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It's Time to Re-Declare Independence - Politically, Economically and Spiritually

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Reading is the primary vehicle of human knowledge. "Enlighten the people generally," said Jefferson, "and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day."

On the images of gold
On the weapons of the warriors
On the crown of the king
I write your name

It's sad to see so many of justice's voices fall silent when the Commander in Chief has a "D" next to his party affiliation. Flying robots are indiscriminately murdering civilians around the globe (we interviewed Pakistan's Minister of Human Rights about it), and our President reserves the right to kill foreign civilians and American citizens without a trial or a declaration of war.

His opponents go even further, condemning a billion Muslims as incarnations of evil and enemies to be destroyed. Those who accept this agenda of hate forget the words of Andre Gide: "There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them."

There certainly aren't a billion of them.

When our nation kills lawlessly, it leaves each of us with a moral stain. The independent conscience calls on us to condemn the wrongs done by our political allies as much as -- more than -- those of our opponents. You can't outsource your conscience - not to a politician, however charismatic, and not to a party.

"When men yield up the privilege of thinking," said Paine, "the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon."

On all my scarves of blue
On the moist sunlit swamps
On the living lake of moonlight
I write your name

As the world begins to smolder from climate change, as the seas rise and we see foreshadowings of the great migrations and epidemics to come, we're doing virtually ... nothing.

On the fields, on the horizon
On the birds' wings
And on the mill of shadows
I write your name

The US Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers and other corporate masters are fighting for the right to pollute, stain and destroy. They pervert and subvert democracy to push their quarterly bottom line, embodying the words of the poet Robinson Jeffers: "The human race is bound to defile whatever they can reach or name ... they'd sh*t on the morning star if they could reach (it)."

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Have we laid ourselves on the line to defend democracy from them, or have we surrendered to the "art of the possible" -- where they decide what's possible? "Let them call me a rebel and welcome," said Thomas Paine. "I feel no concern from it. But I should suffer the misery of devils were I to make a prostitute of my soul."

On the flickering figures
On the bells of colors
On the natural truth
I write your name

But if we have a tendency to defile, to sell that which isn't ours to sell, we're also the race of whom Paine wrote, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."

We've restarted the world before, and we can do it again. But the corporate right-wing movement is dedicated to the greatest act of political vandalism in our history: the destruction of our government institutions. We'll lose our power to reshape the world if we over-indulge a political proclivity for compromising too easily with vandals.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue," said Paine, "but moderation in principle is always a vice." It takes independence of thought to know one from the other.

On the high paths
On the mass-traveled routes
On the crowd-thronged square
I write your name

The squares and streets are crowded with cynics and conformists who have surrendered to corporate forces, but Jefferson never did. He wanted to "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Jefferson said that "banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies."

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Where are the prosecutions, Mr. President?

Anatole France wrote that "The poor have to labour in the face of the majestic equality of the law, which forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." But it's not even clear that the rich are as forbidden as the poor to commit fraud, perjury, and forgery. We must demand better from our leaders.

Be forewarned: Our leaders probably won't thank us for it. Independent thought isn't for the faint of heart. It's a long road, a rough road.

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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to check these sites, if they already haven't:&nbs... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:17:13 PM
The only way to achieve independence from corporat... by Rick Staggenborg, MD on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:21:04 PM
Great article Richard. I wrote a short piece a... by Gary Brumback on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 3:59:53 PM
It made me think of the America I once knew - or a... by Suzana Megles on Thursday, Jul 5, 2012 at 6:02:58 PM
The Texas Republican Party just declared th... by rob Chapman on Friday, Jul 6, 2012 at 10:15:58 AM