“When the government fears the people, you have liberty.
When the people fear the government, you have tyranny.”
- Thomas Jefferson
There is a little under 12 months until the next Presidential election in the United States. The candidates from each respective party are continuing their efforts to dominate in media coverage (some on TV, others online). Yet, for the current administration, it seems to be “business as per usual”.
The usual business included the presidential veto of a health insurance plan for children, the ordering of American diplomats to find “things Iran has done wrong”, and the Senate passing a billions for defense bills. Despite this being “business as usual”, the people are evidently unsatisfied with the progress of their government.
Perhaps this dissatisfaction stems from a multitude of factors. For example, despite the vocal disagreements of the 9/11 Truthers and their skeptics, one aspect everyone seems to agree on is that there are still numerous unanswered questions about the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Six years to still not have received satisfactory answers may not be a great indication of excellent job performance by the administration.
Perhaps it is the fact that for the duration of those six years, we have been on a war footing with no end in sight. Following 9/11, we went into Afghanistan. Then along came the invasion of Iraq. Now, the administration is clearly setting its sights on Iran; during an era when the current situation in Iraq is proving to be unstable and almost without end. As the days pass by, more American soldiers pay for this with their lives.
Maybe people are somewhat displeased with the claims of torture going on in Guantanamo Bay; on prisoners that have been labeled criminals or terrorists or both – and yet most have been imprisoned outside of the law, and many await a fair trial that just might not come. Coupled with that are laws passed that could potentially involve any citizen being arrested, detained, and imprisoned for vague reasons interpreted to be possible threats to the security of the nation. Nobody likes to be a potential target.
The Blackwater debacle could also be contributing to the dissatisfaction of the people. It seems the contractors (or mercenaries; choose your terminology) are able to conduct any action they wish without accountability. Or perhaps the fact that this group is costing taxpayer’s more than what the population bargained for is another reason to not be happy with this administration.
& here we are in 2007. Americans are under surveillance, citizens expressing their beliefs are constantly being harassed; and the president now has new sweeping powers to declare martial law and expand further emergency powers onto his government during a moment of crisis as passed in the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007.
So the people of the United States have good reason to be dissatisfied with their government.
Yet no-one is really doing anything. The most vocal among us are those without the power to make change on their own; but those who do have that power are sitting on their hands.
We hear people vocalizing the need to stand up and make change on television, radio, and on the web, but there is no action. The population of the 21st century has become dulled by entertainment – by the powerful tsunami of reality shows, video games, online social networking, downloadable content, MP3 players, iPhones, and on and on. We are a consumer culture, and the one thing we crave above all is not the bare necessities in life; but entertainment.
When the founding fathers of the United States rose above and beyond to fight for the freedom of the nation, there was little bombardment of multimedia. In today’s society, it is everywhere, making the populace docile to the point where they regurgitate the soundbytes of propaganda being broadcast on the Fox News Network.
We are so dissatisfied by the actions of our government, yet believe everything will be okay. Because at the end of the day, we perceive that we are okay, just so as long as we have all of our conveniences, our entertainment, our mind-numbing substances, and our delusions that we live in a land of freedom.
& while we watch the premier episode of Cavemen, read the review of it online, discuss it with our friends on MySpace, and Digg up stories about Paris Hilton and Michael Vick, the Bush administration continues making decisions that are essentially impeding upon the rights and the freedoms and the liberties that we not only love so much, but take for granted.
If you could fast forward a few months, and consider the worst case scenario: a national crisis hits the United States, Bush suspends elections under his emergency powers and declares martial law (justified by the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007) – perhaps followed by further international warfare, maybe in Iran, maybe elsewhere.
Or if you are a Bush supporter, consider this worst case scenario: It’s 2009. President Hillary Clinton declares martial law, as justified by the law passed under Bush’s watch, in response to a national crisis. Will more rights be eroded? Will more freedoms disappear?
The question could become not what Bush could do; but what those who follow him might do. If you are a student of history, you probably already know that after Hitler had taken power in Germany, many of the changes he made within the country were done legally; due to laws made by the previous administration.
The point of this entire diatribe is that the threats we have been told to be afraid of over the last six years are not as significant as the cancerous threat we fail to acknowledge: ourselves. While many agree that Bush’s actions during his administration have been despicable and/or questionable; and while others agree that they would never want to see Clinton or Obama have the same degree of power Bush has enacted; the real problem is that we are too afraid to rise up.
The concept of standing up for our own freedom is somewhat a terrifying one to many. Isn’t that the sort of thing that was done in the history books? Is there really a need for it in this society in this day and age?
In fact, yes, there is.
Thomas Jefferson once said that, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots”.
The statement holds true today. While no-one is (as of yet) supporting the concept of a new bloody revolution, there is another interpretation that can be made. The “blood” of the patriots could be considered a sacrifice: a sacrifice of your conveniences, perhaps.
My question to you is straight-forward. Are you going to let these infringements on freedom continue on your watch? Is this the legacy you want your children to inherit?
The time to stand is now. It should not be done as liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans.
It should be done as Americans.
“Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression; and where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.”
Take the first step and stand up:
Further Reading, References, and Sources: