I can hear you asking, “How do I start?”

One approach: look at different radical communities, from Rise and Resist to Extinction Rebellion to Decolonize This Place to local struggles against real estate thugs. Check in with New York Communities for Change or, in Sunset Park, UPROSE. There are many doorways to the struggle. But once you plug in, there’s joy. 

In 2020, most of us in the United States are still busy with our conveniences. We’re nursing our hesitations. Living your life through products is a really dangerous kind of paralysis, because there are products that persuade you that you are already making change. I speak of our computers, for instance, which paralyze by taking us out of our bodies into a dream of revolution. But, to draw on Gil Scott-Heron, “The revolution won’t be pixelated.”  Bodies and souls in the streets, Burt. Let’s go into JPMorgan Chase and stop the Earth-killing money.

   

Hi Billy,

I read in the New York Times today how Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin picked on Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum. Mnuchin said Greta should go to college and study economics before she can talk to the likes of him about climate change. All this has me thinking, what’s your advice for dealing with bullies — be they playground brats, barroom ruffians or government officials? It seems like bullies rule the world and they’re destroying it! My climate anxiety has me grinding my teeth in my sleep and I’m about ready to kick the next guy who butts ahead of me getting on the train in the groin.

— Bonnie, Woodlawn Heights

Mnuchin’s bullying comes from his upbringing by his father Robert, who should’ve been groin-kicked before he bought Jeff Koons’ stainless-steel Rabbit for $91 million. The elder Mnuchin, banker-turned-art-dealer, bought the famous silver toy for Steve Cohen, who in turn bought off the SEC for $1.8 billion after some insider trading at his hedge fund.

These are the dregs of the scum of society, Bonnie. Bullies, well, of course. And bullying Greta Thunberg with the elitism of the professional, the proximity to the president and extreme wealth — yes, yes. 

But there is a distinction to be made. Mnuchin, like his buddy Trump, is a murderer. The “bullies who rule the world,” as you put it, are bullies all day long to individuals, and they bully the Earth too, with countless victims. The personal is global.

These fetid nincompoops have intersectionalities of Evil spitting from every hole in their heads. Very few full-on fossil-fuel capitalists are not bullies in person. You want my advice on dealing with bullies? Deal with the war-scale bullying first. Save life! Life-a-lujah!

Reverend Billy is an activist and political shouter, a post-religious preacher of the streets and bank lobbies. Have a question for Reverend Billy? Just email RevBilly@Indypendent.org and unburden your soul.

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