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George Washington, George III, George Bush: If Thomas Paine Were Here, Part 1

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Thomas Paine and his fellow traitor to the
Crown and champion of democracy George Washington must be standing at
the Gates
of heaven and pounding the table while
they call down to us with outrage about
what we do.

This is the first in a series of notes that will
be followed by actionable suggestions on
matters such as the future of Air America
and its possible alliance with grassroots
and blogs for mutual empowerment; a
call to action against dangers of scandal
or outrages in a Congressional election
that could be a repeat of 2000; and ending
the Republican Senate cover-up of the
remainder of the Intelligence Committee
report that could prove false statements,
potentially before Congressional Committees
involving pre-war intelligence, that must not
be covered up until after the election.

Here, we set the stage, and define the
mission:

Never before in the history of the Republic
have the politics of fear been used so ignobly
to put our freedoms under basic attack.

Never before in the history of the Republic
have those freedoms been surrendered so
casually, so fearfully, so timidly. and so
meekly by a society that so easily forgets
about the rivers of blood of American heroes
who died to give us what we so casually, so
fearfully, so timidly and so meekly surrender today.

One personal note. I have faced enough
danger in my life, as have many of you.
And I live and work at the epicenter of
the next major terrorist attack, if and when
there is one, yards from the World Bank,
blocks from the White House, and if there
is a significant terrorist attack in our capital
I might well be dead.

But I will tell you this: I will be damned if I
will surrender even one of my rights, even
one of your rights, even one of America's
first principles, for somebody else's politics,
or somebody else's fear. And I do not believe
you would either.

I do not refer to what might happen. I refer
to the freedoms that have already been
surrendered, largely without a fight, though
I propose that those who cannot decide
whether voting is worth the effort, consider
what these people would do if there is another
terrorist attack, a prospect that would make
George Washington tremble with anger and make Tom Paine pound his fist
with rage.

George Washington crossed the Delaware
with troops risking death in a river frozen
with ice on a Christmas Eve, rallying them
to courage, on behalf of a banner of freedom
that they hoped, and prayed, and fought to
make timeless.

George Bush implores our people to be
afraid, and wants people to think: we may
not be comfortable with a President who
claims the unilateral power to abrogate the
Bill of Rights and violate Federal Law at will with a signing statement,
but he makes us feel a little bit safer, so it's ok. And so it
happened.

Praise the Lord that the troops that crossed
the Delaware with Washington were made of sterner stuff than those who
let this happen.

George Washington lived with his troops at Valley Forge, where many died
of famine,
while others died with their bare feet bleeding
into the ice, and he rallied them with bravery,
for a cause greater than themselves, greater
than their lives, greater even than the Nation
they created and the times they lived in.

George Bush tells us to be afraid watching
our television sets from the safety of our
living rooms, and wants us to think: we may
be uncomfortable when tens of millions of us are spied on, when the
Congress and Courts are not permitted to know, when even our newspapers
of record are labelled as traitors, but it makes us feel a litte bit
safer, so its ok. And so it happened.

Praise the Lord that the Continental Army
was made of men and women with sterner
stuff than this.

Thomas Paine wrote one of the great best
sellers in human history, gave his money to
the troops, and travelled with Washington and
the soldiers into battle. At the most dangerous hours of what Paine
called The American Crisis
he would put pen to paper, believing that the
sun never shined on a greater cause than this, and rallied the nation to
greater heights of
courage, while he rallied the troops to greater
bravery in battle.

Standing at the banks of the Delaware about
to cross into what may be the single greatest
epic battle for freedom in history, facing long
odds and the prospect that defeat could spell
doom for the cause they loved so deeply,
Washington read to cheering troops these
words by Thomas Paine as they prepared
to man the boats and charge into battle:

"These are the times that try men's souls.
The summer soldier and the sunshine
patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
service of this country; but he that stands
it now, deserves the love and thanks of
man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is
not easily conquered; yet we have this
consolation with us, the harder the conflict,
the more glorious the triumph. What we
obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly".

George Bush implores us to be afraid, and
unlike Washington quoting Paine to cheering
soldiers, wants us to think like this: we may
be a bit uncomfortable with an executive so
unilaterally powerful it has much in common
with the British crown, with secret after secret
kept from the American people who like sheep
are no longer allowed to know, with a Congress
that accepts the treatment of the vassal, and
courts that too often are no longer permitted
to know any more than our people, but it makes
us feel safer, so its ok. And so it happened.

Praise the Lord that the patriots who rallied to
the cause at Lexington and Concord were
made of sterner stuff than this.

George Washington faced many dark days
when the Continental Army appeared doomed
to defeat, when his advisors urged him to
approve torture against the captured troops
of the Crown. Washington said NO, we need
not do these things to win, and if we do, we
lose the specialness and power and wonder
of what makes America America. Thomas
Paine said, loudly and often, when the great
notion of America was challenged from any
direction: In America, the Law is King.

George Bush beseeches us to be afraid,
and wants us to think like this: we may be
uncomfortable with the use of torture that
is opposed and condemned by every leader
of every democratic country everywhere in
the world, we may be uncomfortable with
tactics opposed by every branch of our
military at every level of command, we may
not be comfortable with abuses condemned by every leader of every
religion except for the mullahs who advise the murderers, but it
makes us feel a little safer, so it is ok. And
so it has happened.

Praise the Lord that those who rang that bell
on that July 4 in Philadelphia, all called traitors in their time, were
made of sterner stuff than this.

George Washington believed that politics
must be a noble profession, that the unity
of the Nation is the first principle in the
conduct of war, that power must be used wisely, and the greatest
obligation of the
most powerful is to know when to stand
aside for the better interests of the country.

When the Continental Army had triumphed
Geoge Washington had the power to be
the King, but he chose to go home instead,
believing too much power is unhealthy for
our democracy. When Washington served
brilliantly as our first President, he had the
power to remain President for life, but chose
again to yield power and the presidency to
others, in the higher interests of our democracy.

George Bush implores our people to be afraid,
and wants us to think like this: we may be
uncomfortable with our nation so deliberately
divided, with so much of our politics to be
so disastrously disgusting and distrusted,
with even heroes in the other party demeaned
for their very acts of heroism, but if those
who oppose him can be portrayed in the
most grotesque ways as friends of the
terrorists or enemies of the State, our
country may more divided, but we are more
afraid, so its ok. And so it has happened.

Praise the Lord that the colonial armies that marched on Yorktown were
made of sterner and nobler stuff than this.

What is missing from our country at this time,
is any serious debate on the enormous stakes
that are involved, and the enormous dangers
that await a continuation of a one party
government, without any checks and balances,
flouting the values that have been protected
for more than two hundred years, with a
nation more divided than at any moment
since the Civil War, with policies that anger
and alienate the decent opinion of freedom's
friends throught the world, with actions that
are alien to the first principles of our American
democracy.

The deadly sin of the Bush presidency, is that
they mock George Washington by trying to make us afraid, and they use
that fear, to mock what Washington and Paine and all others fought for.
These are not differences of degree, or distinctions of policy. These
are defamations
against our democracy, the first principles
of our freedom, the core of our constitution,
the profoundly patriotic notion that in America
the Law is the King, as Paine wrote, and that
in America the King is Not the law, as the merchandisers of fear want
the timid and afraid to so meekly accept.

The Bill of Rights, the rule of law, the freedom
of the press, the protection against the King
knocking on our doors at night without warrant,
the protection against government spying on
us without Courts or the Congress being made aware, the notion of
America as a family rather than warring clans of domestic enemies, the
respect for first principles of democracies everywhere, the defense
against practices that violate the common spirit of the great religions
of the world, and more, and more.

These matters go the heart of the character of our country, issues that
determine whether we believe in the values and instituions of George
Bush, George Washington or George III.

Heaven help us, if we are attacked again,
and those who merchandise the selling of
fear in service to their ambition of the
surrender of our liberties, use even that
failure, to create even more fear, to seize
even more power, to attack even more
freedom, in their endless obsession to
win at all costs, to rule without limits,
and to demean their fellow patriots with
no regard to honor, integrity and truth.

What is striking is not only the Draconian
danger of the merchandising of fear and monopolization of power that
would follow
another terrorist attack, but the Draconian
fact of what has already happened, what
fundamental freedoms have already been
stripped away with barely a fight, and hardly
a debate, about the first principles of freedom, democracy, liberty and
law.

The real heroes of America are sent to battle
in faraway lands, wisely or not, while the
society at home that pays no price for their
sacrifice, makes no sacrifice of their own,
cannot even provide them with enough
bandages and helmets and armor, sits
in the safety of our homes bartering away
our freedoms, surrending so many of our
rights, persuaded by the sales forces of
fear while they listen to their IPODs or
watch their television screens and so
casually give away freedoms they esteem
so lightly, which Paine said we must hold
so dearly, and fight for so hard.

For those who populate the Loyal Opposition,
what is striking is their sense of business as
usual, their internecine rivalries rather than
a fight for our lives for the things that are
most important, the lethargy of the leaders,
the fippancy of the financiers, and the
deadwood of insiderism of a party that too
often appears too accustomed to losing,
too weak to wage the fight to win, and too
lacking in first principles to understand the magnitude of the stakes,
or the urgency
of the mission.

I and others have written about how we can
win, and we will have more to say as this
epic event unfolds. The President's popularity
is rising again; the forces of intimidation and
fear are taking their toll; even timid television
networks are capable of running films that
exploit fear to corrupt our sacred moments
in what border on propaganda films of the
State; polls are beginning to show the race
for Congress is narrowing and we now enter
seven weeks in which they will throw at us
an unprecedented barrage of slanders and
fear.

Each and every one of us will have to think
and act, to work and dream, like George
Washington reading those words of Thomas
Paine to courageous colonists who pounded
their fists, and jumped into their boats, and
got off at the South Bank of the Delaware to
charge into the fight they won, for the values
we fight for today, and will no longer surrender
to any one, on any day, any more.

Each and every one of us can find our own barricade to man, our own
battle station
to defend, our own personal and individual
way with our money, our time, our brains,
our energy, our hearts, our soul, our feet
and our spirit for our America and the
America that has always a beacon of
hope for our people and people everywhere.

Dreaming of the American Revolution for
freedom before the fight was even begun,
Thomas Paine wrote these words, his vision
that can be our vision, for the day this fight
is finally won:

"The air, purged of its poisonous vapors, was fresh and healthy. The
dried fountains were
replenished; the waters sweet and wholesome.
The sickly earth, recovered to new life,
abounded with vegetation. The groves
were musical with innumerable songsters,
and the long deserted fields echoed with
the joyous sound...."

That day will come. God Bless America.

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