“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Sometimes while vegetating, listening to callers on various radio shows, pundits and activists on cable news shows, and the information differentials between national nightly news and international news. (Okay, you caught me. Yeah, I watch international news like BBC etc., etc. I lived overseas for a while and got used to real world news.) My fellow Americans, what the hell is wrong with you?
You have been hoodwinked. Look at who is running your government. Really listen to what they are telling you. If you remembered anything from your high school civics classes, you should be able to recognize your government is merrily stomping all over you rights. Even worse, they have an army of zombies, brainlessly regurgitating their lies, half-truths, and down right idiotic comments, and teaching your children that the deterioration of civil liberties is a good thing-necessary for the public safety. They are writing you newspapers, bringing you the morning, midday and nightly news, they are serving and protecting in your cities and towns, teaching your children, bagging your groceries, putting on your new roof, etc, etc. These people may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but they have saturated every part of your life no matter where you live. These people are your modern day, middle to lower class Republicans. (I’ll get to the upper middle class, the filthy rich and the lords of the universe some other harangue.) Blindly devoted, hopelessly oblivious, they cast their votes on the issues that really don’t affect their lives in the least. Voting for a Constitutional Amendment against homosexual marriage, even though homosexuals are like 1% of the population (and the state in which these brilliant people reside probably already had it outlawed).
They vote against abortion, which really doesn’t affect them. If they don’t like abortion, they don’t have to get one; they just don’t have the right to stop anyone else from getting one. How does that make sense? You don’t believe in abortion, so everyone has to think like you? Okay, so you think it’s murder-so don’t murder anyone, except other people who murder first (that’s capital punishment for those who might be slow on the uptake). I don’t see any of them visiting their local inner city and marching against murder there. Then after declaring themselves pro-life, they support cutting off money for those who are struggling and in serious need of assistance. They say it is not the responsibility of government to provide welfare, housing subsidies, medical services, etc. to those who cannot afford it. I have heard it stated that they are “pro-life until birth,” which is incredibly apt. They support executions for murders, but do not want stronger gun regulations because “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Then they have the nerve, the unmitigated gall, to call themselves Christians. It really makes me wonder if they ever actually studied the way in which Christ lived, or concentrated and meditated on what Christ actually said-in context.
What they are is senseless, completely devoid of original thought, lacking the ability to think, evaluate and judge for themselves. History is full of such societies of people, who heedlessly march to the beat of the drummer without looking where they are going. Well, I guess it is apposite that the Republican zombie crowd doesn’t know where they’re headed, because they have no idea where they have been. I hope to help by being provocative, by beginning a conversation, but in order to make any of my points I feel I must, for the sake of my zombie audience, explain some basics so those of you undead will understand what I am saying. First let’s look at some basic federal laws, which supersedes (has precedence over) your state laws. Let’s explore shall we?
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.
In case you didn’t know, this is the first Amendment to the Constitution. I feel it is important to break down some of the basic laws provided by the Constitution because it has become increasing obvious to me that most Americans (especially those with “W” stickers on their cars) have no idea what the Constitution, or any of its amendments with the exception of the 2nd, actually says. Let’s take this one and dissect it.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” That means that the State, whether federal as in the United States Congress (including the Senate in this case), or local (your state) cannot say “I am a born-again Buddhist, so the local religion is Buddhism.” You cannot force anyone to pray, but you cannot stop anyone from praying. That also means (for Nazi-Liberals) you cannot stop a group of students who, of their own free will, want to meet in the cafeteria at lunch and have Bible study-it’s none of your business. By that same token, a school cannot establish or organize a Bible study; that is not your job. There, we just took care of school prayer. Now, it also means you cannot legislate morality, because most of the time, you are really talking about enforcing your religious views on others. If a majority of a nation decides a fetus is not a fetus, you have every right to disagree. You have no right whatsoever to decide that the majority of your society has to abide by your view. I have never seen a pro-life protestor who didn’t sight the Bible as their guide, so I have come to the belief that pro-life people have come to the conclusion abortion is wrong by their religious view. Great! You have no right to force that view on Jane Atheist, because that would be establishing your religion. Get over it and get over yourself.
Before I go further, let me just say that I love the Lord. I claim Jesus Christ, Son of the only Living God as my personal Savior. I would probably never have an abortion (never say never, you don’t know what tomorrow brings). That doesn’t mean I have the right to tell anyone who does not believe as I do not to have an abortion. What I can do is offer alternatives to those that seek them. I would be blaspheming my God if I were to scream at anyone they are going to hell. According to my Bible, I don’t get to decide who is going to hell. I do know that my Savior tended to hang around the sinning types because they were more open to truth. Those so-called righteous types were called Pharisees; you know the guys that went around pointing out everything the “sinners” were doing wrong while orchestrating the crucifixion. Sound familiar? It will-keep reading.
“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech…” Other than certain debatable aspects of the Patriot Act (I fully advise every reader to take a gander at this piece of legislation, but only if you are able to do so with an open mind and unbiased view), as far as I know Congress has made no law-officially-abridging the freedom of speech. What certain members of both Houses have done however is to make sure that any opposition to their particular view is painted as unpatriotic and “…emboldens the enemy…” That twaddle, my fellow Americans, in and of itself, is patently unpatriotic. In fact, I put it forward that any such worded opposition to free speech is a corruption of the basic freedoms that America supposedly stands for. If you do not agree with nay sayers-fine, state your case, make it strong and prove through debate that you point of view might be the correct one. If you just puff out your chest, deepen your voice and espouse that such talk is unpatriotic-you probably don’t have a leg to stand on. It does not matter how completely inappropriate, how conspiracy ridden the comments may be; as an American citizen, like it or not, you have an unassailable right-RIGHT-to disagree with your government, and an equal right to say so. Any government that cannot or will not tolerate dissent needs to be examined with great diligence from the top to the bottom. If an organization, group, etc. cannot stand a small beam of light to penetrate its depths, it is probable that the organization is wrought with corruption, deception and vice.
For the average citizen, you have no right to tell your neighbors any utterance against the political view is unpatriotic. If you cannot stand to hear your beloved leader critiqued, perhaps you would be more comfortable living in a country where there is no dissent-say Iran? Oh, that’s right! Iran is the enemy. Funny how some of us have the very same characteristics as the countries we hold up as vile and repressive (and I am not saying that Iran is anything other than what it is). If we are really a “Christian nation” perhaps we should remove the log out of our eyes before pointing to the sand in the eyes of others?
One more serious pet peeve I have is people who have the nerve to say that any talk against the establishment denigrates “our troops.” Look, I served my country for four years, not a vast amount of time but more than some, from 1990-1994. I remember all the talk on the twenty-four news shows on Somalia (Mogadishu to be exact), for and against the military action/non-action there. I cannot recall any comments making me feel demoralized or unappreciated, nor to I recall any of my shipmates even mentioning any of the hype. What I do remember are the young Marines that came aboard our ship for some hot food and to shop at the ship’s store. I remember their confusion about their mission and look in their eyes as they recalled how children where taking shots at them and their orders telling them they couldn’t shoot back. I remember talking to one Marine who wasn’t a second older than eighteen, telling those who would listen he couldn’t believe the poverty, desperation or the empty looks in the eyes of the children walking around with weapons as big as their own bodies. He wanted to know how anyone could use children to fight their wars, and why was it they couldn’t do anything to help. He wanted to know how the world let such chaos exist, and what the hell was he supposed to do. Maybe their should have been a little more debate, a little louder outrage to get our beloved leaders off their collective behinds and come to some kind of consensus as to what exactly our role was. Perhaps debate for and against a military action can help “our troops” more than it hurts.
I refuse to state in this diatribe of mine my exact feelings about the war in Iraq, whether or not one agrees or disagrees is now a moot point. I will rant and rage against the powers that be, the “seasoned officers” that dare to look in disdain against any questions on decisions already made in the ongoing war. I spit on those who had the gall to down play the questions on adequate armor, or clear mission objectives. For all those on the ground ranked E-1 to E-5, the press is the only avenue to get anything unjust or ridiculous addressed. They have no voice to address wrongs or concerns; they have very few choices. The vast majority are doing what they are ordered to do. Anyone who has ever been a lower level enlisted person knows that you don’t get to call the general and put your two cents in on anything. You don’t even necessarily know whether the weapons or tactics you are using is legal.
“Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise… of the press…” Another extremely important aspect to “Freedom of the Press” is to keep our officials honest, be they local, state or federal. Once the government has control of, or even influences what is reported by our newspapers or networks, we loose the truth a wind up with propaganda. If you want to hear only your views advocated, you can choose web sites, so-called “news radio”, periodicals or magazines to feed your political appetite. It is imprudent, down right dangerous, to allow any aspect of the government to influence “real news”. I put that in quotations because I truly believe any semblance or real journalism is fast disappearing; replaced by plastic, scared slaves to the powers that be that are either to intent on forcing their political leanings down the throats of the general populace or to terrified to report anything controversial. Sometimes simple truth is controversial. The simple truth that separate was not equal in the 1950s and 1960s was controversial, Watergate was controversial, the Vietnam War was controversial. Did that make any of these things right? Would have been okay to ignore them, pretend nothing was going on and everything was honky dory? Hell no! Are you, my fellow Americans so afraid of truth you would rather bury your heads in the sand or hide behind ideology, whatever that ideology might be? Where is your backbone?
I have seen it said that a damning indictment of our news media was after September 11th, when people where baffled as to why “they” hate us. I am no major intellectual, no scholar of world journalist, but I have known that “they” hated certain Americans since-well, since I was about 19. Maybe I just have a deeper understanding of the psyche of the third world; colonized, brutalized, oppressed and generally looked down upon-but I doubt it. It is amazing to just what you can learn by just talking to people. Imagine what we would learn if our networks would invest time and resources in the 60% to 80% of the world they fail to cover. Americans live in some kind of bubble, where the unpleasantness of the rest of the world rarely intrudes-to our everlasting peril. I have news for you, in the ever increasing “global society” to not know what really happening in the rest world is like taking a road trip without a map. How in the world was it possible most people had no idea about the increasing hatred for America festering in the Middle East? And here is another major shocker-it is not all about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict either. It is exploitation, the unequal distribution of wealth, it is about the backing (and sometimes the placement) of tyrannical, despotic leadership of their countries. It is the way we have had a knack of supporting policies that place the necks of their people under the boot of their American backed leaders. You think I am spouting liberal nonsense? Manuel Noriega, Sadaam Hussein (What, you didn’t know we sponsored Hussein?) the Shah (that was the Iranian king, circa 1970s-look it up), Afghan war lords, the House of Saud, and on and on.
I spent a couple of months in the Middle East, considerably less time then many so-called experts, but the one thing I did that many others with some notable exceptions failed to do was talk to the average Joe. I didn’t get to speak to many women, not Arab women anyway. I did have the opportunity to just talk to typical males of varying ages. One guy had a stand on the pier where my ship was moored. He was the nicest older man you would ever want to meet, just trying to make a living selling food late at night to very drunk sailors. At first, I was a little shocked that he would talk to me. I was told Arabs disdained women. Not so much for the average non-fanatic. I was also warned Arabs hated Americans. Sort of true, but as my friend explained to me, it wasn’t so much the average American. It was the oil company executives, the politicians, and the people in power that really got his goat. The fanatic sees only Americans, the great evil. The average person sees their corrupt governments getting support, arms, and the means in which to hold on to power by greedy American (and British, masters of colonization) magnates. The crutch of it all is that most Americans have no idea what their government is really doing overseas. You should know, you deserve to know, you better demand to know before some Administration’s policies (and they have been pretty bad concerning third world countries whether Democrat or republican) puts your life at risk. In a global society, and like it or not you are living in one, you cannot be completely ignorant of another cultures standards and/or taboos. You cannot enforce your way of life on the entire world. I am not talking about freedom-everyone deserves to be free. I am talking simple culture. Just because we do it here in the good old U.S. of A. does not make it right, nor does it make it wrong. Sometimes it just makes it different. Some things should not be tolerated by any culture, like say genocide (think Sudan, if you have no idea what I am talking about you need to be slapped), or female castration (I am sorry, it wrong, wrong, wrong), or the general oppression or subjugation of any group of a society. You should know about it, because at anytime, it could bite you in the behind, especially if your government knows and does nothing.
“Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Good Lord people, I don’t care who you are, what you believe in, or what you are preaching against; Americans have to right to demonstrate against you. As long as it is peaceful, the use of local police to stop anyone from peacefully assembling to let their displeasure be know, as long as the people are within the limits of the law and not some hair-well, you get the picture, is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, period. You cannot deny anyone the right to assemble, be it pro-life rallies across the street from abortion clinics or liberals outside the Republican National Convention. Don’t like it? Move to Saudi Arabia, or Cuba, or Sudan. It is just as simple as that, and I will not waste my time trying to convince anyone. If you don’t understand it, maybe some classes in remedial reading comprehension would do you a world of good.
As far as petitioning the government for the redress of grievances, maybe we need to break it down a little. Petition means to lobby, to beg, to request formally. Please notice the first amendment says “the people” and not the corporations. Redress can mean restoration or compensation. And grievances are complaints or an injustice. Now, how do you suppose the people-average citizens-can formal request of the government a restoration or compensation of a wrong or injustice? Could it be through the courts maybe? Ah, here we come to tort reform. Your government has recently passed legislation (laws to the common folk) making it harder for you to address a grievance. Every single time I saw some random person lip syncing the party line about how “frivolous lawsuits” were driving up the cost of insurance I just wanted to literally scream. Mr. And Mrs. Brilliant, in a civil trial, for the most part, awards are granted by a “jury of your peers.” That means people just like you. Are you seriously saying you lack the judgment as to whether or not a case has any merit? You seriously need someone to hold your hand and tell you what is reasonable? Seriously?
As far as “lobbying” your government, I think I have a vague understanding of the American English language, and I really don’t thing “the right to the people…to petition the government for redress of grievances” can be stretched to corporate lobbies. Energy, pharmaceutical, or insurance corporations are not people-they are corporations, but that’s just my feelings, I could be legally wrong. I sincerely doubt that I am “morally” wrong, but I am only human. It is your country people-take it back.
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