“I don’t need the right from anybody. I’m taking it.”
Within the jaded recesses of my (just shy of) 25 year-old-mind lies the battered remnants of optimism. Santa Claus is not real, NYC Landlords will cheat you out of your security deposit, and the government doesn’t actually work. These are truths I’ve learned through the years, yet I still have hope that things don’t have to be this way (except for Santa, I can’t bring back Saint Nick).
When I was little I never said out loud that I wanted to be the President of the United States, or a senator, or even a mayor, because truthfully, they’ve always seemed like far-fetched ideas. When I was little it seemed far-fetched only because of low probability (I’m also brown and female, which I later learned would only hurt my chances). Then elected positions lost appeal as I perceived their efficacy to be almost non-existent. Now elected office seems even further out of reach thanks to new campaign finance rules that basically ensure only candidates with millions of dollars are able to run.
A little older, a little more jaded.
But every once in a while, my drive to DO SOMETHING overwhelms me. It is why I have this blog, it is why I have a Twitter account, it is why I shout into the ether not knowing whether or not my words will ever be heard. I am jaded, yes, but I am not too jaded to hope for more than this.
I’ve been trying to put my finger on the moment when I learned to distrust the system in which I live. I wonder when the switch came — when I went from being incredibly proud of my country to being completely incredulous about the whole thing. I am an adult, so I will not remain ignorant to the crimes of my country, yet I am supposed to remain true to the stars and stripes. Sometimes I see too much wrong to be so proud.
That is why I am both overwhelmed and overjoyed when people stand up for what is right irrespective of PR implications, political correctness, or professional considerations. That is why, when Russell Brand declared “If we can engage that feeling and change things, why wouldn’t we?” I decided to hear him, and take him at his word. I have not always been drawn to Brand’s acting, but I have always been drawn to his commentary on news and media. There is an earnestness, a trust I have toward him that I cannot explain beyond a shared understanding of how we experience the world.
Brand has a news channel on YouTube, and I’m excited about it. I’m excited that someone with a microphone has decided not to listen to the opinions of multiple naysayers and has taken it upon himself to provide a place for questions and discovery outside of the traditional problem-solving box. Many of the world’s most dire problems exist because of deeply entrenched systems of uncontrolled capitalism, imperialist reasoning, and hidden agendas, yet mainstream conversation rarely digs below the surface of these problems. Popular conversation rests upon the status quo of reasoning, where sustainable solutions are never found. Brand is willing to dive deeper, and I’m willing to go with him.
As Russell says, “Why is that naive? Why is that not my right..? I’ve taken the right. I don’t need the right from you. I don’t need the right from anybody. I’m taking it.”