Choosing Your Revolution

Today’s post comes from Chris, Reneeinnd’s husband.

Listening to late-night radio as a student at the University of Wisconsin- Madison,   I heard Gil Scott-Heron’s  “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”:

If you were to create a revolution, how would you go  about doing it?

24 thoughts on “Choosing Your Revolution”

  1. Sorry, but the question this morning is a subjunctive phrase that is too durn subjunctive for me. I’m profoundly skeptical about revolutions. Most revolutions are case studies in the ways sudden, great change creates a storm of unintended consequences. Revolutions are usually messy events, messy and violent. Good change is possible, but it almost always comes about evolutionarily.

    The best revolution I know was our own revolution in the 18th century. I’ll come back later to explain why I think it wasn’t really a revolution and why I think it worked better than any revolution I’ve heard about.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually sorta took a kinda try at it in education, or stood at the front ranks in my own feeble way in education and failed.
    Look at word “try” above. Weak word right? But other options were shot or stab. Hmmmm? Maybe apropos of Steve above, I was not violent enough and am dubious of revolutions.
    OT painters are back to work on halls. They were going to come yesterday and we were going to go to our daughters to escape. But weather held them up. So coming today. But very dear friends are coming through. So I will have the joyous pain of being with dear friends while being sick an in high pain. So have fun revolving today while my head and stomach do so.


    1. I’ve mentioned before Neil Postman’s book Teaching as a Subversive Activity. We thought we were going to change education… not realizing how entrenched most of education was. Some things did change, and then the backlash “Back to Basics” movement hit. Test scores rule more than ever now, in most places; computers and smart phones are “revolutionizing” the landscape.


  3. in order to make the revolution work it needs to be keep it simple stupid
    in order to make it work it needs to be heard
    i think you simply get tesla google amazon facebook warren buffet and bill gates to be the spokesmen.
    or just get trump to tweet it


  4. I remember thinking I was a part of a revolution in the late 60s-70s. Not the bricks and clubs and guns kind, but when you think about some of the things that are now available that were beginning to get attention then: organic foods come to mind… help me out here, baboons.

    Although I liked this poem/song at the time, I’d never listened to all the lyrics… here’s my favorite part (found at: )
    The revolution will not be right back
    after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
    You will not have to worry about a dove in your
    bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
    The revolution will not go better with Coke.
    The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
    The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat.

    IListening to it now is a trip down television memory lane – I remember a lot of those commercials.


    1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

      I am remembering the same revolution that BIR is talking about. If I was going to create one, that particular one would not be the method, although I like many of the things that it produced over the long term. It seemed chaotic and dangerous at times.

      Today I would like to create a public safety mental-health screen/anti-shooting revolution. It would include an ECFE-style program to support teen kids and their families so they know what “normal” is, different gun laws that support the training systems for responsible gun use (I am not anti-gun or anti hunting), but that confront the sale and use of assault weapons; and Public Safety campaigns a la MADD.

      I think it is all just a fantasy, though.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Along with the whole grain foods and vegetarianism, the following:

      Fashion–that revolution was the end of women wearing only dresses.

      Women’s employment–The post WWII return to workplace of women and the women’s movement.

      Pacifism: Viet Nam anti-war movement was my first exposure to pacifism, although it was around long before that.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. Love your comment, BiR. Of course, the people writing ad copy are going to promise “revolution” when what they really mean is their brand of toothpaste might be marginally better than others.

      In the late 1960s and early 1970s I was a college administrator talking a lot to kids 18 to 22 who glibly and freely talked about the revolution they knew was coming. For a few years it did seem as if protest was going to usher in huge changes. But instead of that we got Richard Nixon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember the talk of revolution in the 60s and it seemed like we maybe needed one. I didn’t have much faith in the would-be revolutionaries, though. Most of them couldn’t even take care of themselves.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. The industrial revolution was as profound a watershed as any political revolution and not as intrinsically violent, though it had its share of protest and sabotage (using real sabots).

    We’ve all witnessed the revolution brought about by computers and the internet and the full impact of that is profound but yet to be determined. As Chou En Lai is supposed to have said about the aftereffects of the French Revolution, “Too early to tell”.
    Many jobs and industries were eliminated by computers but they were dispersed enough and the ultimate changes wrought by computers were subtle and unforseen enough that no consolidated resistance via political pressure ever developed.

    I expect that within most of our lifetimes we will see a revolution in energy production and use. Unlike the infiltration by computers, the energy revolution will meet with organized resistance by entrenched vested interests and the politicians they own. The revolution and the resistance have already begun, of course, but I expect breakthroughs in technology, like efficient energy storage and distributed generation and perhaps access to energy from new sources will ultimately be transformative and will affect how we live and where we live.

    So much political power and financial power is tied up in traditional energy production, a revolution in energy can’t fail to have a revolutionary effect on societies worldwide.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The National Gallery in Edinborough, Scotland has an exhibition that explained the power of this revolution better than anything I’ve seen. It really created the circumstances that led Europeans to seek a new life in America, New Zealand, and Australia–creating most of our lives here.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. After the French Revolution a lot of high-born folks were missing their heads. After the US Revolution the gang running the country was pretty much the same gang that did it before the war, only they did it without a lot of static from British overseers. The basic laws and values of the colonies were the same as before the war. And in fact, the values espoused by the colonists were very deeply British in origin. The colonists used England’s best thinkers to justify throwing the British out.

    In this sense, ours was an amazingly conservative revolution. The new government they created was different enough to be revolutionary, and yet it had evolved organically from ideas created mostly in England.

    The Founding Fathers fascinate me. They were guys who mostly came from the most privileged strata of society. They started out as natural conservatives. They became rebels who hated the excesses of British rule. With the Brits gone they created the Continental Congress. What a pathetic mess that was! It was apparent that a more sturdy and functioning government was needed, so they made one. Our government was created by people who were natural conservatives who had been forced by a fluke of history to be rebels. Then they had the shock of seeing how chaotic life was without a strong government.

    Was there ever a bunch of guys whose personal experience of life better qualified them to write a constitution? They knew the tyranny of a king but had also experienced the chaos of mobs. These were reflective, observant men. And they created a government based on an amazingly workable sense of human nature.


  7. Was there ever a bunch of guys whose personal experience of life better qualified them to write a constitution? They knew the tyranny of a king but had also experienced the chaos of mobs. These were reflective, observant men. And they created a government based on an amazingly workable sense of human nature

    The above statement is the great thing that Donald Trump is done for us we now have a group of humanity that has experienced such that they should be able to make much smarter decisions and know how to go forward in a way that they never would have known otherwise


  8. I would start a revolution of Going Outside Daily to walk and notice things. (Things: It might be raindrops on a blade of grass; it might be a rainbow; it might be the moon.) Once a month, take a bigger trip away from the city where you can see something big: stars in the sky, a secluded creek, northern lights, Lake Superior.

    Liked by 2 people

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