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Witness: What We Were; What We Have Become

By       Message Bruce Morris       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   12 comments

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 9/7/08

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We have witnessed a nation founded in revolution against tyranny and arbitrary executive power, morphed into an exaltation of one great and mighty leader as the sole voice of the people’s will, a celebration of unlimited executive power as the only way to protect the people from enemies outside and the enemies lying secretly in wait in our every hometown (pssst, liberals, you know). The Republican regressives have tortured a government entrusted to the people’s elected representatives into a regime ruled by one man who can defy at will the power and laws of the people and their representatives by executive fiat. They are creating a monarchy from a country founded primarily to throw off monarchy and ensure one never again arose.

We have witnessed the party of Abraham Lincoln, our greatest President, uniter of countrymen, freer of slaves, turned into a whites-only country club of open xenophobes, who foster and benefit from racism even as they claim not to be racist, sexism even as they claim to advance a woman, homophobia even as they are homosexual. The party of the President who worried whether America was on God’s side, now worries mainly whether it can fool enough of the people enough of the time to believe God is on their warring, killing, hating side to win elections and rig the system to appropriate the people’s money into their pockets.

We have seen the party whose two great military Presidents (Lincoln and Eisenhower) warned of the dangers of ceding power to a military-industrial complex, wholly and lustily embrace and shill for a permanent corporate-run warfare state as the new savior of American freedom, democracy, and economy. Never mind the cost of thousands of American and millions of other lives, mostly innocent, mostly women and children. Never mind the mangled bodies of thousands more Americans and countless others, the devastated nations and cities, the hollowed-out domestic infrastructure and services, the untold amounts of treasure wasted.

Never mind that they lack the courage to fight themselves, but send the sons and daughters of the poor to do so. Never mind the unfathomable wounding of the heart and soul of the world. Never mind that their other claimed savior would surely weep at their cold and callow disregard for the children of God.

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We have witnessed a nation founded by the some of the most brilliant, sophisticated, classy, and best educated people in history, possessed of spine-tingling eloquence with the tongue and the pen, twisted to distrust the eloquent, resent sophistication and class, and reject the educated as out of touch elitists. We have become a nation that sees mediocrity as the prime virtue in its leaders, poor elocution and grammar as endearing and reassuring, and an advanced vocabulary as a tool of manipulation or of Satan.  We have seen ignorance become a virtue and deftness in feigning ignorance to cleverly trick the actually ignorant become a highly salable skill.

We have seen the spectacle of self-professed Christians urging us to hate our neighbors as we hate our enemies in order to build their political power to further enrich the already excessively wealthy, while reducing or eliminating any assistance or service for the least among us. I will not pull this punch: These people do not love God or Jesus.

They love their reflections in the mirror and in each other’s nearly identical white faces. The love the ability to use God and Jesus to manipulate others to do their bidding.

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They do not love the American people. They love the ability to use up the American people to make them rich and then set the spent workers aside whenever a cheaper opportunity for exploitation becomes available. They love the system they have created that allows them to do this with impunity and turns their victims, should they dare speak out, into pariahs if not criminals.

They do not love freedom or the rights of human beings. They love only the freedom to obey their command and the right to echo their words and ideas.

We have seen a nation built by a vibrant, courageous, death defying free and independent press, allow its press (the media) to become coopted into a propaganda outlet for outsized corporate interests and the empty, meaningless, misleading and often outright false platitudes of the two major parties serving the interests of big money. We have become a nation of journalists and press firms more interested in fame and fortune (profit) than reporting the truth; more interested in questions that please the powerful and ensure future access than questions that challenge, probe, or even attempt to get at facts or the truth. We have some journalistic heroes, for sure, but the major sources of most people’s news comes from the coopted accomplices of the burgeoning corporo-theocratic autocracy.

We have seen a nation hail the civil disobedience of the Boston Tea Party as a proud and courageous act of defiance of arbitrary and unfair power that spurred our movement to freedom and independence, become a nation in which even planning much milder and less destructive forms of lawful protest subjects United States citizens to arrest, indictment and threats of long prison terms. We have seen a people who had been jailed and killed for peaceably assembling to protest government action specifically protect the right to peaceably assemble as a fundamental safeguard of liberty, become a nation in which we are invited to peaceably assemble in an asphalt cage with 10-foot fences rimmed with razor wire befitting a maximum security prison yard, completely out of the sight and hearing of public officials. AND NO ONE CARES!

We have seen a people who believed freedom of speech is the most important safeguard against tyranny become a people afraid to say or write material too radical, too critical of government. Because we have seen a government wisely denied the power to abridge the freedom of speech become a government that punishes criticism first by derision, then by economic punishment, then by cages, then by cops in riot gear and then, and then, Minneapolis St. Paul.

We have seen a nation protect its citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures and against detention without observing the writ of habeas corpus, become a nation in which large numbers of heavily armed police break down doors of POLITICAL OPPONENTS of the government, point automatic weapons at them (and at curious neighbors, including children) and handcuff and throw them on the floor like convicted murderers. All without telling the law-abiding citizens why the police were there, what the people had done wrong, the basis for their alleged warrants and what they were looking for.

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That nation’s police then rummaged through these people’s documents and papers, seizing political documents (the modern day equivalent of Thomas Paine’s pamphlets) and lap-top computers (the modern day equivalent of the printing press).

Now several of these lawfully assembled citizens exercising their free speech rights to speak out against the activities of their government have been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, even though no actual plans to commit terrorism were found, and no weapons or other materials that could even arguably be considered vehicles of terrorism were uncovered. Nope, the charges are based exclusively on the word of secret government informants and "supported" only by the presence of constitutionally protected political documents and plans for a lawful protest.

That is correct. Political dissidents were stormed with gun wielding cops, handcuffed, arrested and charged with planning to commit a crime against the state all based on the claims of secret government informants.

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Bruce is 46 year-old father of one, stepfather of three and grandfather of two, who left a lucrative law practice at a large national law firm to work, advocate and write for social justice and equality and find a way to incorporate a spiritual life (more...)

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