Civil Disobedience In An Obedient World
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION FIRST AMENDMENT
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
My apologies to those of you who love the Second Amendment and in particular the section dealing with the right to bear arms, but for my money the First Amendment is the backbone of this nation. In it we find our most basic of freedoms.
Today we are going to chat about the section that speaks of peaceful assembly and petitioning the government, for I believe we are reaching a point in our history where we need to seriously consider doing just that on a national level.
THE LOSS OF FREEDOMS IN THE UNITED STATES
“Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.” Henry David Thoreau
Slowly, ever so slowly, our freedoms are disappearing.
September 11, 2001 was indeed a day that will live on in infamy. America awoke to a new threat, and shortly after that horrendous day the War on Terror began. Broader guidelines were established giving the government sweeping powers in fighting the invisible enemy. Homeland Security and the NSA immediately leaped into the fray, and slowly, ever so slowly, our freedoms began to disappear.
Al -Queda became the enemy, as did any other foreign terrorist, but what did they look like? Walking down the streets of America, it really was difficult to determine what the enemy looked like.
No problem said our government. We will just round up anyone we suspect of being anti-American and we’ll let the courts sort it all out.
“Bye, bye, Miss American Pie, drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.”
Is it possible that the average American is not aware that they are being watched at this very moment? Is it possible that the average American is not aware that the eye of suspicion is gazing in their direction on this last day of January, 2013?
Thoreau believed that the State should recognize individuals as the higher and independent power. I wonder what Henry David would think of the United States in this year of our Lord?
It is getting worse
- U.S. Income Inequality Worse Now Than In 1774: Study
Believe it or not, income inequality in the United States is worse today than it was back in 1774. That’s what a recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research has found.
AND THE RICH GET RICHER
Between 1979 and 2009, the top 5 percent of American families saw their real incomes increase 72.7 percent, according to Census data. Over the same period, the lowest-income fifth saw a decrease in real income of 7.4 percent. This contrasts sharply with the 1947-79 period, when all income groups saw similar income gains, with the lowest income group actually seeing the largest gains:
Do you have any doubt who is controlling this country? I would submit to you that Trickle Down Economics is not working the way we were told it would.
Employment is stagnant at best. Factories continue to close and jobs continue to head overseas. We, the American workers, are told that we need to re-train for a new economic future. Social Services are cut; relief is nowhere in sight, and trillions of dollars in investment monies sit idly in off-shore accounts as the rich investors wait for more favorable tax codes to be written…..and they will be written, because who do you suppose lines the pockets of the politicians who are supposed to be your representatives?
WHAT ARE OUR OPTIONS?
Well, every time we vote in an election we are told that we are exercising our right to overthrow the government, but we seem to substitute one “bought and paid for” legislature with another one year after year. Perhaps it is time to truly exercise our right to overthrow the government.
But is it possible during the Age of Complacency for that to happen? Last year we saw a grassroots movement called “Occupy Wall Street” rise up from the ashes of apathy and attempt to make a nationwide statement about income inequality. It was poorly organized and after an impressive start it faltered mightily and eventually succumbed to winter and the backlash that was inevitable.
Let me ask you this: Is it even possible in the United States today for a protest movement to gather momentum and actually force change? I am beginning to doubt that it will ever happen again.
The last time we saw signs that indicated that society even had a pulse was during the 1960’s when protests erupted across the nation over Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement, and those protests forced change. Where is that sort of national movement now? Where is the new generation of rabid protestors who are fed up and not willing to take it any longer? Well, for the most part they are playing video games and watching reality shows, and wondering what all that talk is about something called an American Dream.
The protestors of the Sixties gave birth to a new generation of Capitalism worshippers, and with each ensuing generation we have moved further and further away from any sort of societal cohesiveness. Now it’s every man for himself and buy now pay later and I sure hope the cops don’t break down my door for even daring to speak out in protest against our loss liberties.
And the sheep shall inherit the leftover dregs of the economy and raise a toast, boys and girls, to the way it used to be back in the day when hard work and determination could get you something in America.
THERE ARE ONLY TWO OPTIONS
Well, that’s really an over-simplification, isn’t it? There are many options now aren’t there, but most of them are not terribly appealing.
We can continue as we are, and little by little we will continue to see the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and our civil liberties diminish to the point that it will be damn hard to recognize any of them.
We can continue to work within the system and overthrow the government in each new election, hoping against hope that one day a man or woman of the people will be elected.
We can continue to eat our own in a Darwinian eating frenzy, lashing out at each other and never once considering the fact that united we stand and divided we fall.
We can bury our heads in the sand, continue to medicate with booze and recreational drugs, and hope that it all goes away sooner rather than later.
We can build our own personal fortresses, flip off our neighbors, and hope that the spy in the sky doesn’t see us burying five bucks per month of undeclared income in the backyard.
We can rise up and say that we have finally had enough. We can call on our ancestors of years gone by, and tap into whatever protest gene we still have in our bodies, and declare to our leaders that this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and we do not choose to allow that to perish from this Earth.
A site that reminds us of where we came from
In the final analysis, we have only ourselves to blame. We allowed this to happen. Our social conscience has been bought and paid for, and now we piss and moan because the price was too steep. We want to renegotiate the contract that we made with the devil, but we don’t know how, and so we wait for something to change, knowing full well that change of this magnitude will only happen when it is forced to happen.
Our greatest enemy is not al-Queda, or any other anti-American boogie man manufactured by the doomsayers. Our greatest enemy is complacency. As long as we have our television, computer, cigarettes and beer then all is right in our world. We are still clinging to the hope that our Trifecta ticket will pay off, even though the first two races were lost. We are still clinging to antiquated beliefs that the cards are not stacked against us and the government is representative of 80% of us.
We are still clinging to a life-line made of tissue paper.
Ours is a legacy of revolutionaries. In our blood flows the blood of men and women who saw injustice and refused to accept it, and in fact rose up against it. Perhaps we are so far removed from those ancestors that our blood has become diluted by the bitter drops of apathy. Perhaps we no longer carry those genes that are necessary to demand change, and perhaps we are incapable of standing on the shoulders of giants like Thoreau.
Wouldn’t it be something, though, if we were just willing to try?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)