The Language of the Unheard

What a pivotal moment this is. Think about it.

Less than a decade after the largest economic collapse in 80 years exposed the failures of late-stage capitalism, the world’s biggest superpower elected a rambling, rabble-rousing, self-important, authoritarian conman clown by negative-3 million votes. Then, just as the king-of-tweets and lord-of-lies finally faced his obligatory impeachment, and was protected by a corrupt party establishment, the world was assailed by the worst pandemic in a century. Largely because of the failures of this inane and narcissistic, power-hungry conman the United States quickly became the world leader in total cases and total deaths. By a wide margin.

All the while, of course, the planet was recording record-high temperatures as climate change raged nearly unnoticed.

Then, as social distancing measures stemmed the overwhelming surge of pandemic outbreaks – and the US president faced imminent ousting while his poll numbers plummet – the time inexplicably seemed right for a series of new attacks by racist whites on people of color. Perhaps it was outrage at having been proven wrong about their “great leader,” the failing corrupt conman clown. Maybe those dastardly bigots simply figured that chasing down black men in a park and shooting them, or holding them to the ground with a knee as they die in broad daylight, would go unnoticed during a plague. Maybe they were frustrated at being made to stay home. Maybe it’s the heat.

Regardless, it did not go unnoticed. It did not fly under the radar. It pissed people off. People who were unequally stricken by the plague because of the unequal nature of their economic circumstances took to the streets. Oh, we were warned they would. A couple of years before, for one example, a heroic African American man risked millions and took a knee before a flag during an anthem on public TV in protest of this very economic injustice, this very brutality. For his bravery he was ousted from the game he loved and vilified by the followers of the conman clown. A generation or two before a peaceful preacher with a big dream and a large following warned us that things were unsettled and we gunned him down.

“Riot is the language of the unheard,” the preacher said.

Now Americans ask the question, “why?” Why has violence erupted. Why couldn’t they just have (another) peaceful protest about this stuff so we can tell them (again), “Now is not the time. Shut up and sit down unless the anthem is on then stand up for a minute then sit your ass back down. Now is not the time.”

Now is not the time to end police brutality. Now is not the time to end social injustice. Now is not the time to end economic inequality. Now is not the time to fight climate change.

Now is never the time.

It wasn’t the time to overthrow British rule in 1776.

It wasn’t the time to end slavery in 1865.

It wasn’t the time for women’s suffrage in 1920.

It wasn’t the time for child labor laws in 1938.

It wasn’t the time for civil rights in 1964.

It is never the time.

It is always the time.

The time is now to listen. The time for empathy is now. This is the time for change, and it can come with peace and understanding or it can come through pain and fire. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable,” John F Kennedy said.


For so many, America has never lived up to its promise. For so many, it has brought only blood and tears. We live today in perhaps our time of greatest economic inequality. The top 1% will soon own more wealth than the entire middle class combined. In the meantime, 40 million Americans live in poverty. 14 million households are experiencing food insecurity. Entire communities have unsafe drinking water. Those folks who have taken to the streets represent not only those affected by racial injustice, but also those most affected by our nation’s financial inequities. Their frustrations have peaked, but they represent our frustrations, too.

It should not have come to this.

But it did.

Now was the time.

There are lessons to be learned from moments like this. Just as Covid-19 taught us here in America how terrible our healthcare and preparedness systems are, this uprising can teach us how broken are our priorities. Politicians play tug-of-war with our trillions as millions suffer below. Change must come. To our financial institutions, to our political institutions, to our healthcare, and media, and legal institutions. To our constitution.

This isn’t just about George Floyd. This is about America, and how America has failed it’s preamble again. It has ignored the people. Ignored justice. Denied tranquility. Forgot the common welfare. Became the most imperfect union.

We have to stop servicing the greed and start servicing the people.

For that, it is far past time.


54 thoughts on “The Language of the Unheard

  1. Well said. You should write speeches.

    Unfortunately, riots against your own neighborhoods and city streets and businesses accomplishes nothing but to prove that your anger is nothing but a tempest in a teapot.

    You want your anger and violence to have real impact? Hunt down those wealthy you speak of, burn their fancy homes and the playgrounds of the rich. Burn Mar-a-lardo. Torch a Drumph hotel. But, destroy your own town because you’re pissed at what happens everyday in this country? Foolish and stupid, no smarter than the Toddler in Chief.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh, but make no mistake, a riot isn’t about pre-planning and forethought, it is about unbridled and uncontainable anger. It builds up and then must be released. When no one listens to reason, the final desperation is unleashed and irrational. I don’t want to burn those mansions, or see a Target burned to the ground, I want to use the wealth that goes into those mansions and is produced by those corporations to truly help the people who have lost their patience these past few nights.

      Thank you for the kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Uncontainable rage’ which only goes to prove that such folks remain at an behavioral level that precludes rational negotiation.
        It’s like the guy whose candybar gets stuck in the machine: rather than negotiate a solution, he rages at the machine. Then others hear of his injustice and rage at their machines until all the candy machines are in ruins.
        The smarter thing to do would be to find out the mfg of the machines and either negotiate for better machines, or hold the owners for ransom — in either case, you get the attention of the actual source of the problem. Now the powers-that-be know they need to fix their faulty machines — or face the consequences.
        ‘Uncontrollable rage’ confirms that as a species we’re unprepared to move on.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m forgetting the professional anarchists, however. Even peaceful assembly will be a target for the escalation of violence by the pros.
        I’m all for anarchy, but it has to be absolute, not this half-assed, piecemeal shite.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As it turns out, and no surprise, many, in fact, most of the rioters and looters were from out of state, brought in to wreak chaos. Which they did. Tom, this is the speech that a president should give. It’s too bad that will never happen.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Brilliant article!

      “Many of the people yelling “violence is not the answer” about the riots in Minneapolis are the same people who wholeheartedly support America’s endless wars. Many of the people condemning the looters in Minneapolis are the same people who venerate billionaires. Loot a TV and you’re a dangerous criminal; loot a country and you’re an enterprising capitalist.”

      Those are the words I was looking for but could not find. Thank you for sharing, Bojana!

      And, yes, Biden for President. Lesser of two evils, by far!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks again, George. I truly believe we are at a pivotal crossroads right now, and the bump in the road that halted progression in 2016 is nearly in the rearview …


  3. One of the most powerful things you have ever written, Tom. I wish I could find my words, my voice, my spirit…my fight. But nothing. That is how I feel. Numb. I know, not a good time, or sign…but perhaps a sign of the times.
    Sending the hugest hug to you and the furry ones. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Brooke!

      I felt speechless for days, myself. I started this article three times only to find hollowness as I wrote. I have been arguing with haters, not defending the riots but defending the rioters, and trying to find the right words to say. This is such a chaotic time. Hugs back! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Tom. So thoughtful, insightful and articulate, and SPOT ON. I’m ashamed and outraged and not sure what to do about it in a positive way going forward but certainly am unwilling to be silent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are a phenomenal writer and a good man. People are revealed in these times. We have riots and inequality, pandemics, and climate events and peeople are concerned about merchandise and stuff. Its too much.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What a wonderful perspective, DG. I read yesterday that businesses were refusing to shut down for the virus because only people were in danger. Once inventory became threatened they boarded up in a hurry. How’s that for pathetic irony?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey Tom,
    Have you considered running for public office? You have a lot of thoughts and ideas and I think you’d do well in making a positive change in so many people’s lives. Of course you do that on your blog, too. Stay well and peace to you, my friend! Mona

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Mona! The thought has crossed my mind a time or two, and that possibility stays alive. My problem is time management – I’m very busy with so many things – and my view of the same – I am troubled by wasted effort. I think a run locally could allow the expression of my ideas but could not, in the end, present me with a viable path to victory. This community is solid red, Trump-country. So my sacrifice would most certainly be in vain. I have to get to the place in my own head where that’s okay. Also, I’m terrible at schmoozing, and politicians gotta have a bit of that schmoozing bug, eh?

      But, again, it’s always in the cards.

      Thank you again!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Is that a good thing? 😉

      Kim, I think all our nerves are shot. All I can say is that I think these are perilous times, we have faced them before, and we will face them again. I believe we lack qualified leadership this time around, which makes these times especially hard, but we shall prevail. America shall prevail. We will come out of this with a better understanding of community, unity, justice, science, and love. It takes very hard times to produce very good ones. Very good ones are on their way. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not too late to add my voice here to say thank you for putting so much of what I’ve thought into words.
    Something else I’ve thought about is that often when we criticize the racism and economic inequality that have been part of this country from its very beginnings, even when that criticism is quiet, as when Mr. Kaepernick got down on one knee, we’re accused of hating this country.
    This is my home. I love my home. When I point out that the roof leaks, the foundation is cracked, and that the whole thing could use a fresh coat of paint it’s not because I hate my home. It’s because I want it to be as good as it can be. I want it to be the best possible home for everyone who lives here and who will live here after I’m gone.
    I’d also add that a disturbing trend we’ve seen is rising attacks on journalists. Freedom of the press is guaranteed by our Constitution and yet there’s been a long history of politicians calling journalists the “enemy of the people”. It’s gotten much worse with the conman clown who brazenly denies the facts, and his supporters joining him in that denial. Thousands of years ago a Roman satirist asked, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
    It has perhaps never been more clear that we must protect those who watch the watchers.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have been told, by my own brothers, that if I don’t like it here there are plenty of other countries I could live in. I tell them that there certainly are, many of them much greater than the America they imagine is the best country on Earth, ever, but that I intend to stay right here and watch this nation – my home – progress. When it is finally great, really great, well … there are plenty of other countries for them to go to.

      Who watches the watchmen?

      Well, that’s supposed to be us. We fell asleep on duty.

      Chris, you’re welcome, and thank you. I’m on my way to catching up on things after a wild couple of weeks. I’ll see you on “Freethinkers A” in a minute for another story!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I saw a FB post the other day that “congratulated” our illustrious leader for achieving an amazing trifecta in a matter of months: The worst ecomonic downturn since the depression, bungling the worst pandemic since 1918, and the worst civil unrest since 1968. That pretty much sums it up.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That clown never really stood a chance, did he? I mean, when you take an incompetent leader, the likes of Donald Trump, and you place him in a seat of responsibility and authority – and surround him with sycophantic, misguided zealots – you are set up to meet crises with abject failure. We are not surprised he failed, you and I, we are surprised they ever gave him a shot. We are what the scoreboard says we are, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susan! Please feel free to do so. I’ve been preoccupied with stuff the last couple of weeks, but I intend to continue to be a voice in this wilderness, if I can. I intend to speak louder. I must.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so glad you guys are well! We are too, for the most part. Life always brings its challenges, but having someone to face them with lessens the hardships. I sound like a greeting card or something. Hahaha!!


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