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Silence and Guilt, or The Courage of Our Convictions?

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I’ve been getting some very interesting feedback from some of my last article, which were “Our Silence, Our Guilt” that you can see at this site or at my blog; Liberalpro. .

That article asked people to think and to act. I wasn’t asking anyone to particularly “do” anything, I was just throwing out questions. What I got in return was, in my opinion, a definite cross-section of the Progressive community. One man wrote; “The American people are silent now because they have learned that even if they are not silent, they will be silenced”. He went on to say “The day the American public is no longer silent is the day they have their own mass media outlet, without the chains of corporations or the government constricting them”. Hmm…seems we have a problem with average Americans getting their voices heard in this country.

In talking about the support of Americans for the War in Iraq, one man wrote:  “Most of the American people, from the standpoint of consent and support, no more complicit in the crimes of this government than they would be complicit in the crimes of a crack-head who stole their car and money at gunpoint and then went on a regular spree of robbery and murder”. That is someone who seems to feel that his views on the war weren’t heeded at all.

Another comment about the Iraq War and the Bush administration: “Many years have been spent preparing the public to believe that its right and should be accepted as our duty and we should not question it.
We as a people must reclaim our independence and stop believing what we are told to believe by manipulators who serve no interests but their own and start believing what we see”
. Now that’s some good advice. If most of the people in this country could start back and question authority more often, maybe we wouldn’t find ourselves in this kind of situation.

The reason I’m writing this article is that basically, I’m flabbergasted. This next person’s answer to why the American people are silent: "People in general have changed and the American people in general became a kinder, gentler sort. Look at the tolerance for illegal aliens, and gays, and everyone else who is different. People were accepting other people, even if those people were harmful to their own way of life. Then things began to change.
It does not matter to us that our best friend lost his job and his wife.
It is no matter to us If our neighbor's houses are being taken away.
It is no matter to us if our jobs are shipped offshore and our wages plummet because of cheap illegal labor.
It does not matter if our neighbor's kid got his head blown off in Iraq to defend an oil company's pumping station.
We used to be a nation of caring people, but we are rapidly becoming the opposite.
Why do we not care? Because it happens too much these days, everyone was pretty well trying to be nice and now we are assaulted every day by horrors only a few years ago we would have considered unimaginable. We can't afford to care. We are busy just trying to survive. And this government is not helping.
We as Americans are going to put up with a lot more because there is not one single principled individual in all of our elected government. Their interest in anyone's well being does not go beyond their own social circle. That is what we have representing us.
You want us to do something? What, pray tell, would you have us do that might conceivably work?

“Not a single principled individual in all of our elected government”, I know, sometimes it feels that way, but there are a few. Barbara Boxer, Dennis Kuchinich, Russ Feingold, Chuck Hagel, Patrick Leahy, and Harry Reid are a few that have consistently stood up to this Administration. There are some good people in the Senate and the House, although the writer has a point in that most are interested in their own well being above the people’s well-being. That is evident by the way Congress can’t agree on the most basic health care plan for American citizens. It’s amazing that the richest nation on Earth can’t guarantee that a person suffering from a fatal disease won’t die from that disease because of the inability to pay for health care. That’s criminal.

The same writer who wrote the above statement ended the comment with: “You want us to do something? What, pray tell, would you have us do that might conceivably work?”

Well, at last, an opening to propose some things that just might work. First of all, I would like to point out that every time I write about the sorry state of affairs this nation has gotten itself into, 70% (or more) of the comments I get back are either “Yes, we agree with you” or “There is nothing that we the people can do, the government won’t let the people speak their mind.” The first statement is an admission that there is a problem. The second statement is pure rubbish. The government has no say about whether the people can speak their mind or not. The people can do just about anything they want to. Most Americans have forgotten that the government works for the people. The people do not work for the government. Once you forget that, you are on a long slippery slope to dictatorship.

People get so upset when I mention “passive resistance” or “civil disobedience”.  Every time I mention these two strategies they start asking if I want to start a revolution or if I’m willing to “die” for my country. Wake up people! Nobody is asking you to throw yourself into fixed bayonets here! What I am suggesting is that the next time you go to a demonstration and the police try to move your group out of sight so your demonstration means nothing, you don’t meekly comply. Say no, we want to demonstrate here as part of our First Amendment Rights. If they throw you I jail, then you pay your disorderly conduct fine and sue them for violating your civil rights. Tie up the courts, and maybe get a settlement!

Seems like most people are beaten before they’ve begun. The general trend of comments is that Congress is deaf and therefore Bush can get away with murder and we are screwed. Maybe, just maybe, if people stopped expecting Congress to do the “right” thing, they would start doing the things that they really need to do to force change in this country. We all know that voting integrity is at an all time low and that most in Congress are on the take from one corporate entity or another, so why expect them to champion our cause? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results! Face it, Congress is not going to end this war until the people in the Senate get 67 votes to override a Presidential veto, and that’s not going to happen! Quit thinking your Senators and Congressmen are going to prevail. It’s just not going to happen. They are powerless unless they see the people speak in unison, together and determined.

Tuesday is the General Strike. You can make a banner and stretch it across the interstate and put “Don’t Go to Work!” on it. Most will ignore it, but they won’t forget that they saw it. On the 15th of this month you can go to DC or NYC and demonstrate where people can see you. If the police try to hide the demonstration, sit down and make them move you. If they hurt you, then sue them! This is the way it’s done people. You are not going to get your point across by letting them put you behind a fence where you won’t be seen or heard. Stop being so meek, I doubt that the DC or NYC Police department is equipped to move 500,000 people that decide to sit down.

We have a serious problem in this country. We have an out of control executive branch, a divided Congress, and a weak-willed population that really is afraid of standing up for their rights. I’m here to tell you right now that if you don’t stand up for your rights, you will lose them.

People asked me and I’m answering. This is not radical stuff. This is the way we did it in the 70’s and this is what will work today. It won’t work however if people don’t have the courage of their convictions.

That’s the way I see it.

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Tim Gatto is Ret. US Army and has been writing against the Duopoly for the last decade. He has two books on Amazon, Kimchee Days or Stoned Colds Warriors and Complicity to Contempt.

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