“sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country” (A People’s History…Ch. 23)

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.

Tomorrow never comes, they say. Very well then, let me amend – with all due humility – the great Langston Hughes. “Today / I am already at the table,” and I stand for everyone. We are already here, preparing our own nutriments, serving ourselves, and communing in the glory of our common humanity. Are we America? We don’t need to be. We simply ARE, and that is our present.


Zinn’s 23rd chapter is prospective. It looks ahead at what might be, if we’re daring enough to see and embody our creative potential. We need only look back, at his previous 22 chapters, for instance (and the two added after this former conclusion), for inspiration. American history, although a history of terror and tyranny, is also a history of burgeoning rebellion. In other words, America can change. We just have to let go of the myths that no longer serve us and create something together in their absence. We have to stop waiting for Superman and discover in ourselves the superhuman strength that’s always been there; we are all already enormously powerful aliens, and it’s time to bring that power home. It’s time to stop forgetting. Dismantling the old order isn’t enough; creating a new one is our true work. We must accept that we don’t need an Establishment. We already have everything we need in here. We no longer need to look outside of ourselves for order and meaning. Our heart is home to it all. And in all our hearts together, we can create Eternity. The Establishment would have us believe this is an impossibility, a childish fantasy. But when have we ever denied the Establishment’s cynical grip on us long enough – become free from all ideologies – to experience a truly new world order? It is too late to begin that project; it is not too late to re-conceptualize “utopia.” It need not be a distant possibility, a fool’s hope. What if it’s already in us? What if there’s very little we need to create? What if our true work, our only calling, is our being here?

In a system of intimidation and control, people do not show how much they know, how deeply they feel, until their practical sense informs them they can do so without being destroyed.

Love is indestructible. Let’s be in love, shall we?

I am not J. Alfred Prufrock. I dare disturb the Universe. I dare to wake it up within me. I dare to be the Universe. Being the Universe, I am here and now, where I belong. And You are here with me, where You belong. The Universe is born with Us.

We are guards no longer but guardians. Of the galaxy, yes. Which is to say, of ourselves. Of each of us in all, of all of us in each. A new United States.

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