It isn't often that one gets to be in the front row of the revolution, but tonight, from my perspective at the far left of the first pew of Trinity United Methodist Church, it felt as though history was in the making. An overflow crowd turned out in Ballard in response to Rev. Rich Lang's call to action against the growing unconstitutionality of our government and the mounting evidence that America is one precipitating event away from martial law and a grave curtailment of political liberties.
The meeting was nicely managed. There was a group sing of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, a warm-up speech from Linda Boyd of Washington for Impeachment who argued that impeachment "is the legal, peaceful way to regain our constitution," and then, Rich Lang delivered what might be the fifteen minute speech of his life (download here).
"The most important thing we have is each other," he began. "Remember that."
After a brief disclaimer "for the benefit of Caeser" that tonight was not a function of the church, but an opening of their space to the community, he began. Here is Seattle, we are in a bubble. We do not appreciate the urgency or the danger of the moment. The nation is possessed by a demon spirit that is doing great harm. We ourselves are in a trance. "We now know the answer to the question, 'How could good citizens allow the Nazis to come to power.'"
"The urgency of multiple crises is upon us," said Lang. "But tonight, the focus is on one crisis: breaking the trance and finding our voice. Not just the voice of Seattle. The voice of a nation."
Then, to the roaring approval of the capacity crowd, Rev. Lang offered his plan. On Tuesday, September 11, 2007, we all call in sick to work to perform nonviolent Acts of Democracy. We make 9/11 a day of the people. And then, we have a party.
"The empire steals and controls our voice, so we will take our voice to them. To the graveyard of our public media. We will hold direct actions at each of the major corporate media locations in our city. In groups of tens, hundreds, and thousands, all without permits of any kind."
"The authorities want to bind us with chains in the graveyards of silence," he said, "but we are a free people in a free land. So act like it!"
As I left to get home to my kids, the crowd of several hundred was breaking up into groups of six to consider creative acts of revolution. And so it begins. There will be a follow-up meeting at TUMC on August 6, at 7 p.m.