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"Common Sense Revisited"--My Word to Citizens and Government

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Message Dave Spencer

The world of today is a dangerous place, and we endure much in this time that is at the very least unfortunate, sad, and contrary to the hope of many visionaries throughout history that labored for so much better, as do many of us who work and remain hopeful, in our present time.

It is now some 237 years after Thomas Paine published his revolutionary title Common Sense that so profoundly affected public opinion toward the reasons the citizens of this land should stand up against tyranny and become a separate people.  It is so unfortunate that not much has truly changed in our condition in spite of our experiences and the strong voices for social progress and timely political maturity that have come and gone over the years.  We mourn the loss and present lack of leaders such as Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jay; Lincoln, Roosevelt, Warren, and Kennedy.  We miss Congressional heroes such as Clay, Crockett, Webster, Powell, and Margaret Chase Smith.  

There are those of us who mourn the historic loss of the influence of such indigenous leaders as Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Nicholas, Ben, and Wallace Black Elk, Wilma Mankiller, and Mildred Cleghorn. We mourn and miss such people as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and even such influential public figures as astronaut Neil Armstrong and actor Andy Griffith.  We fondly recall and are inspired by all the contributions those people made to whom we are today as Americans, as we are often reminded of the importance of the costs of the defense of our national existence by the honors we show our fallen warriors and the evidence we see in our communities of the sometimes homeless, medically infirm, or mentally broken veterans--citizens who volunteered to fight the wars our government deemed necessary so the rest of the people could live and rest, secure and well.

It is unfortunate, after all this time, that, while we mourn the loss of famous celebrities, government figures, and historical influences, while we obligate ourselves the time to watch stupid TV and play mindless or even antisocially-framed games on the Internet, we make so little time in our lives to look at ourselves--collectively as a nation, and as individuals--and make efforts to improve the moment and the place in which we are, and in our social and political circumstances.  While this is one of the most important foundational principles both of a sustainable democracy and a vital and civil society, many people today neglect the responsibility which is ours in terms of the social and political contracts under which our forebears bound themselves over 200 years ago, at the time when Benjamin Franklin posed the question, "Now you have a republic.  What are you going to do with it?" 

We are all so busy enjoying the fruits of profitable endeavors, or slaving to survive in this hellish economic (and biological) climate that we have let many of the plain and precious truths of the promise the people envisioned as the current Constitution was ratified and this "Great Experiment" was set underway be usurped and trampled by the very institutions we put in place to protect our freedoms and those precious "unalienable rights" in the first place.  While we make time for "The Big Bang", "The Office", and "Family Guy", our elected Representatives and Senators play political football with our very economic and social existence, but we have no time to learn about that and get involved to fight against it. 

People listen to radio and TV pundits who are so very good at propagandizing us with uneducated and deceptive, if not outright untruthful, opinions for which they get paid handsomely by those whose agendas they serve.  Because citizens have become simply dependent on some authoritative voice to tell us "facts" and what to believe about them, many do not even have their own opinions about issues, because they haven't studied them in the first place, and they simply internalize what they are told to believe, and they vote, if at all, simply for the politician who looks best on TV and has the most appealing political advertisements.  Many of the political ads only purport to tell the citizenry why we should not vote for the other person and there are many that are not even regulated for truth or efficacy and are proven wrong time and again by the so-called "fact-checkers" but they continue to promote the lie anyway while the people avoid the obvious by thinking, "Why would the government have to lie?"

The government has plenty about which to lie, and many of us out here are neither that ignorant nor stupid, as to simply believe what we are told or what we see or hear from our Congressional delegates or the handsomely paid "talking heads" of the mainstream media.  So many questions are unanswered about many things during this past few decades that impact our alliances and foreign policy today, and even the domestic policy that is impacting us now, especially in these hard times.  Almost every Congressional Representative and Senator in office today has reaped the generous benefits of bribes from moneyed lobbyists of all kinds to advance their specific agendas, from Wall Street to Big Oil to Big Pharma to Big Ag, and others simply rich enough to influence government to act on their whims.  How much louder is the jingle of that money in the politicians' pockets than the voice of the people?    

Those of us who know what really happened at Pearl Harbor recognize the very real possibility that 9-11 was another of the same--a heinous act perpetrated against America perhaps by its own government for the purpose of inciting the people to a war of financial gain for the powerful, wrapped in the American flag and national outrage.  The lies are obvious--where are the bodies or anything that looks like an airplane at the Pentagon scene?  Where are the bodies or anything that looks like an airplane at Shanksville, PA?  Why was the responding air combat flight diverted 110 miles out over the Atlantic until after the first airplane hit the Trade Center?  Why are over 1,000 civil engineers calling for a real investigation into the Trade Center building collapses, seeing it (and WTC Building 7, which has all but been publicly admitted was engineered beforehand) looks for all the world like a planned demolition, and elements of "super thermite" were found in the dust of the rubble?  

And to add insult to injury for the victims and their survivors, why are we enduring the nasty, public controversy of who is going to pay to operate the memorial at Ground Zero?  Should this not have been decided and put in place before it was built and opened to the public (partly)?  Where is the mainstream media with these questions?  Where is the voice of the American people in all these things?  Absolute silence, because a clear enough voice has yet to tell the people to wake up and scream.  And then to act.

Our financial troubles today are partly the result of two unfunded wars brought about for political and financial gain by those in power in America.  But it is not just about Iraq and Afghanistan, or al Quaeda  or the Taliban.  We had absolutely no national security interests in going to war in Bosnia (another Korea, or Vietnam--a "police action" with absolutely no lasting results).  For that matter, Vietnam was a lie that killed 58,000 young men and women because it was ultimately about oil and a so-called "incident" in the Gulf of Tonkin that never even happened, and the military-industrial money and influence to be garnered by having a convenient testing ground for new weapons we, the Russians, and the Chinese had yet to prove useful.  

The only things lasting from any of these conflicts from Korea until today are the people who didn't come home, the total loss of Vietnam to the Communists, a continually dangerous and active demarcation line in Korea (40,000+ North Korean violations and over 1,500 dead on our side since 1953), and hundreds of thousands of veterans of all these wars who languish uncared for while waiting claim approvals, many of which are initially declined by VA on the grounds the government is still trying to hide much of the truth about what we did, where. There are still Vietnam and Korea-service veterans fighting claims for illnesses and injuries suffered in the line of duty the VA and DoD refuse to acknowledge, much less all the OIF/OEF veterans suffering from mental and physical ailments and injuries in that theater who are still coming home, still waiting in line.  

There are many other travesties of recent history with unanswered questions anyone with concern can read about and weep for want of truth--beginning with the overthrow of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, continuing to the US Navy shootdown of a supposed Iranian airliner in the Persian Gulf, and proceeding from there.  Do we really have a government "of the people, by the people, for the people"?  You decide.

The Republican combatants in this general election have an agenda that is basically in favor of, and at the behest of, the moneyed and powerful ultra-conservative core of the Party and its major contributors without concern for the rest of America.  Believe what you want and laugh me off as crazy, but the Republican Party will do anything to go back on the bi-partisan committee's consequence of not reaching a sensible and honorable settlement, which is the sequestration of military funding. Even sacrificing that part of the military budget that provides the money necessary to advance the causes involved in meeting the needs of the veterans who suffer for honorably serving America in the face of danger, at the cost of cutting funding for major, proven effective programs which provide sustenance for the poor, education opportunities for active duty military and their families and many hundreds of thousands of poor children across the country, they want to protect the increasing cost of military might toward their objectives.  

They want to roll back the promise of health care insurance for millions not otherwise able to obtain it, roll back social advances for women, continue the repression of American Indians who either by choice or necessity live in many cases in abject poverty in the prisoner of war camps otherwise called "reservations", and reserve the opportunity for higher education to those who can truly afford it. If that is what people want for America as we move forward in time, then we are only welcoming the eventuality of what Benjamin Franklin said upon the ratification of the Constitution: that it would only stand until the people became so apathetic and corrupt the only thing they would tolerate is despotic government. This is the aim of the Republican Party in 2012. 

Are the American people really this far gone?  Do we really so little prize our liberties and our rights as a democratic republic?  People may not hold a secure belief in the abilities of the Democratic Party to make many big differences in the next four years, but after all, it isn't up to the President, or the Congress, or the Courts to decide our path or our future.  That is up to we, the People. 

We still have our Republic.  What are we going to do with it?

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I am a Vietnam era Army veteran who served in the Hawk air defense missile system as a maintenance provider; I was "key personnel" for about 10 years. I served in the 2nd Bn/71st Air Defense Artillery, the forward area battalion of Hawk close to (more...)
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