SAMUEL is a soothsayer.  Though it may not be apparent at first, HE is imprisoned.


I know you don’t believe me.  You can’t see what I’m seeing, though.  You don’t see the machines, the money.  The self-interest, blinding people.  You’re caught up in this and you think that everyone has the best intentions.  (Yes, yes, they… yes they do, but….)  Things will change.  Power will, will consolidate.  Or, or congeal.  It will flow freely, for everyone, then pool, it will pool in the hands of the few.

Yesterday we voted to become independent from a corrupt monarch.  A monster.  A monstrosity.  And, tomorrow, we will create a nation.  Create a nation of, of states, with the notion… united by the notion of freedom.  Tomorrow’s date will become the iconic day for these new states.  The iconic day for liberty.  But not for… not for everyone.  I tried to tell them yesterday, tell them what I saw.  What I see.  Warn them.  They wouldn’t listen to me.  They put me in here.  But I can’t stop seeing.  We are sick of it: sick of centralized power, sick of imperialism, sick of rule from the top down.  We’re granting power to people, to, to individuals.  It’s in the text we drafted: governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.  Yes about governments.  Yes about power, right, yes, just powers.  Yes, the power, it’s from consent.  But we can’t say it’s from the consent of the governed.  No.

My wife begged me to stay away.  She said her voice would come in due time.  She said she trusted the men in that room to do the right thing.  That I would never convince them.  That the tide of revolution rolled slow, sweeping up different people along the way.  That I was imagining injustice, reading it into what is really a declaration of freedom.

But no: I do see, I do see.  I see the slow tide, but, but we need a tidal wave, upending false supremacy and delivering the world – in the name of the Creator – to all of His people.  All of His people!

I see it: we will come close to insolvency.  The new states, temporarily united in revolution, won’t want to cede sovereignty.  The states, I see them growing, and in their awkward adolescence, through their internecine rebellions, by acting out they will cry and plead to be governed.  They will want a voice: individuals and states and one voice as a union.  And a voice will rise, a strong voice, a voice rich with the imprimatur of freedom.

But that voice will not truly be the voice of the people.  No.  It will sing, but it won’t sing the song of liberty, it will speak, but it will not speak the name of the Creator. 

This voice of the people will be the voice of the few.  The propertied, the wealthy, the light-skinned.  The new imperialism, a ventriloquist with his hand inside the masses.  A right is not bestowed by property.  A right is not granted by gender.  A right is not endowed by skin color.

If it is the voice of property owners, we will be shedding the yoke of monarchy for the false freedom of plutocracy.  If it is the voice of men and men alone, we trade our own subjugation for the siren song of patriarchy.  And if we count some as three-fifths of a person so their oppressors can be represented, we trade our own shackles for the intoxicating elixir of hegemony.

I see these numbers.  I see … thirty-four thousand… one hundred and …eighty two days before black men are allowed to vote.  I see fifty… two thousand six hundred… and forty days before women can vote.  We cannot be born as a nation this way!  The sun will rise 34,000 times before dark-skinned me can join the chorus of democracy.  And women, another 20,000 after that!  In whom is the right of suffrage?  And even then, even after all those days… no, even then, I see… I see a man standing in… in front of the assembly hall.  He’s not letting me inside.  He’s making me take a test, to see if I… to see if I can read!  To see if I own property.  And he tells me I’m in the wrong place, on the wrong date.  And that man, while he decides who to let in and who to turn away, we go where he tells us.  We let the tide of history ebb and roll under us, let it make us, instead of making history.

But we get inside!  We fight our way in.  And we vote with voices, nay, aye, a silence, then, then hands, raised hands, and ink, with ink, we record our votes… but… but… no, after voices, after hands, after ink… I see machines, great machines, new machines that… The machines will be sold by a man, by the same man!  The man will promise to deliver votes to one candidate.  The man in charge of counting the votes!

He says: the machines will capture the vote.  Capture as in seize.  The votes are yours: you are elected.  Now, buy more of my machines.  Pay me with the citizen’s money.  It doesn’t make any sense.  It doesn’t make any sense as a method of democracy.

I see another man.  He sees the obstacles, too.  He sees the deviousness.  He understands.  He is raising an objection.  He is exhorting you to take to the streets.  He is asking something of you.  He asks, show me what democracy looks like.  He is loud.  His voice is amplified.  And when he asks you to show him what democracy looks like, you reply: this is what democracy looks like.  And when he says, show me what democracy looks like, you reply: this is what democracy looks like.  When he says, show me what democracy looks like, you say: this is what democracy looks like.  This is what democracy looks like.  You are what democracy looks like.  Not you in uniform, not you as jailer, not you as an agent of oppression, not you as overseer, , but you as person.  You as agent.  You as individual.  You are what democracy looks like.  You’re making history.  We’re making history.  Every day.  You’re making history every day, forever.  We’re making history.  We are history.  [holding up chains]  THIS IS NOT WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.  [Pointing to HIMSELF]  This is what democracy looks like.  I am what democracy looks like.