Friday, October 15, 2010

on spinning the other direction

Today I tried something a bit different... for me, anyway.

I woke up to the most beautiful, mystical morning. The air felt crisp and smelled of autumn and the sky was clear. I stuck my head out the window like a little kid, excited to see if it would be nice enough for me to hoopdance outside on my day off of work. It was. I was elated.

I have been having a bit of trouble with my lower back, just aches and dull pain since I began to hoopdance two months ago. I decided it was my lack of stretching, so I began to stretch before, during and after my hoop sessions. This failed to solve the problem, so I went to the online community of hoopers to ask for help. It turned out that what I really needed was fairly simple. To spin the hoop the other way.

This will mean absolutely nothing to most people (which is understandable), but everyone who dances with a hoop has a favored direction, their 'hoop direction.' I hoop to the right. What my back needed was for me to hoop to the left sometimes. Caroleeena, an esteemed hoopdance teacher, put it this way:

"Hooping in both directions not only develops both sides of your abdominals (and who wants a three pack, am I right?) and both sides of your back muscles, it supports your spine, increases your balance, helps you find your Center, allows you to move freely in all directions and to learn new movements faster as it re-wires the neural pathways in your brain, effectively making you smarter. It enhances your ability to do every pattern-related thing in your life, including but not limited to music, dancing, drumming, mathematics, planning and organizing."

So I picked up my hoop and spun it to the left.

At first it was awkward, uncomfortable, and difficult. I felt taken back to my first day hooping, when I spent an entire day locked in my room, bound and determined to be a part of this 'hooping thing.' Every step was filled with flailing arms, falling hoops and broken wall decor. I was dripping in sweat, exhausted, but I told myself that I wouldn't take 'no I can't do this' for an answer.

By the end of two or three songs, I could literally feel my back muscles thanking me for finally figuring it out. It felt almost refreshing. Suddenly I didn't have to worry about dropping anymore, and my muscles got comfortable doing something new and weird. I did it! I changed my direction! Shortly thereafter I ran out into the patch of sunshine in my yard and attacked the practice with my mini hoops that had me so discouraged yesterday.

I was inspired by today. I was inspired by myself, by my perseverance in doing what feels impossible right now, but will yield unbelievable results down the road.

Dear Me-Next-Time-You-Even-Think-About-Quitting:

Always seize the opportunity to try something a different, something a little uncomfortable. Put yourself out there and decide that you will get it down. Maybe not today, and maybe not this week. But you will. You can always lean on the many things you already know as encouragement to keep going. Besides, you thought you would never be able to hoop at the shoulders or do the vortex, and now you rock them. Love, Me

Saturday, September 25, 2010

on hooping, day 45

I have nailed it!

No, I am not talking about hooping in the general sense. More importantly, I have reached the point in my hooping where it feels meditative, beautiful, personal and calming. I feel refreshed when I hoop. I am comfortable enough now that I don't have to pay attention always, and I can use it as a way to wind down and be with myself. Even after a twelve hour shift waiting tables and walking all day, nothing settles my senses and spirit like hooping.

I have to say: I started hooping to do beautiful things with a hoop, not necessarily to make my body more beautiful. But HOLY COW. Now I understand why people passionate about sports have so much fun while doing them, it just never really applied to me or my spirit. I left sports the very moment it started to matter whether we won or lost, I just don't have the competition appetite.

Weight isn't of huge important to me, whether in myself or others. But feeling wonderful and having the energy and health to love life matters. I started hooping to hoop. That being said, I fit in a pair of jeans I haven't worn in over a year because they felt too tight. Not only that, but they are pretty baggy. Epic win.

Benefits of hooping go far beyond the ability to do some mind-boggling tricks and dances.

It is empowering in so many ways. I have stamina. I can see muscles I didn't know existed. I have confidence. I have a skill I wasn't capable of before. I am learning what it's like to get to know yourself, spend time with your own spirit and be happy with who you find at the end of the day... really happy. There is also the added benefit of the huge community of encouraging hoopers, experienced and novice alike to inspire you on your journey. Not only that, but people get excited with you when you inspire them in return.

When I explain hooping to others, they do not usually understand. When I show hooping to others, they must get a hoop of their own. It is that simple and it is that addicting.

I never thought spinning and dancing with irrigation tubing would be so enlightening, empowering and free.

Thank you to my body! Thank you to my hoop!

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should visit:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

on the first amendment and liberty

Over two hundred years ago in December of 1791 the first amendment was born.

Most citizens of the United States know this, but most of us forget how essential and influential this date is in our stories and our lives. This is our liberty. Because of this date, we are free to worship or not worship. Because of this date, I was able to grow up in a loving home that was involved in a local church family. Because of this date, we have the security and freedom to worship whatever or whomever we please. We are who we are and have lived our lives according to this simple premise:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

These words are part of each of our stories, whether we reflect on them often or not at all.

What example and legacy, then, are we setting for our children and our world when we hear the words ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and vehemently oppose something that we know nothing about? To clear up confusion among those who may not have researched this issue or have only seen clips from the mainstream media, this is not a mosque, nor is it at Ground Zero. Clyde Haberman of the New York Times had a great comment about the significant difference:

“There's that "at." For a two-letter word, it packs quite a wallop. It has been tossed around in a manner both cavalier and disingenuous, with an intention by some to inflame passions. Nobody, regardless of political leanings, would tolerate a mosque at ground zero. "Near" is not the same, as anyone who paid attention back in the fourth grade should know.”

I have seen protesters. I have seen signs written in ignorance and hate. Things like, ‘this is NOT your country,’ and ‘to embrace Islam is to embrace terrorism.’

Do I think it’s the greatest idea to place an Islamic community center in that location? Not necessarily, and that is not my point (nor should it be yours, if I may say so in the most endearing and loving way possible). The point is this. This issue as it is should not even be up for debate. I planned on a lengthy explanation before realizing that unless people are simply daft, all I need to explain is the following:

The moment we can tell a religious group that they can’t build a community center on private property, our freedom is at stake; all of our collective liberties and things our forefathers fought and died for will be in vain.

Your freedom and mine will be forever changed.

If we are to be true patriots, we are to behave as Jefferson said we must and defend and uphold the Constitution. He did not say that we ‘should.’ He said that we must.

Some of the signs of protesters I have seen say things like ‘Build Christian Churches in the Middle East.’ If we are to be the United States of America, a nation that has center stage in the global theater, then we must act accordingly. I vaguely recall something called The Golden Rule, something about ‘doing unto others’… but that must not apply to this particular situation.

I also wanted to somehow incorporate that we have massacred over one million Islamic people for their oil and as punishment for the actions of 9/11. I just couldn’t find a way include it nicely, because it is what it is; the antithesis of nice. Is that not enough ‘justice’ for some? If not, what will be?

Just give me liberty, okay?

While you’re at it, give it to my fellow countrymen who choose a different faith.

I digress.

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security.” –Benjamin Franklin.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

on making differences

When we entitled and blessed ones finally meet the Needy, I hope there are no more big screens or sweatshops. I hope we learn to think.

When Love wins, I hope there is no 'us' and 'them' anymore, just people who need one another, who need community.

I hope we learn to love more than just our money and our shopping malls. I hope 'success' is not equated with 'excess.'

I hope we find our conscience dictating what we buy and who and where it comes from.

Can we learn that nothing is every really 'thrown away?' Can we learn to be responsible consumers in a world dictated by mass production?

I hope we learn endless love and compassion for those outside ourselves... and I hope it makes a difference.

Things you and I can do today to be more awesome:

-Read the tags on the clothes and shoes you buy. If it's made outside of the U.S. or doesn't have a Fair Trade label, don't take the chance it was made by someone compensated unfairly.

-Visit a thrift store instead of a mall.

-Shop local, support local farmers.

-Buy coffee that is grown fairly and sustainably... Starbucks is actually making incredible strides to better their corporation and make a difference.

-Plant your own vegetables and watch them grow.

-Recycle. It seems trivial, but it adds up.

-Walk around your neighborhood (or even just outside on your own street) and pick up garbage.

-Find friends and come up with $25 to fund a microfinance loan and change a woman's life in the developing world. Watch their progress as they pay it back and make a difference locally.

-Ride a bike or take the bus. Turn off lights. Hang your clothes to dry. Start to care about energy and where it comes from.

-Get inspired by watching this:

Take victories in the small differences we all make. Be proud of what you can do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

on seattle

I love Seattle. I am falling in love with my life here.

I love our crazy, creaky, cobwebbed house filled with a myriad of ten interesting characters. I love that my front yard is like a rain forest with colors that are rich and dense. I even love the tacky, waist-high lawn ornament set of plastic penguins. They are more than slightly reminiscent of trailer trash, but all of the members in our household constantly move them to locations that are meant to stir up laughs in whoever sees them. Previous locations include the roof, up in a tree, in the front seat of someone's car, and in a hammock. This changes hourly. I love trying to explain our roommates to other people (Normal Steve, Pregnant Kendra, Adopted Woody, Crazy Don, Absent Terry, etc). I love most of my roommates and they have become friends.

I love my flower and vegetable garden. It took less than a day to turn the flower beds into something beautiful, earthy and fresh. I didn't wear gloves. I thought the naked earth would bother me, but I found everything interesting. Moving a rock and seeing what life is living under it; ripping up weeds and planting flowers with my bare hands.

I love driving home south on I-5 on a clear day to see Mount Rainier, majestic and sexy and alone on the horizon. This brings me to loving trees, and mountains, and saltwater scented air, and all of the above dancing with the skyscrapers and civilization. I love my job, and feeling appreciated, and getting paid for working hard.

I love neighborhoods that have character and individuality like Fremont, Capitol Hill, and Belltown. I love walking down Broadway and people-watching. I love Metsker's Maps in Pike Place. I love that in one month I can attend free art festivals, block parties, Iranian Film Festivals, a Pride Parade and dozens of Couchsurfing events. I love that we are in a place where we can open up our humble place to travelers and seekers. I love the sustainability and the mentality, the beautiful bohemians, the beats, the poets, the artists.

I love that I am 10 minutes from the beach at Golden Gardens, where we can build a fire and watch it grow; dip our toes in the waves and watch the sun fall behind the Olympic Mountains that are jagged, ancient, and real. This has been and will be my summer - inviting those wandering without a fire to come and join our own. Sharing music, stories, fire spinning and laughter with strangers that become part of our story.

I am starting to fall in love with my story again, and that is a good and lovely thing.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

on moscow

I would like to write an epic goodbye note to commemorate the era of my life in Moscow coming to an end. Unfortunately, as my fellow writers can attest, sometimes words don't come out the way they should. Sometimes they fail to come at all. I will write what I can.

I am leaving Moscow a completely different person than when I drove into town three years ago. I know not everyone in my life is proud of those changes, but I am proud of most of them. It was said to me once that my life since arriving here has been a train wreck. Maybe sometimes it has been. I think that is life though; some years will more closely resemble train wrecks than others. Some will be beautiful and move you to become more beautiful with them.

Time will not cease upon my leaving, and most lives without me here will continue much the same. My life itself, through the lives of those I met here and my experiences, has been forever changed. To my friends and acquaintences that were part of this era, the good and the devastating, I love you. Thank you for being a part of my story.

I have changed my worldview, met those that opened my mind and soul, I altered my spiritual way of thinking, had friendships and relationships with great-hearted people, and most importantly, I learned. I learned so much. I learned that every day becomes exactly what I made of it. I learned that I have the power to be creative or destructive, to be a blessing or a curse, and this power must be wielded carefully. I learned that I make a difference.

It is both lovely and shocking when we come to realize how much we make a difference. This is the most important lesson I learned in Moscow. Every conversation, every interaction, every attitude brought into a room, every word whispered behind the back of someone else, it all counts. It all matters. I learned that who you are isn't who you think you are, who you pretend to be, it is what you do. I am different since I learned this this. You are what you do. It's very simple though sometimes hard to process. If you constantly badmouth others, that is who you are. If you are out at bars every night, that is who you are. On the other hand if you work hard, postively influence and encourage others, and are genuine, that is who you are. I am trying to be more like that person. Sometimes I will fail.

It's interesting that the Tuareg nomads of Africa have only one tense in their language... the present. I think it would be beautiful to think that way. To live less in yesterday and make today a good day. I am still teaching my brain to work that way, but it started here. Thank you to those who taught me to be present in my own life. Thank you for changing my story.

I have many to thank as I pack my bags and start a new chapter of my life, though if I tried to list them I would fail miserably. I am listening to a song by Hector LaVoe, called 'Todo Tiene Su Final.' Everything must come to an end. That is true, but I think LaVoe missed something. More accurate lyrics would read 'though everything comes to an end, it often means the beginning of something brilliantly beautiful and new.'

Blessings to you, my Moscow friends and family. I hope your lives are beautiful and filled with promise. I hope you spend your days in the present tense. I hope you find and spread inspiration. I hope you find that every decision and action you make counts. I hope you love and live deeply.

Most of all, I hope our stories will entwine again someday.

Selah... let it be.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

on being frustrated and peak oil

I am frustrated. No, I am beyond frustrated.

I want to be an activist for the ideals I believe in. I want to spread knowledge like wildfire, avoid ignorance and complacency and be well-rounded and real. I want to be a 'Pro' person; I want to be defined by the things and ideas I believe in, and not the things I would necessarily be against.

Why is it that 'liberal' and 'conservative' have to be the terms with which we are defined? Why is it that if we belong to one that the other is perpetually wrong and has no redeeming qualities? I want to know what makes it so difficult for us to find common ground, when most people want the same things: good education, health care, the right to human dignity, racial and gender equality, and the right to make a living. Granted, a few select people have hatred or biases that are unfounded. But overall, the nonpartisan issues far outweigh the ones that we should be fighting about, and I am frustrated that no matter what I do, I am forced to appear somewhere on a political spectrum that I have no faith in.

There is a myriad of issues that affect all of us. Whether putting my energy and efforts toward these issues label me as a 'raging liberal' to some friends and family, or whether my moderate and inquisitive nature makes me seem like a 'right-wing nut' to others, I have to carry on and do what I think is right.

I can't stand listening to people that think in only black and white. Nothing is just black. Nothing is only white. Nothing is just left. Nothing is only right. If anything, we should think in a dazzling array of colors that cannot be defined and let the tints and hues speak for themselves and inspire us. I refuse to be padlocked into one-sided thinking, and I hope you refuse as well.

Dearest America, we are going to have some problems, and I am afraid for us. I am afraid for the liberal activists and the small-town conservatives; I am afraid for our children and their children; I am afraid for the misfits, the jocks, the business men and the farmers. I am afraid that we are so wrapped up in ourselves to step back and measure the weight of what this last century has brought us, both good and bad.

We are going to run out of cheap oil. This is not up for debate or dispute. It is the scientific conclusion of the best paid, most widely-respected geologists, physicists, bankers, and investors in the world. It does not matter who you voted for or what you call yourself, because within a decade we will not be able to afford to drive our cars to work. Everything we do is surrounded and influenced by petroleum. Yes, it powers our cars and has the potential to ruin our fragile habitat. But there is more.

As of 2002, about 10 calories of fossil fuels were required to produce every one calorie of food eaten in the U.S. Pesticides and agro-chemicals are made from oil; these are necessary because of the single crop farming that is practiced across the nation. Most farming tools - tractors, trailers, combines - are constructed and powered by oil-derived fuels. Our refrigerators are manufactured in plants powered by oil and run on electricity, which, not shockingly, also also comes from natural gas and coal.

The average piece of food that you eat in the United States is transported about 1,500 miles before it sits in front of you on your plate. In Canada, this is almost 5,000 miles. Not only is our transportation and agriculture created in dependence of cheap and plentiful oil. Our water distribution, national defense, electronics, all plastics, modern medicine, and almost all high-tech devices requre fossil fuels. I would also like to point out that almost every alternative energy source out there uses petrochemicals at some point in their construction.

What does all this really mean, for you and for me? It means that you shouldn't just be concerned about how much it will cost to fill up your gas tank in five years.

In 2006 in the Chicago Tribune, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Salopek described Peak Oil consequences as "unimaginable. Permanent fuel shortages would tip the world into a generations-long economic depression. Millions would lose their jobs as industry implodes. Farm tractors would be idled for lack of fuel, triggering massive famines. Energy wars would flare. And careless suburbanites would trudge to their nearest big box stores, not to buy Chinese made clothing transported cheaply across the globe, but to scavenge glass and copper wire from abandoned buildings."

If saying all that makes me an unforgivable liberal, take into account the speech of Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican from Maryland. He spoke to the U.S. House of Representatives for an hour in 2005 about Peak Oil.

"Is there any reason to remain optimistic or hopeful? Let me go back to Matt Savinar, that not-too-optimistic journalist. "If what you mean is there any way technology or the market or brilliant scientists or comprehensive government programs are going to hold things together or solve this for me or allow for business to continue as usual, the answer is no. On the other hand, if what you really mean is is there any way that I still can have a happy, fulfilling life, in spite of some clearly grim facts, the answer is yes. But it is going to require a lot of work, a lot of adjustments, and probably a bit of good fortune on your part.'"

I am frustrated. What I am frustrated most with, however, is that many papers (such as the UK Guardian) have admitted to covering up the looming crisis for years in order to avoid widespread panic and keep the world's economy in check.

I am frustrated that my whole life will change in less than a decade, and no one is getting frustrated with me. We need to rise up, to inspire one another, to invest in the transition we will all be going through together. We need to employ the innovators, discover how to localize again, use the remaining oil to fuel the creation of the technology that will eventually bring us through to the other side, to a calmer and newer era of our lives. I have no doubt we will make it through. I just wish more of the global community was interested in using Peak Oil as a way to bring us together.

If you have, in fact, reached the end of what has become a novel, I want to encourage you. Do your own research, dig up your own facts, use sources from all sides of the political spectrum, read books, watch documentaries... get inspired. Get angry, but more importantly, get inspired.

Together let's start to think in colors and leave black and white behind us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

on pledging allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the lifestyle of the United States of America:

to corporate bailouts on Wall Street while our Main Streets deteriorate;
to boarded-up family homes seized by bankruptcy and greed.
To the single percentile controlling 95% of our wealth,
to our monetary system being controlled by a privately-owned Federal Reserve,
and to paying income tax when there is no written law anywhere requiring me to do so.

I pledge that I will not question capitalism, its flawed nature,
and that I will remain willingly blind to the injustice and poverty it continually creates.
I will continue to be a sheep in the flock of millions that do not understand,
believing that our government, its Supreme Court, and almost all of its branches
are not controlled by the ruling elite who care not for the poor.

I pledge to consume as much as possible, with my right hand over my heart,
and my left hand digging through my pocketbook.
I will support big business and my local Wal-Mart,
even though they take out life insurance policies on many employees
that are worth over a billion dollars dead, and not so much alive.
I will waste more energy in my household than a third world nation,
leaving a carbon footprint large enough to prove that I was here, and I had money and oil to burn.

I pledge to believe in trade that is free and not fair,
even if coffee farmers in Ethiopia receive a few cents for the latte I purchased this morning, with the plot of land that has been in their families for generations.
Capitalism and free enterprise are the answer, and these farmers are obviously not making the grade.

I pledge not to care about global warming, because it is a scam
and I never liked Al Gore anyway.
I pledge to call anyone who questions these things a conspiracy theorist, an anarchist,a tree-hugger, or an environmentalist nutcase.

They are obviously not watching the same news channels and media outlets that I am,
and because I have not heard of or confirmed these things they obviously do not exist.

I pledge to avoid documentaries and reading material that will make me question and possibly confirm the failure of what was once a nation built on freedom, America the Beautiful.

...and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, wearing a blindfold, already divided, with corporate fascism and corruption for all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

on the WTO and my recent discoveries

It has been said that our gift has human beings is to be able to learn things and to understand, to be self-aware and ever growing. Tonight, with my heart and mind heavy, I would have to say that it can also be as equally great a curse.

I am learning more now, in the past few months, than I have ever learned. I have been reading, researching, digging into history with my heels in the ground. I have found documentaries, footage that the media hid or twisted, copies of documents proving that our government funded bloody massacres and coops to overthrow democratically-elected officials in order to pillage their resources. My eyes have been opened. Not gently, no, they have been yanked open to a bright and simultaneously dark world that I never knew was out there. Most people will keep their eyes shut their whole lives. But once someone’s eyes have been opened to a world like that, they can never look away. A world of truth that many people will never see, nor have the desire to see. I can’t look away.

It’s like a traffic accident you drive by on the freeway and can’t take your eyes off of. You don’t want to see, but at the same time you need to. You desperately want to know what really happened. It’s more than that. You need to know.

Some say that sin is the human condition. I would argue that further and say that the human condition is not only wrongdoing, but also ignorance; not only ignorance, but intentional or deliberate ignorance. I talk to people every day who don’t believe in recycling, or climate change, or peak oil, or corruption, or what our future bleakly looks like. That being said, I am still usually the crazy optimist, in spite of people who intentionally choose to avoid seeking truth. But it’s hard sometimes.

Raised in a conservative and simultaneously loving and wonderful home, I have always trusted and loved my country. I said ‘one nation, under God, indivisible,’ and I meant it. I thought republicans knew everything and liberals knew nothing, and now that I’m mostly liberal I realize that neither side knows much of anything that the other side doesn’t know. I debated Creationism in class, I wanted to be a journalist, I voted for George Bush, I though America was a wonderful and generous country and I was proud to be a part of it. I had an amazing childhood. Maybe that’s why becoming an adult forming their own opinions is so difficult for me.

Beyond all the politics, beyond all the anti-American sentiment overseas, I guess I am truly amazed at the same sentiment boiling up within me. I am outraged, I am furious, and I am livid. I feel that I was personally lied to, that I was intentionally deceived, and I want to march into the streets with thousands and scream that this nation is not what we think it is. That these stars and stripes do not stand for freedom any longer, at least not to those calling the shots. That our country occupies, takes what they need, and leaves. That our history of massacre dates back to the time of the pilgrims, and has changed little since then (save the introduction of weapons of mass destruction to more effectively exterminate our opposition).

The more I know, the more I am sickened by it. The more I know, the more I want to say. But the more I want to say, the more words fail to be enough.

My life is changed. Radically. Though that in itself is beautiful, I’m not sure where I go from here.

“I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'
Well, I'm not going leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!'”
-Network, 1976

(you should listen to this next song to get the real feel for the lyrics and what it means... it's about the stand off between the WTO, IMF, and World Bank in 1999 and their protestors. Moving, to put it mildly.)

50 Thousand Deep – Blue Scholars
(based on the Battle of Seattle, 1999)

November 30th, 1999
No sunshine

The body rock stopped, probably got caught by the cops
Nearby, somebody got shot
But parties don't stop and the parties don't care
It's a stick-up, it's why we got our hands in the air

Still demanding a share, refrigerators bare
'Cause they wanna see trade get free and not fair
But we are not blind, we are not there
We don't got time left to spare to not care

On the last day of November, swellin' in ranks
Went to chant down the mighty IMF and World Bank
A gathering of people in peaceful assembly
Onward to Westlake to disrupt the entry

Walk along steady, riot squad ready
To protect every last dignitary's ass
But this started when they herded us like cattle in a fence
Protesters gettin' restless without an exit

They threatened to arrest us, we pushed back and then
A hail of rubber bullets hit teens and old men
I admit, had to split when the first gas canisters hit
Felt it burn in my eyes, nose, and lips

They tried to blame it on the anarchists, garbage
I was there, I'll tell you right now the pigs started it
But they distort it in the news
Talkin' bout stompin' down Niketown wearing their shoes

But the body rock stopped, probably got caught by the cops
Nearby, somebody got shot
But the parties don't stop and the parties don't care
It's a stick-up, it's why we got our hands in the air

50,000 deep, and it sound like thunder when our feet pound streets
50,000 deep, and it sound like thunder when our feet pound streets
50,000 deep, and it sound like thunder when our feet pound streets
50,000 deep, 50,000 deep

Yeah, now, the body rock stopped, probably got caught by the cops
Nearby, somebody got shot
But parties don't stop in the south
So take your shoes off when you come into my house

I had to duck out 'cause I knew I stuck out in the crowd
After many years growin' up brown in this town
Now this is what democracy looks like
Not what you all had in mind for tonight

Mr. Mayor, shell-shocked for 5 days straight
Press conference, lookin' constipated and pale
Tossed a homie in jail, wasn't even protesting
Wrong place, wrong time, learned a quick lesson

But this is not a question what we did to deserve this
Rich kids went and got arrested on purpose
But was it worth it? My first inclination
Globalization is the root of the pain

Made the reason that they left and the reason that we came
Catch my breath, blood pulsates my brain
And they called it a riot?
Huh, I call it an uprising

And they call this a riot?
But nah, I call it a uprising
And they call this a riot? Nah man, f*k that
I'm a call it a uprising