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  • “Everybody knows that the game is fixed.
    The poor stay poor and the rich get rich.
    That’s how it goes,
    Everybody knows.”
    Leonard Cohen

    A well-known comedian from the 1950s – I believe it was Shelley Berman – told of how much he’d loved playing doctor as a child. “But now that I finally understand the rules,” he mourned, “I can’t get a game started.”

    That pretty much describes my political education. Coming of age in the 1960s, I choked down more than my share of tear gas and dutifully mouthed the appropriate slogans, having little idea what the hell they meant or even if they meant anything at all. But now that I truly understand exactly how the game is rigged so that the little guy never really has a chance, I can’t find a revolution to join.

    By affinity I gravitate to the left, but I find that bloc to be increasingly untrustworthy. Perhaps it’s the disturbing scapegoating I see or the blind worship of hope over experience, but I can’t march under their banner anymore. I know conventional wisdom holds that we’re supposed to become more conservative as we age, but I would no sooner associate myself with the rampant Know-Nothingism of the radical right than I would with cholera. Nor do I share the beliefs of some of my New Age friends that the Intergalactic Sheriff’s Posse will intervene at the very last minute to save us from ourselves and that instead of butchering one another we’ll all hold covered-dish dinner parties for Spaceship Earth.

    So I guess I’m a lone-wolf revolutionary by default, a reluctant Army of One. No, I haven't surrendered my optimism and, yes, I will definitely make alliances when necessary, but for better or worse I’m on my own. This relieves me from the task of forming quarrelsome committees or commissioning endless study groups. Sure, I could issue a Lone Wolf manifesto or two, but for my money no one’s ever put it better than Henry Fonda in “The Grapes of Wrath”: “I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build, I'll be there, too.”

    See you around.
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