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Playing the Government's Game: When It Comes to Violence, We All Lose

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Whitehead       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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"When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system's game. The establishment will irritate you -- pull your beard, flick your face -- to make you fight. Because once they've got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don't know how to handle is non-violence and humor."--John Lennon

Yes, the government is corrupt.

Yes, the system is broken. By broken, I mean it's "dysfunctional, gridlocked, and, in general, incapable of doing what needs to be done."

Yes, the government is out of control and overreaching on almost every front.

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Yes, the government's excesses--pork barrel spending, endless wars, etc.--are pushing the nation to a breaking point.

Yes, many Americans are afraid. Who wouldn't be afraid of an increasingly violent and oppressive federal government?

Yes, the citizenry has little protection against standing armies (domestic and military), invasive surveillance, marauding SWAT teams, an overwhelming government arsenal of assault vehicles and firepower, and a barrage of laws that criminalize everything from vegetable gardens to lemonade stands.

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Yes, in the eyes of the American surveillance state, "we the people" are little more than suspects and criminals to be monitored, policed, prosecuted and imprisoned. As former law professor John Baker, who has studied the growing problem of overcriminalization, noted, "There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime."

Yes, the United States of America is not the democracy that is purports to be, but rather an oligarchy ruled by a wealthy corporate elite.

Yes, politics is a sham. Average Americans have largely lost all of the conventional markers of influencing government, whether through elections, petition, or protest, have no way to impact their government, no way to be heard, and no assurance that their concerns are truly being represented.

Yes, the Obama administration's efforts to identify, target and punish "domestic extremists" through the use of surveillance, corporate spies, global police and the Strong Cities network sends a troubling message to all Americans that any opposition to the government--no matter how benign--will be viewed with suspicion and will likely be treated with hostility.

Yes, we have reached a tipping point. The freedoms we once enjoyed are increasingly being eroded: speech, assembly, association, privacy, etc.

Yes, something needs to be done about the government's long train of abuses, power grabs, erosion of private property, and overt acts of tyranny.

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Yes, many Americans, increasingly dissatisfied with the government and its heavy-handed tactics, are tired of being used and abused and are ready to say "enough is enough."

No, violence is not the answer.

A handful of armed protesters are not going to fix what's broken in the government by forcing a showdown with government agents. In fact, this kind of scenario plays right into the government's hands by provoking a violent confrontation that allows government officials to sanctimoniously justify their use of surveillance, military weaponry and tactics, and laws criminalizing guns and hate speech in order to target anyone who even vaguely resembles an "anti-government extremist."

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John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and (more...)
 

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