Once upon a time I was proud to be an American. Now, at the age of 55, I find myself deeply embarrassed to call myself one. The values we once stood for as a country: honor, justice, democracy and freedom, those which I grew up with believing were the sacred hallmark of our great nation, now gag in my throat. Where has it all gone wrong?
"The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. it is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists." -- G.K. Chesterton
The Orwellian future, we were again forewarned of, had come to pass and with it our freedoms were justifiably reasoned away from us, one by one. Through the media and our government's posturing of itself as the higher authority, we had been successfully programmed into a faithful and subservient condition which left us cowardly impotent ask basic questions about the integrity of information we were being told our military was acting on. Why, we naively thought, would anyone lie to us about there being bad people, boogie men and terrorists? Clearly, based on the values we felt our country stood for, we would only go to war with another country if we had first exhausted all other options, right? Our desire to feel safe and be able to trust the wiser and greater of power seemed backed by assurances that they knew who and where the bad people were, and that they had them under dutiful control. It was OK, we thought, to go on about our normal life and pursue the American Dream.
"A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy." -- Aldous Huxley
Our Nation's great resounding Liberty Bell, that once rang clear with the Declaration of Independence and proclaimed our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, now sounded off pitch and broken. The Bill of Rights which had been clearly set forth as means of protecting our basic civil rights of: freedom of speech and peaceable protest, now seem marginalized. Our powerful Constitution further protected these rights with necessary checks and balances on the House, Senate, and Executive Branches to ensure our government served its people, and was always safeguarded against a dictatorial rule, or so we thought.
"Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it." -- Lysander Spooner
Our once liberating bell of freedom now fell silently. In its' place, the drumbeat of terrorism became deafening. Still, the idealism of our great Liberty Bell would not go unheard. Many who could read the signs hoped that it was not to late, that the true ring of the bell would live onward and not fade from memory. Could the spirit of our nation's people come to life again to reclaim our liberty, or would our collective consciousness succumb to ignorance, fear of the boogie man and a political apathy? Only time would tell.
"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day." -- Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety." As people of the "land of the free and home of the brave" it is important to question: Are we willing to give up our right to privacy and allow our government to spy on us, our presidents, to without quantifiable justification and minimum checks and balances preemptively declare and enact war on a nation he (and/or she) feels may harm us? Will we sit back and allow our government to fill other countries skies with Drones which bring terror to the heart and rob the eye of a vision of the heavenly and Divine. What God would allow any race of humans such power over another. What God would allow any group of people to take with indifference, the innocent lives of untold numbers children and families? Inflicting such horrors, as we now do, how could our government think it possible to win the heart's of other people and set the stage for peaceful diplomacy with another country?
"As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty ...where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy." -- Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Letters
If we give up our rights to peaceably gather, protest and to question the motives of our elected officials under the cowardly fear of being labeled unpatriotic, then clearly, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, we deserve neither liberty nor safety. We appear to be on track, as planned, to succumb to the paranoiac and insistent boil of fear and terrorism as feed through the media and those who pull at the strings of power. If this happens and we do not move quickly, then like a frog placed in a pan of cool water on a stovetop...we will not discern the change in the water's temperature as it is steeped to a boil. Jump, as it (or we) could out of the pan at any time, the frog never does, and thus dies as a result of confusion while in the boiling water.
"Virtue comes through contemplation of the divine, and the exercise of philosophy. But it also comes through public service. The one is incomplete without the other. Power without wisdom is tyranny; wisdom without power is pointless." -- Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio
In Proverbs, so states the Bible, "Where there is no vision the people perish." Imagine the power of love and the mission for good that we as individuals and collectively could have, if the heart our leadership and governance was truly reflective of the standard of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, as sacred, for ALL. If each of us reclaimed our personal power and chose with wisdom, leadership that represented the highest good for all people, then surely we would not perish, surely, we would only thrive. Perhaps then, with such a vision we will have the courage to peer over the crumbling walls of nationalistic boundaries and also see, with awareness, the love inherent to all religious teachings. Perhaps then we will be able to look with great and loving compassion into the eyes of all humanity, seeing them as our friends and recognizing each as our brothers and sisters. Is this not the vision of America's founding Fathers? Truly, with such a vision realized, anyone would be proud to proclaim that they live in America and more importantly, stand as a global citizen of the human race. Clearly, love is, the other way. (Part 3 of 3)