Saturday, May 28, 2005

A Republic, if WE can keep it

The story goes that Benjamin Franklin was leaving the Constitutional Convention on September 18, 1787 and was asked by a Mrs. Powell what kind of government had been formed by the convention. Benjamin Franklin replied: "A Republic, if you can keep it."

I've not posted much on politics recently because I am so deeply saddened about what has happened to this country. Several things have precipitated this sense of loss:

  • The war in Iraq has gone from being a distant war I did not know anybody involved in to being a war where I know at least four people fighting that war. This is infinitely more depressing for me. Here are four people fighting a stupid, unnecessary war that is making the United States of America less and less safe every day. I know three of the four know this is true as well. Their view is they are going for their fellow soldiers, not for Bush, or to spread democracy which they know is a lie. They are going because if they did not go, somebody else would have to. Their love and loyalty to the soldiers in their units is why they go to fight a war they know is evil and unjust.

  • I want to emphasize the link in the paragraph above. This is not some whiny liberal activist group claiming this stupid war is endangering America further. This is the BUSH ADMINISTRATION saying the war in Iraq has spawned a new generation of jihadists; a generation we know little about who are spreading through the world, taking the lessons learned in Iraq to train others to attack the United Stated of America.

    This, of course, is exactly what liberal opponents of the war predicted. We were right.

  • The more we learn about the torture at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and at Bagram in Afghanistan, the more we see a very clear pattern emerging:
    Vicious, violent treatment of inmates without regard to their innocence or guilt. For example, the Afghan man, Diliwar who was tortured to death by US soldiers - it turns out that even his interrogators admit that they thought he was probably innocent.

    This torture is carried out by low ranking soldiers at the behest of the military/intelligence hierarchy.

    As soon as an investigation takes place, the low ranking soldiers are labeled a few bad apples and thrown to the wolves.

    The superior officers who ordered the torture are rewarded and promoted.

  • The United States of America has become an international poster boy for torture, human rights violations and a supporter of the worst regimes in the world when it comes to human rights. Boy, since we lost our standing as an economic and educational leader, I can't wait to tell my daughter that we're excelling at something!

  • Our environment is under unprecedented and violent attack covered up by Orwellian double speak. Since I regard nature as where God may be found on this earth, this is a particular abomination to me.

  • Our nation is becoming more and more explicitly Christian and it is clear that I and my family are not welcome here in the eyes of a large number of Americans.

  • Gays and Lesbians, actually Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender folks have become specific, targetted scapegoats of the right. Violence against GLBT folk is tacitly encouraged by the state.

  • The middle class, proof that in the United States anyone can work hard, go to school and get ahead, is shrinking. Education is out of reach for the poor and medical costs are destroying more and more American families. It is no longer true that hard work translates into a better future.

  • Our elections are no longer democratic in nature. In fact, Tammany Hall may well have been more democratic than any current system we have.

  • Finally, and most damningly, the media we rely on to keep us informed so that we can make intelligent decisions when it comes time to vote, has thrown in with the enemies of democracy and cannot be counted on to be more than shills for the profoundly unamerican government we have today.

    A Republic, if we can keep it. I feel it slipping away and that deeply saddens me. The big question I have about our future is will the corporate oligarchs triumph or will the Christian theocrats triumph? Either way, it matters little. Niether has an interest in fostering the growth of this country. One would suck from it like a vicious economic parasite and in so doing, annhilate the very consumer class it depends upon for sustanance and the other would lead us backwards into the glory of a new dark age.

    It is not too late and for the sake of my daughter, I shall fight. It is an exhausting fight and can be depressing yet I have good company. I very much enjoy the company of progressives; seeing so many white, brown, black, asian, male and female faces together. That is the color of the America I know and love; a wonderful textured diverse land where people work together for the common good. We have values like you would not believe; we believe that hard work should translate into a good living. We believe that every child deserves medical care and education. We believe America needs to be strong and smart in the face of terror. We believe we should find alternative energy to free us from dependence upon our enemies. We believe that people shoud be judged by the content of their character; not their gender, color, orientation, or faith.

    We believe in a better America and we are going to make it happen. Our doors are open to everyone and you are invited to join the fight!
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