DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE EASY?
Dreamed 1995/1/15 by Chris Wayan
Fundamentalists have ruled our Appalachian town for a generation. Most of us were sick of it, but we weren't making much headway toward our dream: social revolution. Then the mayor and his wife converted, and begin to speak out against the bigots--who still have most of the cops and the judges and the rich on their side. It's been a long, nasty struggle.
I'm sitting in a small theater crowded with students, about to see a film produced here in town, one of the first fruits of the revolution. The story's set in the pre-fundy past--a genteel era full of discreet but passionate affairs. The audience is mostly in their twenties, grown up during AIDS, under Fundamentalist rule. All dissidents--but all still virgins, like almost everyone now. Laugh in embarrassment during love and sex scenes, though they acted in these scenes. Their first sexual experience was while playing roles!
Takes a long time for them to get excited because of this embarrassment. It's understandable--the conditioning was brutal and universal. At last film and audience fuse, and we start what I can only call... a timid orgy.
I kiss and lick the pussy of the girl next to me. Try to learn what she likes, but I still feel ghostly fundamentalists over my shoulder... and she's still too inhibited to say much--perhaps even too ashamed to feel much yet. Switch partners at last...
Later we discuss the orgy, and how to integrate sex into the revolution. A girl I admire, with strong cheekbones, Asian eyes, and dark hair with red highlights, says "It wasn't much. I bet... I bet sex is just overrated. Or maybe... guys are." I was one of those licking her--makes me feel bad. Was I selfish or inept, or is she sexist, or... both? Though I know perfectly well--behind my dismay--that it's just our brainwashing and inexperience.
Slow, slow changes--the balance shifts toward progress.
Then a fundamentalist assassinates the Mayor's wife! Shoots him too, but he survives... He starts a foundation in her name that funds projects she loved. It becomes the heart of the progressive movement. A generation later, she's in all the history books as a martyr, and he's obscure, though his actions were essential.
The revolution spreads. It involves different land use, not just sexual liberation. Fruit-tree planting, mixed crops on family farms, not the cash-crop monoculture of the Fundamentalist era. A man I know drives to a canyon near town to start planting. Must tear out some existing brush--certain weeds encouraged by the old sharecropper system. The new ecology is stable, self-perpetuating, much better for the land than the fundy way... but it requires hard work to start up.
A woman who lives in the valley hates the tree planter. She's a single mom with about 8 sickly kids, an alcoholic who does the bidding of the local banker in exchange for booze. She harasses the planter, gets meaner and meaner until... she tries to kill him. He fights back in self-defense, and kills her.
There's evidence implicating the local judge in her attack. She screamed "I'm gonna claw your eyes out of their ox... ox sip... aw, skip it all... their sockets!" Too drunk to pronounce a strange word like "occipital". But it was in the script. The judge is about the only person in the county who uses words like that. Arrogant fool--doesn't think twice about putting words in his hired killer's mouth!
But he's right to be smug. He's so rich and powerful here, they STILL convict the tree-planter. The DA wanted a 42-year sentence, but the jury lowers it to mere 22 years. I'm appalled. The man seems unfazed, expects to get out on appeal... outside this corrupt county.
My dream of social revolution ends up as a book. Its last lines are a rant by the author:
"Did you expect it to be easy? There are people who benefit, or think they do, from the exploitive system in place now. Even if there were NO defenders of the status quo, it takes hard labor to clear all those weeds and plant new trees."
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