I am a writer, the author of 5 published books, 7 un published books, thousands of articles, 2 critically acclaimed plays-thank you Hanna, Celia, Erik and all those who contributed mightily-During the run of my first play, Occupy My Heart, A Revolutionary Christmas Carol, I told Thom Hartmann that the work embodied the struggle of the Occupy movement. I as the playwright represented the one percent. The play was a one dimensional collection of words upon a page. A community, the 99% if you will, came together to make the play real, from those who created the computer I wrote it on, to the printer, the paper maker, the director who further realized and structured the piece, the actors that gave it life and all those who packed theaters around Chicago to see the play. Occupy My Heart made national headlines and diverted the negative press for a time. Community made that possible.
As a writer my religion is truth, at least as best a truth that I can discover. The words of the late Yugoslav writer Danilo Kish are my gospel:
The writer stands alone.
Imbued within those deceptively simple words is the rejection of subordination. There is only truth and false truths. Left and Right are tribal affiliations, each demanding subordination, and each flawed in categorical adherence to their assumptive opposition. They are not yin and yang in that regard, but a continuum of one another. Yin and Yang are therefore calls to war, and war is the impersonal infliction of mass pain, and hence the affliction of mass falsehoods. Pain is the ultimate standard of truth; empathy the only pathway from that pain towards forging community. Community becomes the antithesis of pain.
And yet, amid those simple words by Kish, the writer stands alone still falls short. Nothing in those words describes community itself, or how we come together in achieving community. In that we all become writers; we are all creators of the better world we desire.
Throughout the siege of Sarajevo I stood by Muslim brothers and sisters, as well as their Christian, Catholic, Jewish and atheist neighbors, just as I stand in support and solidarity of Palestinian brothers and sisters, but I do not hate Jews or Israelis just as I did not hate Serbs. I want to see all people exalted.
I do not hate the police; I only want them to be better. I do not hate the America I criticize vehemently; I wish it to be better. I hold the liberal and progressive Left to a higher standard, because we must be the example of the better world we wish to realize. Innocent criticism cannot be translated as an attack on the movement. When we fail, we must endeavor to be better; a matter of constant vigilance as long as we remain human.
The writer stands alone.
Here is the ultimate issue with this sad event. Based upon all I have seen here and overseas and through two terrible genocides, and having talked intimately with Holocaust survivors, I am acutely aware that humanity is flawed. I have seen only too graphically how cruel people can be to one another. I have also seen another side, and that is the side I wish to exalt and support and defend. As a Catholic I was embraced nonetheless by Muslims in the town of Mostar despite a campaign to annihilate them by the surrounding Catholic Croats. I was embraced by Serbs, despite their belief that America was their sworn enemy. The reason is that sometimes in the fight we lose sight of the truth that the world is less a terrible place, but a place in which we are all looking for answers. Liberalism and progressivism I believe holds better answers, when we try.
I ready acknowledge that as a human being I fail sometimes in racial, ethnic and gender issues. Those who know me also know that I engage in that conversation regularly, eagerly and earnestly.
I was doing it long before Starbucks started putting it on cups!
The writer stands alone.
I acknowledge I am flawed, but attempting aggressively to ascend through that ignorance. The bully pulpit of my body and my history is painfully limiting and unaccommodating to truly embracing the intimate and sovereign perspectives of others without a great deal of self-accusation and self doubt; but so is every journey. Make no waste of your time for people who use hate to mask and deflect their own ignorance. Give them no power. Offer them every opportunity for reconciliation without further recompense. One day soon you too will be in their shoes.
I am ignorant, I readily admit, but unwarranted and baseless attacks force me to declare that I am not ignorant. That only regresses the conversations on race and community into these fortresses of self-interest. And so the journey continues…for each of us.
Just as the writer, so too the traveler stands alone.
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com
The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting. Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.