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The Power of Our Participation

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Message Ron Fullwood
Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. -- Thoreau Were all set to vote again, this time to attempt to stifle the power and influence of the counterfeit loser at the head of our government who slipped accountability in the last election for the epic failures of his first term in office. His republican enablers have challenged voters to respond to their refusal to defend those basic tenets of our democracy, systematically torn down by the Bush regime, which are intended to ensure that the government remains a nation of laws; for the people, and controlled by the people. So, we will respond, with our votes . . . again. So much of what George Bush and Dick Cheney have done in their Executive positions has been a direct challenge to Congress' ability to control their behavior. Congress makes the laws that Bush and his minions are pledged to exercise, uphold, and defend as they act, but, there is no more effective and immediate way for Congress to hold the Executive branch accountable to those laws than by withholding the taxpayer's money that fuels the administration's imagined imperium. Yet, Congress, through the determination of its republican majority, has refused to withhold the resources and humanity under their control and cancel the White House's bankrupt credit card. Bush has gotten almost everything he's asked for from this republican-controlled Congress. Even more, Bush has been allowed to rewrite the laws, even as he approves them, with 'signing statements' declaring his Executive intent to ignore whole provisions of law and unilaterally alter others which have already been thoroughly deliberated with careful compromise in our democratic system of checks-and-balances. At every instance, Bush has challenged any and all restraints by Congress on every instance of authority he can imagine and execute. The republican enablers in the Senate and House majority and their White House bulldozer did not resist the lure of the corruption of absolute power as they ascended to the majority in all branches of our government. They have become dependent on their careful construct of committing the bulk of our nation's defenses to their manufactured military aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on insisting that they should be allowed to remain in office to clean up the mess they've made behind the over $8 billion a month and almost 2000 American soldiers' lives lost in Iraq alone. It's a measure of republican vanity and hubris, not courage, for them to insist the ones fighting and dying 'stay the course', looking for some 'victory' in Iraq. It's a measure of the Bush regime's blind zeal, clinging on to the fringes of our frayed flag, that he would repeatedly accuse those Americans who don't agree that our soldiers should be fighting and dying on one side of the multi-fronted civil war in Iraq -- waging Bush's ideological struggle with scattershot violence against the very Iraqis Bush claims to be liberating -- of not wanting to 'win' whatever he imagines America can win there. It is also a measure of how much ground Bush has given to those individuals his administration routinely elevates as threats to our nation's overwhelming defenses and resolve, that they would repeat the threats and edicts of the thugs as gospel proof of the rightness of the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq. "I want people to listen to the words of Osama bin Laden," Bush said Saturday. "If you have doubt about whether Iraq is important to this war on terror, listen to the words of the enemy." "Listen to the words of the enemy," Bush says. Don't listen his own intelligence agencies, who have overwhelmingly concluded that his occupation is encouraging and enabling more individuals to "jihad" against heavy-hand of our military forces. Don't listen to the Democratic opposition in our own Congress who have been pleading with Bush and his republican party to allow a change of course to take our soldiers out of the way of Iraqis determined to kill each other, and to get our troops out of the way of those Iraqis determined to attack the vulnerable American symbols of Bush and Maliki's imperialism. "Listen to the enemy," Bush says, as we are urged to remain bogged down in Iraq; even as the terrorists run free in the mountains of Afghanistan, taunting us with their videotaped manifestos which Bush so obediently and contentedly dictates to Americans on the campaign trail of his 'fear and smear' tour. There has been no indication at all from Bush or his republican enablers throughout this campaign that they have been listening to the most important voices in our democracy; those of the majority of our American citizens who have overwhelmingly rejected all of the justifications Bush has been using to continue his occupation of Iraq, and who have rejected the justifications he has used for his power grabs and systematic evisceration of our rights and civil liberties in the name of 'national security'. "There's still an enemy which desires to inflict harm on America, Bush said on the campaign trail in Colorado. "I live it every day," he said. "I understand what I am talking about." Dick Cheney said in a weekend ABC interview that he intends to go "full speed ahead in Iraq" no matter what Americans say, because, "we think it's right." "It may not be popular with the public," Cheney said. "It doesn't matter, in the sense that we have to continue what we think is right . . . I think it'll have some effect perhaps in the Congress," he said of the election's outcome, "but the president's made clear what his objective is. It's victory in Iraq. And it's full speed ahead on that basis. And that's exactly what we're going to do." Even now, on the eve of the exercise of the most important tenet of our nation's democratic system of checks-and-balances - the proffering of our votes in the mid-term congressional elections - the Bush regime is challenging the other branches to hold them to account for their continued abuse of our nation's resources and humanity. In their arrogance, they also challenge the American people to either get out of the way, or put the best congressional obstacle in their path we can manage with our votes for our Senators and Representatives. It's quite true, as it was once said, that, "It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting." But, we would be mistaken if we were to rest on some cynicism about the value of that solitary act of stepping forward and doing our part to hold our nation's leaders accountable. It's easy to become cynical about the power of our participation in the elections of our leaders. Yet, with our full participation in the voting process we promote respect for our nation and each other, and help ensure an equal chance for representation for all of our citizens in the deliberations of our government. We must involve ourselves in every instigation of democracy which confronts us. Our vote is the instrument of our collective conscience and our warrant to the realization of our freedom, our liberty, and our well-being. It is a beginning point for activism and action, not an end. No matter what the outcome of the election, there will still be the need to continually exercise our responsibility to vigilance. Those who we allow to ascend to office, who are motivated by greed and hunger for power, will show up every day to collect their share; and ours as well. So, we will vote again. And, afterward, we will come together to act on the results of that effort. Defense of our democracy is a continuing process that only defeats us if we decline to participate. So . . . stay involved, and have courage that the will of the people will ultimately manifest itself in the results of the election. After all, without our citizen's will and participation, no government can ultimately prevail.
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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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