While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years. Abraham Lincoln
Most of us watched the beginning of the mad money grab that began the day after Gore conceded and the Bush corporate presidency set up shop in the heart of the Washington business district. I'm baffled by the shortage of outrage. Maybe it's on a slow-burn; Maybe we are just waiting to vote again.
One thing is certain; If we leave this bunch in power, the call for an American revolution will mark every expression of dissent in and out of this country.
I am dumbfounded by the extent that the majority of people don't seem to care enough to involve themselves in opposing even the most pernicious actions of this administration. And then I reflect back to the stolen election. Why didn't the people take to the streets, like we did when the president pulled the nation into his false, vengeful war, and demand that the votes were counted?
Why did the people deflate when the unelected Supreme court ruled? Would we, if given the chance, elect this or any sad pack of justices that clings to power like none other in our democracy?
We must care enough to involve ourselves in every instigation of democracy which confronts us. Our government is a reflection of everything we choose to neglect and every cynical impulse we reflect. Bill Clinton once said that "cynicism is a luxury."
Those in power who are motivated by greed will show up every day to collect their share, and ours as well. Can we afford to turn away and let all of the negative influences have the floor to themselves?
We have to come to grips with our individual responsibility to vigilance. We have to show up every day to make certain the government is representing all of the people; not just the corporate few who show up every day to collect our money. They will always fill the halls of Congress with their favors, bribes, and obstruction.
As my old friend, Guy Washington used to say, "Good always leaves, but bad comes to stay."
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must continue to advocate and petition our government to work for peace- here in the United States and around the world- with our voices, with our written appeals and protests, and with our actions.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must keep ourselves informed about those issues and concerns which we entrust to the bidding of those in Congress; and we must thoroughly involve ourselves in the process of resolving those issues and concerns in tandem with our legislators by challenging ourselves to read, watch and listen; with a respect and a desire for understanding of differing views and opinions in our deliberation and debate.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must, in our respect for democracy, value and protect the right to vote. With our full participation in the voting process we promote respect for our nation and each other, and help ensure an equal chance for representation for all of our citizens in the deliberations of our government. Our vote is the instrument of our collective conscience and our warrant to the realization of our freedom, our liberty, and our well-being.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must challenge our government, ourselves, and one another, to act with more mercy and compassion as we marshal our resources to aid communities; to alleviate hunger, at home and around the world.
We must challenge ourselves to provide for the health needs of all of those who fall ill or injured in this country; to reach out to other countries to assist in the halting of the effects of deadly, infectious diseases and other illnesses; to provide full support and access for those with disabilities and handicaps.
We must challenge our government to make certain that there is adequate, safe, affordable housing for all; to provide emergency aid and assistance for our country; and when needed around the world, to distribute these resources and this assistance in an equitable manner.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must demand that our government promote and practice respect for the environment in our own lands and with respect for the sovereignty of those lands which don't belong to us. We must maintain these values as we protect the ground, water, and the air against pollution and abuse, by government, from industry, or from individuals.
We must challenge our government and ourselves to advocate and enforce these values; through the regulation of industry and of individuals; through enactment and enforcement of environmental laws; by our stewardship and expansion of those lands we recognize and designate as vital to the preservation of our ecosystem, to wildlife, and to the safety of the citizens of our communities; by the respect for and the preservation of the balance of all of nature and its right to coexist with humanity without risk of devastation, destruction, or disruption, or neglect.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must foster and nurture our respect for each other; in the sharing of our burdens; in our willingness to make reasonable compromises; in our awareness and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the least fortunate among us.
We must foster and nurture our respect for each other in the acceptance and appreciation of our differences- not merely to tolerate them- but to explore, celebrate and learn from our different backgrounds, our different abilities, our diverse heritages and nationalities, and our many different religions and beliefs.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must challenge our government, and ourselves, to be humble; in our words and in our actions; in our acceptance of our mistakes; to admit when we act wrongfully as nations and individuals; to bend ourselves to judgement and lend our support to justice; and to accept our limitations and to accept help when offered.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we must instill in our lives and encourage in the acts of our government, a faithfulness to the values of honesty, integrity, and justice.
We must challenge and demand from our government, a respect for the privacy of individuals; the rights of individuals to due process of law; protection from unlawful or unreasonable surveillance and searches; protection from any actions by governments, groups, or individuals to suppress protest, dissent or disagreement.
We must challenge and demand from our government, protection from unlawful or unreasonable arrest, detention, separation or deportation; and the rights of individuals to be informed and to inform others of actions by the government or its agents to restrict, degrade, or eviscerate their life, liberty, safety, or freedom.
Through our virtue and our vigilance we expect and demand protection by our government from injury, abuse, exploitation, corruption, or enslavement.
We demand protection of our natural resources from theft, abuse, or neglect, as well as, insurance against the unforseen, sometimes destructive force of nature.
We demand protection and defense against workplace abuse, accident, or neglect; defense against those who would do us harm, either as individuals or as a nation; and protection from the unreasonable and unlawful excesses and tyrannies of the majorities, in our government and wherever they threaten.
At Edwardsville, Illinois, on September 11, 1858, President Abraham Lincoln said, "What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence is not our frowning battlements, our bristling seacoast, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not the reliance against the resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle."
"Our reliance is in the love of liberty, which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is the preservation of the spirit, which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere." Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your down doors."
"Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage," Lincoln warned, and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you."
This government and this administration have become accustomed to trampling, and bondage. And we have allowed them to skirt accountability for their sly justifications for their attacks on our civil liberties; demagogic appeals to patriotism and to our nationalism; the deliberate inflaming, and careful stoking of the sparks of fear that flashed from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center; and the mortgaging of ours and our children's future toil and tribute to the subsidizing of both of the Bush president's bloody and costly wars of opportunity.
We are not any safer for our invasion of the sovereign nation of Iraq. In our occupation, we contradict the most basic of our nation's values of freedom, liberty, and democracy. With our theft of the industry and resources of Iraq, our country has joined the long line of oppressors and brutal opportunists who have sought to dominate this region for greed and power.
History will wonder at our arrogance, and at our inability to restrain our military and its agents from pursuing ambitions far outside of the mandate of our constitution or conscience. We can scarcely hope to repair the injustice and the pain which our great and powerful nation has caused, around the world and here at home; through our greed, with our zeal, and by our neglect.
But we must try.
Here's to the next-generation of patriots. Here's to the new defenders of liberty, freedom, and democracy. Here's to the end of the reign of this two-percent confederation of corporate interests.Ron Fullwood is a political writer living in Columbia, Md. He is a member of the Howard County Coalition for Peace and Justice. He maintains a non-commercial website named http://www.returningsoldiers.us
Excerpt from the book by Ron Fullwood (me), 'Power Of Mischief