Monday, August 20, 2007

Why Do I Do This?

I try to write something for this blog every weekday, but many days I ask myself why. It’s a bit of a hassle, you know. My anger at BushCo fuels me with a new affront at least twice a week, but even that gets thin. I feel like I’m repeating myself because they keep doing the same stupid, greedy, arrogant things time and time again. Disgust is another motivator because so much is going on that no one, including our elected representatives seems to recognize what’s happening as the anti-constitutional struggle that I believe it is.

Frustration is another because, living here in the heart of Repulsican territory, I see so many people who are daily being ripped off by the system who violently and volubly support it, and I find that hard to understand. Fear drives me sometimes, too. Not fear for my personal well-being, but fear for the loss of the honor and freedom that this country enjoyed for most of my lifetime.

As has become too frequent an occurrence for me, Friday night offered too many hours and too little sleep. After a wonderful evening spent at a dinner party with six of the finest people I know, I did not sleep well for some unknown reason. One thing I’ve learned from insomnia is that the very early morning hours often provide the best movie watching TV has to offer. So . . . 4:00 am found me watching Charles Lawton in a superb old movie called “This Land is Mine” in which he played an outwardly cowardly school teacher who knowingly sacrifices his life under the Nazis by publicly espousing the rights of man and exposing the tyranny supported by his neighbors who are quietly going along with it – people like the butcher who was enriching himself by selling black market meat to the upper class while aware that others in the community were starving and the mayor who collaborated with Hitler’s henchmen in return for the power they granted him.

The speech with which he condemned himself eloquently pointed out that each of us is at least two people. He classified himself as brave on the inside – fantasizing about things he knew he could never really do – and cowardly on the outside – acting more often out of timidity than personal strength. Ultimately, he made his community aware that by becoming saboteurs - sabotage being the means by which just people fight against tyranny - by making the point that not fighting against tyrants was to support them, and that to profit by their tyranny was not only to support it, but to add to the suffering of ones fellow man. Any occupier, he said, must maintain control, either by allowing local authorities to appear to exercise power or by force.

When he spoke of the Nazi method of allowing local “authority” to appear powerful, I couldn’t avoid the parallel to our current insistence that we cannot continue to support Iraq’s new government unless they sign away the rights to their oil futures. When he spoke of saboteurs, I couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that what the Nazis called saboteurs, we call terrorists. When a country is occupied the way Germany occupied many countries and as we have occupied Iraq, the citizenry is forced to choose between supporting the occupiers and fighting the occupation.

When a democratic government is being taken over from the inside, citizens must also choose between supporting and fighting the take over. My perception of BushCo’s efforts to destroy the balance of power created by our Constitution, is that it is ultimately a coup. If all power is invested in the executive branch as they have so fervently sought to do; if all power is held by one political party as they have so fervently sought to do; if all criticism is portrayed as unpatriotic as they have so effectively done time and time again; if, in America, political dissent is treated as treason, then democracy is in grave danger of being replaced by tyranny.

Ultimately, that is what keeps me at this keyboard. Please understand that I have no delusions of grandeur. I don’t think that my writing is going to be significantly instrumental in combating the BushCo tyranny. I recognize that it is more of a personal catharsis for me than anything else.

At the same time, though, there is a tiny kernel of hope that someone among those who read these words might be more eloquent and less of an outward coward than I; someone who will spread our convictions further than I am able to do; someone who might ultimately stand before one of our tanks and talk the patriotic soldier driving it into recognizing that his or her support for this administration’s methods is not patriotic at all and stepping down; someone who might, through personal strength and convictions truly change the world.

Could that be you?

(BTW, one of Friday’s dinner guests whose daughter is in the military reported that a great many (she thought a majority) of the soldiers in her daughter’s unit are aware of how viciously they are being used and are in favor of impeachment. The Peace Network of the Ozarks will hold a demonstration on Wednesday, August 22 called “Honk for Justice: Impeach Bush-Cheney”. They will be at the corner of Battlefield and Glenstone from 5 to 6 pm. If you are in the area, please let the courage of your convictions lead you there. Afterward, thanks to the work of Sharon Ash, there will be a meeting to generate action for the establishment of a cabinet level Department of Peace at 7:00 at the Library Center on S. Camplbell.)

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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