Political repression exists in the United States. We are trained to call our country "the land of the free," and "the home of the brave." Well, the first slogan is just plain false. The second slogan remains to be proven.
The masses in Tunisia and Egypt recently proved their bravery. They stood up to their repressive rulers, and forced them out of office. But in America, we lack any conception of who our repressive rulers are, and of how they are repressing us. We would welcome the opportunity to prove our bravery, but we can neither understand nor agree about whom we should rebel against.
Who are our repressors? And, how are they repressing us? Isn't it true that we freely elect our government officials? If so, how can we claim that they are repressing us? It would seem that our bravery goes unproven not because we are afraid to act, but because we simply know of no repressors against whom to rebel. What is there to rebel against?
Indeed, these very questions ARE the obstacles to our rebellion -- and to proving our bravery. Because these questions, and others like them, stymie us, we cannot decide or plan on how to act. We lack the conceptual framework needed to define our repressive situation. Yet our repression takes two forms. One is conceptual. The other is institutional. The ignorance these questions reveal constitutes the conceptual part of our repression. I will discuss the institutional part in a moment.
Fortunately, there is reason for hope. Independents are organizing. That is not easy for them to do. It's not in their nature. But on February 12, 2011, in New York City, the momentum began picking up speed.
That is when some 500 independent activists from all around the country converged on the campus of NYU to share notes and experiences, and to piece together some answers to the questions about who is repressing us, and how they are doing it. The event was hosted by Independentvoting.org.
Several participants shared their experiences of repression. Kathleen Curry , from Colorado, told her story. She was twice elected as a Dem to the state legislature. Through hard work, she rose to the second highest spot, the Colorado House Speaker Pro Tem. She was also Chair of the Agriculture Committee.
But she felt uncomfortable with some of the self-serving tactics the Dems were employing in the legislature. When she spoke up, she was instructed repeatedly that to get along in your career, you must go along with the party leadership. After she voted for a bill introduced by Repubs, because she thought it would benefit the people of her state, she became a pariah to her fellow Dems. Heroically, she kept her moral integrity and followed her own judgment, against the will of her party leadership. In response to the offensive treatment she received from angry Dems, she turned "independent."