On September 10, 2001, I was an average citizen. On September 11, the day the world changed forever, I witnessed two presumably hijacked commercial airliners crash into the World Trade Center. A third supposedly hit the Pentagon, but eyewitness reports state the object was more likely a missile. I had my doubts, but I kept silent.
I mourned, and then went about my business, working and encouraging my young adults to find their way in the world. I saw the gradual encroachment of freedoms over the next few years. I saw the rise of the wealthy and the increasing discontent of the other 98 percent, most of it caused by corporate and government corruption, and said nothing. When President Bush went into Afghanistan, I assumed he knew what he was doing. The terrorists had to be stopped, Osama Bin Laden found and prosecuted. When Bush went into Iraq on March 20, 2003, the Shock and Awe coverage unnerved me - I had never seen a foreign city bombed so thoroughly on live television - but I held my tongue and assumed those in charge knew what they were doing. They were calling it Operation Iraqi Freedom. How could I oppose that? If I spoke against war, or the murder of people who had done nothing more than worship a different face of God, I spoke very softly.
When Vice President Cheney began talking about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in 2002, I supposed him a protector. When, in February of that same year, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson investigated and disproved the administration's claims that Iraq had attempted to buy yellowcake (a crude form of uranium), I went along with the general consensus that Wilson was a malcontent and Bush was correct, in his January 2003 state of the union address, to ignore Wilson's findings. When Wilson later wrote a scathing op-ed for the New York Times, and his wife's status as a top-level CIA analyst was "leaked", I assumed it was more political infighting and held my tongue, even though the danger to Valerie Plame was evident.
When two years passed without anyone discovering these WMDs, I started to wonder. Meanwhile, we added to the death toll of 9/11 with another 2,766 soldiers dead, and finally captured and executed Saddam Hussein in 2006. No doubt he was an atrocious human being, but - as it turns out - probably no worse than his primary opponents, Bush and Cheney, who jointly have enough blood on their hands to qualify for the Hitler Awards. Still, I remained silent.
When, in 2005, the administration first started talking about a fence between Mexico and the U.S., I thought it was for security purposes. I didn't realize that the primary purpose behind establishing the US Department of Homeland Security (which took over the INS), and curbing immigration, was a future state in which citizens would be indentured servants under a political system best described as a non-representative oligarchy, and would be subject to imprisonment in regional detainment camps if they dared disagree openly. The recent move against the FLDS, the most powerful and largest separatist movement in the U.S. (not all of whose members are pedophelic polygamists) is the opening sally in this war. Depriving parents of their children is a non-verbal declaration of that war.
On April 16, 2008, I watched the ABC Democratic debate between presidential hopefuls Clinton and Obama, which the media succeeded in trivializing as only talking heads can do. When it was over, I realized that our future president had already been selected, by invisible powers, pollsters, talksters and politicians on the right. There was no longer any need to vote. In fact, voting had become an illusory tool given to the powerless to them to keep them from outright revolt. I couldn't take it any more, so I unleashed my rage, broke my silence and wrote this, along with a letter to the editor of a major newspaper stating that the only responsible course left to a concerned citizen was to take a bullet in the name of democracy, which is dying faster than the icecaps.
Next month, or even next year, I expect men in dark suits to show up and ask me some very pointed questions. I will make no apologies. No one need come to my defense, if indeed there is anyone left who can. I didn't speak up when I should have, and now I My wish I had.
(My votes go to this YouTube poster, who has posted the most poignant video of the failure of democracy in the U.S. I have ever seen. If you can't follow the link, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMt3p_xDAoU)