I just watched the HBO docu-drama, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It is impossible to not compare the story of the treatment of America's indigenous people, the behavior of the military and the leadership of the nation, with what we've been subjected to by the Bush administration and the Republican hawk leadership.
It is also a bit wierd that Fred Thompson, much touted soon to be GOP prez candidate was casted as the President of the United States in this movie-- as Ulysses S. Grant.
But let's stay with the comparison. We see, repeatedly, treaties that are broken, rules that are changed, the indigenous people provided with far less than they are supposed to get, far less than they are funded to receive. There are crooked businessmen, hateful soldiers, and to balance things out, members of the tribes who are stupid, dishonest and foolish.
It is a tragedy squared that we face today-- a tragedy on its face and a tragedy that we must repeat the stupidity of history-- again and again and again.
The people of the tribes who were abused so badly by the US government and its troops were stubborn and proud. Over and over again, the troops, the mercenaries, the contractors-- they abused, degraded, ashamed these noble people. And of course, we see the soldiers doing this repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, there are good people in the WOunded Knee story, and there are good people, somewhere, in Iraq. But the system doesn't support them, and often blocks them from doing the good they would like to do. Too often they end up feeling betrayed, or worse, that their efforts to work within the system is a betrayal of the people they want to help.
Then, in the docudrama, there's the forced adoption of the "white man's" culture-- taking Christian names, individual ownership of property. We know that the Neocon Iraqi experiment includes subjecting the Iraqi people and government to the extreme right wing theories they espouse.
We see, in Wounded Knee and in Iraq, horrendous, savage war crimes that ultimately, must be traced all the way up to the presidency-- Fred Thompson playing U.S. Grant, in this case. Smart move Fred.
We see a sad, repetitive cycle of cowardly, criminal government supported acts that goes back, in this case, over 130 years. This is not a new pattern that suddenly appeared with Bush.
Is there a difference today? Are there more people-- anti-war, equal-rights types-- now, than there were then? Are there more or less people who consider indigenous people-- Native Americans or Iraqis-- to be less than human, less equal than Americans? That's a tough one.
But we do have the net. We have a way for the truth to be accessed, for those who want to access it. There are still tens of millions, or more, in the US, who are not interested in accessing the truth. They watch Fox, read garbage daily papers and buy the propaganda that is put out between reports on Anna Nicole Smith, kidnapped kids and Michael Jackson.
We do have a way for those of us who do care, who do want to make a difference, to find each other on the net, to build digital communities.
When we consider Wounded Knee, we are confronted with a dauntingly long history of brutal abuses. It's clear that doing the "same-old" will not work.
While supporting the Democrats may be better than supporting Republicans, American democracy is not going to survive if it depends upon the two party system. We need really big picture thinking and long term visions. We need full adoption of instant run-off voting or some similar form of elections that allow third parties to run, yet require majority wins for elections. That's a bare foundation, along with, of course, clean, honest elections-- meaning the computers get thrown out altogether. And then, there is a huge, crying need for genuine progressive, well funded organizations that operate like those on the right, with ten figure annual budgets.
Currently, there are a handful of "progressive" thinktanks that are composed primarily of former Clinton Whitehouse staffers-- DLC right wing democrats, or, to be generous, moderates. The only way democracy has a future is if real progressives bond together and build organizations, like think tanks, which are also advocacy organizations, which, frankly, the big right wing think tanks really are. It takes a lot of money to make that happen.
The money's out there. If the 500,000 people or 100,000 people who go to a demonstration, would spend the $50 to $1000 they spend on the travel, food, hotel, etc., many millions could be raised. Of course, instead, the big groups of people send money to Moveon.org, or to Democratic candidates or the democratic party-- the DSCC, the DCCC or the DNC.