Friday, May 4, 2007

Mr. Smith Goes to Pot

As a Midwesterner who “served my country” during the Viet Nam “war”, I cling desperately to values that seem on the verge of becoming extinct.

In my lifetime I have seen America move from honoring the productive laborer to worshiping a self-centered, super-rich aristocracy; from rejecting McCarthyism to declaring that citizens may be deprived of their rights if government feels they pose some undefined sort of threat; from recognition that the Constitution allowed freedom from forced religion to inability to influence public thought unless at least leaning toward some form of right wing fundamentalism; fjavascript:void(0)
Publishrom liberator of Jewish holocaust victims to operator of an offshore prisoner of “war” camp for Muslims; from a formal position of non-aggression unless attacked - alterable only through Congressional action - to a request for the presidential right to declare war without Congressional input; from a society secure enough in its freedom to fight publicly against infringement of rights to a citizenry cowed into unthinking silence by the dictates of our own greed and an unresponsive government; from a governmental system seen around the world as fostering an unprecedented level of individual freedom to a self-interest driven aristomocracy seen by two-thirds of the world as the thief of their personal freedom and national wealth.

In short, we have gone from idealizing Mr. Smith in Washington to valuing the dollar above personal integrity.

It is high time that we listen to Thomas Jefferson who held that we should overturn the government periodically to keep it from becoming its own reason for existence. At this point, the majority of Americans don’t even use the path by which it should be done – the ballot.

I doubt that any public office currently held in the United States was filled through vote of the majority of citizens. About 25% of eligible voters actually go to the polls in any given election. Why? - because the vote is so routinely wasted on the lesser of two or three evils that people have entirely lost their faith in its power for good.

There may be a ray of hope, though. Maybe the present regime’s policy of ignoring common people and internal affairs while throwing the delicate purchase we briefly had on fiscal strength into the military abyss will backfire on all of us so that we become poor enough to go back to work, collectively recognize that the worker is no longer considered valuable, and fight for our rights once again. Gee, thanks, Mr. Bush.

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace -- Jimi Hendrix

Yours in Peace -- BR

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