That ringing in our ears isn't tinnitus; it's our consciences reminding us of a moral fact: Even if the matter of culpability has been diluted by millions of others who also cast the ballots, we must share the blame, when there's blame that ought to be borne. Or, as Pastor Martin NiemÃ¶ller provocatively proposed:
First they came for the communists
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
If the relevance of the preceding, to the need to be a citizen and actively involved -- even if that "active involvement" is limited to becoming and being well informed -- in the preservation of the civilized society we were graced to be born into seems obscure, how about Martin Luther King Jr's, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"?
Every one of us has an important role to play in either the maintenance or the dissolution of our democratic republic. And we play it -- whether we want to, or not -- with our actions, or our failures to act. One either seizes the keys to the republic, or we hand them over to someone else, or we permit that someone else to take them from us. No matter which, we were personally responsible for that which happened next; the good and the bad. But that's what being a responsible adult is all about, isn't it?
After all, there does exist an exquisite distinction that separates "I won't" from "I can't."
A majority of 35-plus year-old Americans have seen their individual net worth drop as if according to a Newtonian principle of gravity. Their home equity has vanished. The value in their 401k's has plummeted. And whatever values they may have had in external stock portfolios have pretty much evaporated. Now, the United States Supreme Court's ultra-conservative, corporatist majority has decided, in a 5-4 straight party line vote, that, even if the perpetrator of the shenanigans that were the proximate cause of the loss were guilty as charged, and even if they admitted to the very wrong-doing, they can escape the financial consequences of their deprecations. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/business/14bizcourt.html?ref=januscapitalgroup )
Those who voted to elect Ronald Wilson Reagan as president, also voted to see Antonin Scalia confirmed as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.
Those who voted to elect Ronald Wilson Reagan as president, also voted to see Anthony Kennedy confirmed as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.
Those who voted to elect Vice-President George Herbert Walker Bush as president, also voted to see Clarence Thomas confirmed as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.
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