The Man From the North is a fictional writer in Rivera Sun’s novel, The Dandelion Insurrection. The novel takes place in the near future, in “a time that looms around the corner of today,” when a rising police state controlled by the corporate-political elite have plunged the nation into the grip of a hidden dictatorship. In spite of severe surveillance and repression, the Man From the North’s banned articles circulate through the American populace, reporting on resistance and fomenting nonviolent revolution.
The story below is one of several written by the Man From the North. The article series is not included in the novel and was originally published on Dandelion Salad. We will feature a Man From the North story on a weekly basis through June 3, 2015. You can read the entire series at Dandelion Salad. The Dandelion Insurrection and a companion study guide can be purchased on Rivera’s website.
How to Fight a Tyrant
It is not enough to hurl your rage at tyranny . . . every bully knows how to dodge a hothead. Anger is the alcohol of emotions. We flush, courageous in its drunken heat, but our blows miss, we flail, and our opponent easily dispatches us.
I’ve had my share of schoolyard skirmishes. I’ve been provoked and beaten soundly. I’ve swung my fist in honest rage . . . and missed. More times than I would like to count, my temper tripped me into fights. I won some; I lost others.
I’ve come to this . . . anger is a weakness.
Some claim it has its purpose. “Righteous” anger is often lauded. Righteous or not, experience warns me that while my anger has served me little . . . my loss of control has aided my opponent greatly.
My days of playground scuffles are over, but the gang of bullies who now harass me are the greatest tyrants in the world. Their weaponry of authority, military, police, legalities, and money far outstrip the fistfights of my younger days. I cannot afford to take a swing and miss. Yes, I often feel my anger rising; their affronts are worse than when they made catcalls at my mother or whistled at my lover; they’re forcing my fellow men to slave for them, kicking children in the ribs, smacking women across the cheek, starving old ladies, forcing families out of homes, refusing healthcare to the sick – the causes of fury are real and just. Anger boils in me, volcano-like, but I will not let it erupt.
Tyrants easily endure eruptions. Fury falls as impotent as ash. Our opponents will simply flick it aside with self-satisfied smirks, order our people to clean up the broken glass and pools of blood on sidewalks, and continue on as if nothing happened.
No, I will not merely inconvenience them with my eruption. Anger is a force, more powerful when held in check. I’ll convert it into determination, send its pressure underground, shake the foundations of their empire, and create hairline fractures in their fortresses. I will study the structures of their social skyscrapers, find their weaknesses, and erode the pillars that allow tyranny to reign.
Channel your anger into determination for change, my friends. Become a force, unstoppable. Pull fury’s heat deep down inside you. The blaze of anger’s fire can blind you; its smoke obscures the mind. Become a master smith of your emotions. Red flames cannot bend iron . . . but white-hot coals melt steel. This is the intensity that is required to fight these tyrants. Stark clarity of mind provides power to our actions. The rational mind is our weapon – never let it go! Only a fool would fling it aside and leap at a tyrant with bare fists.
You are no fool, and neither am I. Nor can we call our opponents such. Callous they may be, greedy, cruel, but let no one call them fools. They are sharp, educated, intelligent, cunning, but I will tell you a secret . . .
The tyrant’s intelligence can count up people; but only wisdom explains what moves them. Brains can order brawn around; but only wisdom reveals what makes people refuse orders. Any tyrant can send soldiers into battle; but wisdom can convince them to lay down their guns.
Intelligence never conquers wisdom . . . and at this we shall excel.
Rivera Sun sings the anthem of our times and rallies us to meet adversity with gusto. In addition to her most recent novel, Billionaire Buddha, she is the author of nine plays, a book of poetry, and her debut novel, Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, which celebrates everyday heroes who meet the challenges of climate change with compassion, spirit, and strength. Learn more about Rivera and her work on her website.