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Cutting the String that Binds Us

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Most of us believe in the basic decency of our fellow human beings. We believe that given the facts good people will do the right thing --at least a substantial majority of them will. Those in power apparently believe this too because they go to extraordinary lengths to keep the truth hidden from public view. This connotes a belief on some level that the citizenry not only has power -- but when organized, it has extraordinary power. Short of a full blown dictatorship, without the consent of the governed, those in power cannot govern. We should never concede power to anyone who would use it against us.

Unfortunately, most Americans do not share the belief that they have political power beyond the right to vote. I have witnessed this belief many times during my lifetime. I have encountered it while trying to organize the work place against corporate tyranny. I have seen it when trying to stop the invasion of Iraq by the forces of empire. The belief that we have no power will only assure powerlessness. It is a self defeating attitude that breeds contempt for both democracy and for truth. It is the kind of defeatist thinking that fosters citizen apathy. Ultimately, it leads to fascism. That is where we find ourselves today.

When I was a child I heard a story about an elephant that was immobilized because it was tied to a hitching post. This enormous and powerful creature was not tied by a thick rope or a heavy steel chain. It was tethered by a long piece of thin string. In reality, however, what tethered the elephant was the belief that a tiny piece of skinny string could prevent it from breaking free. Millions of ordinary Americans find themselves parlayed from exercising their personal and political power by similar beliefs. These beliefs do not serve the ideals of civil liberties and democratic participation we claim to hold dear --they serve the interest of power and empire. It is our beliefs that will determine our destiny as individuals and as a nation.

Politicians who have come into power by illegitimate means will go to extraordinary lengths to keep truth out of the public arena. Maintaining their hold on power depends upon it, if given the facts --decent people will do the right thing. The only way for them to retain their hold on power is by criminally coercive means --the very means that swept them into power in the first place. There is compelling evidence that suggests that Bush and company stole two presidential elections and got away with it.

Nothing is given without a demand. When bullies terrorize the school yard the only way to get rid of them is by standing up to them --preferably as group. As a people we must find the courage to stand up to the terrorists who are running this government. I realize there is a big difference between bullies and terrorists. The latter are extremely dangerous, heavily armed, and fortified by the trappings of power. They control every branch of the government. They have control of the court system. They own the commercial media that shapes public opinion. We have allowed the mechanisms of government to fall into the hands of fascists because of our complacency; and now we are suffering the consequences. It happened because every step along the way we believed that we did not have the power to stop it. We believed the lies told by the corporate media over public owned airwaves.

If those in power did not know that the people have power they would simply dictate policy. That day is coming. Martial law is only one Red Alert away. Creating the lies that keep the masses under control is expensive. It requires enormous energy and resources. The danger always exists within the halls of power that truth will leak out. It is this fear that keeps the enemies of democracy awake at night. This is why the monsters who are controlling the apparatus of government in America have found it necessary to seize control of every branch of government, the courts and the commercial media.


Not only will the truth set us free; it will shine rays of hope through the mists of deception that keep figurative elephants tethered to hitching posts by pieces of string.

Americans find themselves in a most peculiar situation. Those in control of the government, by whatever means they got there, fear the power that too many of us do not think we have. The heavy chains of steel that we perceive keep us from acting in our own interest have been forged in the public mind with the aid of the commercial media --a media that is owned by five major corporations. Those weighty chains are really nothing more than a skinny piece of string. Not only do we have power, we have enormous potential to act in the public interest. It is the kind of power that when organized and mobilized, even the most criminal elements of government cannot resist. We have only to evoke this power --to use it in the service of justice. There are episodes in the history of our country when this has happened. Revolution lies in what we choose to believe about ourselves.

 

Charles Sullivan is a photographer, social activist and free lance writer residing in the hinterland of West Virgina.

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