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Are You Ready to Rumble?

Ready to Rumble, commentary by Greg Powell

I don’t think Democrats can box. They follow the Queensbury rules, have good conventional form and style. But when the boxing intensifies into a fight, and things get down and dirty, the focus is trained more towards appealing to norms of boxing than punching their way off the ropes.

Like “Iron Mike” said: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

They seem to fight not to lose against a self-declared enemy who will do anything, violate any protocol, discard any ethical norm, break any law, with a singular focus on destruction. Like prime Roberto Duran punching a hapless opponent in the nuts.

A fighter who fights to win maintains a perpetual advantage over those who rumble to avoid losing.

I am old enough to have been a child when Barry Goldwater was the avatar of “far right” opposition to domestic human rights. He took a beating from LBJ but the Republicans gained backlash momentum from former Democrat segregationists and their moderate ideological kissing cousins. I was a child through the assassinations and Nixon. After the Carter interlude came the “Reagan Revolution”, and the devastation of Black, Brown and Poor communities that followed. Clinton interrupted the Bush dynasty with shades wearing saxophone playing mass incarcerating southern charm.

At least many us who didn’t get locked up got homes out of that deal. He was a polished nimble defensive boxer, like “Money” Mayweather. Then came Bush II, whose administration manipulated the trauma of 911 into an era of perpetual warfare against vaguely defined theories of warfare, targeting nations coincidentally rich in oil deposits.

Obama’s election so traumatized the right ideologues their number one priority became to wipe him from existence by any means necessary. Enter the Birther. Birthers never existed before one became president.

Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Bush II…Trump: not an aberration but a continuum. A devolution from man to ape.

But through the decades that brought the nation to the current nadir of hateful corruption, the right wing fight has been remarkably consistent: pro-rich, pro-white male, pro-white supremacist religion (secular and evangelical), pro-white corporate global dominance, anti-rest-of-us, anti-planet, anti-diversity, anti-human compassion, anti-non-white national self -determination, etc. etc. etc.

Meanwhile the Democrats…hmmm…Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry, Hillary, now old Uncle Joe? The search for the elusive “middle” continues. We are assured that they can work with the other side of the aisle. Remember, Uncle Joe, what it was like? The ones whose priorities were to defeat your boss, obstruct his work, delegitimize his humanity, disenfranchise his voters, and deny his constitutional mandate to appoint a Supreme Court justice: You can work with them? Seems like the only way to work with them is to be them…in which case why do we need you?

Good luck with that. And God bless your presidency in the unlikely event you beat the current occupant.

Boxing observations: She/ He who wins the rumble wins the middle, not vice versa. The fight is ideological, spiritual, and psychological. It is a human fight, not one of policy. You must get the power to enact the policy. Your self-proclaimed enemy understands this. They care not one wit about norms, ethical protocols, laws, country nor constitution.

Apparently, the norms to which you appeal were insufficient to prevent them from winning the white house for the ape. A hard right will beat up a soft middle every time.

Now that you’ve been hit in the mouth, and the nation is profusely bleeding, please fight to win, for something worth winning. Win hearts and souls and you win policy power.

I don’t need your nostalgia. The return to institutional norms has no appeal to me. I need you to win the war for the human soul: compassion, justice, ecology…by every effective means necessary.

I humbly submit what you need is a poet. Poets are prophets, preachers, linguistic activists, soul boxers. That’s how Trump won by losing by 3 million votes. That’s how under our system he can win by losing by 5 million votes in 2020. He is the poet of perversion. The prophet of white male rule over other men and all women…under the facile patriotic façade. Isn’t pretend democracy the point of the electoral college? And Jim Crow?

Reagan was the poet of ass backward Americanism. Bush W. was the poet of hereditary privilege. Clinton was the poet of superficially liberalism.

Obama was the poet of possibilities.

I, a poet, am available for hire. I can help box for souls.

Trump is American’s original poetic backlash to the Declaration of Independence. Like King David, his words are a war cry to his people. White. People. The rest of us are admonished to go back to Africa.

By the way, if we go back to Africa can we take back with us all the shit y’all stole?

But even if you pass on me for better poets, please hire those who compose poems…and speeches…that box. Knock suckers out.

And remember what The Greatest said: “It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” Or in the words of your last winner, “Yes, we can.”


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