Back to Political Basics: Bartender, Rolling Rocks for All My Friends!

unnamedfor Izzy, who forced me to Think

Give me a “P”!  Give me an “L”!  Give me a “U”!  Give me a “T”!  Give me an “O”!  Give me a “C”!  Give me an “R”!  Give me an “A”!  Give me a “C”!  Give me a “Y”!

What does that spell?


Thus, after all the work of so many, rolleth the Boulder of Democracy down the mountain again.


Son of a bitch.

Chase that rock hard, Progressives, chase it hard!

Over the weekend, I was standing at my kitchen counter, eating a cold grilled cheese sandwich.  Slugging some cheap red wine.  When my old friend Albert started whispering my name.

I felt like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams“If you read me…”

“What?” I responded.  “If I read you, what?”

Albert continued calling all night long.  It was annoying; I could hardly get through my wee-small-hours-of-the-morning backlogged episodes of Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

The next morning, I headed out to my garage and dug through boxes and boxes of books until finally I found him.

There he was, sepulchered in that old trusty, underlined Vintage paperback.  My friend the Nobel Laureate, Monsieur Camus.

The volume of which I speak is The Myth of Sisyphus.

You’ve got to respect any 100-page essay by a Frenchman that begins “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide,” and which concludes, “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

No wonder the Nobel Committee threw laurels atop Camus’ head.

You of course know the myth of Sisyphus:  the Greek mythological antihero punished in the afterlife with the everlasting task of rolling a boulder up a mountain, only to watch it roll back down and find himself forced again and forevermore to roll it back up again.

It is a near-perfect expression of the human condition—unless you’re U.S. Representative Ken Calvert (R) of California, who thinks that the only people who should be rolling boulders up hills are the idiots lame enough to find themselves in minimum wage occupations:

“Minimum wage was never meant to be a livable wage.  It was meant to get people started, give them a job and hopefully they do good work and we can increase their salary later on.”

By the by, have you ever seen a picture of Ken Calvert?

Tell me this isn’t precisely the face you imagined would say such a thing?

But I digress.

At this moment, you may be wondering what this has to do with politics.  The answer is simple:  EVERYTHING.

In the past year, I have published nearly 100 articles in the name of progressive political philosophy and theology.  I’ve had My Own Private Idaho impact here and there.  Minor, but earnest.

But my mind is entreating me back to basics.  These next 9 months matter.

The Myth of Sisyphus was a formative text for me, long ago.  I hear its call.

The singular message it burgeoned within my being is that no matter your religious or philosophical position, Creation is an answer.

Novelist.  Architect.  Gardener.  Woodworker.  Rearer of children.  Feeder of neighborhood songbirds.  It doesn’t matter.  Are you devoting your life to building something?

Are you rolling the rock up the mountain?  Despite the absurd result.

And, after the midnight waves have washed away your sand castle, are you devil-damned the next morn to build an even more magnificent Sand Castle 2.0?

I am so sick and tired of seeing the word “destroyed” as a tool of political rhetoric.

Today’s social media headline:  “So-and-so destroyed so-and-so over such-and-such.”

The essence of progressivism is building a better tomorrow.

Yes, it’s always okay to call a spade a spade, a Scalia a Scalia.

But what are you doing to improve the world?

My Fellow Progressives, it’s time to go back to basics.

With only 213 days and counting until the November 2014 Election, ask yourself this question:

What is the singular message or missive that called you to Progressivism?

What is the nucleus of your Sisyphean boulder?

To quote Camus:

“Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself forms a world.  The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”

I exhort you to retreat to your political inspiration in these next few days.

Wrap your arms about it.  Embrace it.  Give it a bear hug.

Then roll it hard to the mountaintop with everything you have these next 9 months.

Yes, the odds are that a Paul Ryan or a Nikki Haley or an NSA will come along and push it back down the mountainside.

Then roll up your sleeves, rush back to the bottom, and begin pushing it back up again.

As many times as it takes.

Civilization depends on YOU.

Bartender, Rolling Rock for all my progressive friends!

Arik Bjorn

Arik Bjorn lives in Columbia, South Carolina. He was the Democratic Party / Green Party fusion candidate for U.S. Congress in the 2nd Congressional District of South Carolina. Visit the archive for Arik’s campaign website, and check out his latest book, So I Ran for Congress. You can also follow his political activities on Twitter @Bjorn2RunSC and on Facebook. And be sure to check out more from Arik in his archives!


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