Something strange is happening to our country. It is in the air, hovering just beneath the surface at polite gatherings, in town halls, in school boards, even in classrooms. It is too simple to say that the country is polarized or divided. On most basic issues, people of fair minds can agree on quite a few things. It is kind of like a Civil War of ideology, and the “silent majority,” moderate America, are doing and saying nothing about it.
I love America. Not in a sappy, bumper sticker, tear jerking song kind away, but with a painful understanding and acceptance of everything this country has been and all that it has come through, a deep abiding respect for everything that this country is, and a hope eternal of what this country can be. It is because of this love I have written this for anyone who will read it. All I ask is that you read with an open heart and mind and remember being an American means you don’t have to march in lock step.
It is a funny thing, but more often than not, it is not the righteous, well respected holy man that fights to right the wrongs of a blind society, it is oft times the sinner. Men beholden to no one save their own conscience, men looked down upon by his contemporaries, scoffed at and belittled step into the breach and hold a mirror to our faces and show us how very ugly we really are.
I am not a righteous person, though I pray everyday to become one. My sins are great, my past may be considered shadowy, but I know what is right and what is wrong. I do not presume to be smarter than anyone with a high school education, but I am able to separate fact from fiction, truth from lie, and I can even see in shades of gray when things are not in black and white. So can you. I just want to give you a little help.
Intro to the Mind of a Radical Centrist-
There was a time when American leaders inspired the people, making us believe. Words from Lincoln, both Roosevelt’s, and Kennedy (to name a few) moved us to reach beyond, to move us greatness, to give us hope. Well, when was the last time any politician made you feel pride? I am talking true pride in your country, not the last vestiges of a glory slipping away. When was the last time you, as an American, felt you were a part something special and unique? You probably don’t want to hear this. You have been brainwashed into thinking that your personal views are the only correct views, so any dissent makes you uncomfortable, if not down right irritable. However, after the initial shock that the world does not revolve around you has worn off, and you begin to see you do not get to dictate to the world how it should live and what everyone should believe, you will begin to open you mind to the possibility that maybe you are not right all the time. Maybe, you will even begin to understand that you current government is dead wrong; in fact, it is bad for you and the country on the whole.
My own political leanings are irrelevant. It does not matter what party I call myself affiliated with, whatever that means. I am not writing to you to push anyone’s agenda. My aim is not to convert the masses, but to remind you of who you are and what power you wield
I do not seek to sway political views. My incongruity is with the powers that be on all sides. I wish to remind my fellow Americans of the things that unite us as a people. I wish to open your minds to the possibilities of all we still could be. It is this authors’ humble opinion that our political parties are necessary, both right and left, to compliment and balance one another, in order to ensure that all people are represented and all values devotedly held are worth fighting for and should be fought for.
Are you involved?
America has long been a beacon of light to all oppressed peoples. We have stood for personal freedom, endless possibilities, unalienable rights, (unalienable-what happened to that?). At one time we could stand with our chests out, not with bravado, but with genuine pride. We stood with the David’s of the world against Goliath. We fought for our beliefs and lived them, at least for most of us. We have been “baptized” by the fire of social injustice, economic disasters, and social consciousness to name a few, and we have emerged like the variable phoenix. Our nation has taken the hits that have broken many a regime and turned into something to be used for the greater good. Where else can you find a society that has uniquely taken the best of all your -isms, discarded (for the most part) the bad, and added it to a healthy base of diversity and respect for your neighbor? You can argue what is wrong with our society all day long, but at the root, America has always been the very best humanity had to offer on earth anyway.
Americans today live under a banner of freedom with no real idea as to the price others pay for just a sliver of such freedom. Americans treat the basic principles on which this nation was paved as suggestions that perhaps have outlived their time. I have seen in the past ten years the most despicable of men and women twisting the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights to fit in some twisted vision they have of what America should be. The terrifying aspect of this is you are buying it America. You act as if you have never had a civics class in you life. Every abode should own a copy of the Constitution because you obviously have not a clue what the document contains. Democracy has become a privilege for those who can afford it. Although it can accurately be argued there has always been an element of corruption in any government, for man is fallible and governments are run by man, we have collectively closed our eyes to the idiosyncrasies of our leaders, effectively emboldening them to legislate their individual best interests-their pockets.
As long as “We the People…” stand aside and do nothing as fellow Americans are having their right trampled upon, as long as we watch in silence as the hammer of our might is wretched from the people, wielded to create pale reflections of what we think we are by careless, clumsy and brutal hands, as long as we stand aside and allow those who are our representatives to the world act with disdain towards the trillions of other inhabitants of this earth we must all share we are implicit co-conspirators in their tyranny, enablers of injustice both at home and abroad. We cannot sit idly by and watch our power, the people’s power, taken away and given to a group of so-called representatives with little to no clue of how the average person lives, how we survive.
A common thread in American life today is a general somnolent attitude about almost every important aspect or issue that should be a priority. We have, like children, closed our eyes, put out hands over our ears and said, “No, no, no! We do not want to know what is really happening all around us. Our government and our troops can handle it!” Are you insane? Your government? If history has taught anything at all, it can be said the old adage “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Trust on your leaders is all well and good, but it the average American’s responsibility to keep you leaders in line. You do not live in a monarchy were your leaders are simply born into their prospective positions. You do not live in a theocracy were you religious leaders get to make law. You are not even in a parliamentary system were there is a no discernable separation of power from the executive and the legislative branches of government. Any and all abuse of the powers invested to the legislative and executive branch of government should and better be checked by the nation’s citizens. If you have a representative that has been abusing power, that has questionable ethics, that has shadows upon his record, and you have not written and/or called him, your local newspaper, you local watchdog organization or any other avenue at your disposal; his or her corruption is your fault. You handed this person power, and refused to check that power. Would you hand a teenager with a record for speeding and recklessness the keys to your car? This is different how?
There is really no longer true journalism on television today. All that you see and are experiencing is skewed right or left, and surprisingly, it much more skewed right, although you have been hearing otherwise most of you life. I am not trying to insight or upset, but let’s get real and be honest with ourselves if not with anyone else. It is no longer possible to have an honest disagreement with another on anything political without being personally attacked or labeled with some unsavory name. Both sides are guilty, although one is far more vicious and quite ruthless; you know which one I am talking about, so there is no need to write it. The arguments are always heated, quite often salacious, and at the end, it leaves you with nothing much more than anger. And all the while we are cutting each other’s throats over policy; our government is selling us out.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them. If your government has lied to you-yes, lied to you, and continues to pass laws and push policies that are in direct conflict with your best interest, then your government probably cares very little for you. Want proof that your government cares very little for you? The cost of everything is on the rise. A gallon of milk costs the same as a gallon of gas, both are entirely too high, and instead of immediate solutions, your government offers policies that not only fails to address the rising costs, but benefits the very few. Listen, gas and oil companies are having record profits, while you are going broke trying to fill up your car. Tax breaks are given to companies that outsource good jobs, tax shelters are overlooked, but when was the last time you got a raise?
I listened in abject horror while a person who makes less than $35,000 a year tell me that unions are terrible for the working man and woman. Organized labor has become synonymous with socialism. Excuse me? Socialism is quite frankly “…any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods…” Unions exist to fight for the rights of workers, and do so by all the means at their disposal. It is farcical to call a union a socialist organization-unions are not a government; their motives are indeed economic, but far from political. Yes, they often advocate for one party or another, simply to advances the causes of the workers they represent. You can argue it is an advocating collective, but the last thing a union wants is for the government or the nation as a whole to own and distribute goods. Unions want their workers to earn as much as they can for a particular job skill, and that simply cannot happen without a healthy dose of capitalism.
Violence is not necessary for this generation’s revolution, especially since the balance of power truly belongs to you, if you would just take it. You can say no to the lawmakers that would much rather stand in the House of Representatives or the Senate and grandstand about issues that have very little to do with you, your life, or your concerns. For instance, although it may indeed be important to fill the courts with judges, not very many of us are affected by the placement of ten judges on the bench, but each and every one of us is affected by the rising cost of energy (and by the way, you should really take the time to examine all sides of the issues), we are all affected by the amounts of toxins in the air, water and food supply, we are all affected by the enormous and growing budget and trade deficit (go ask Lou Dobbs). Elected officials bemoan and knash their teeth at the “great injustices done to moral Americans,” or the “attacks on Christianity” when they themselves are deeply immoral and the complete antithesis of what Jesus Christ stood for.
Are you afraid of things that go bump in the night?
To understand what is happening to our great nation, we need to understand the nature of our greatest enemy. It is not some zealot from a far land, a petulant government with a craving for power, or even our preferred religion-money. The greatest enemy to the American people is fear, colored with a healthy dose of paranoia and bigotry. Fear is an insidious parasite that excavates into the mind and causes one to react in ways contrary to their customary behavior. Generally, Americans counters a threat with retribution. Perhaps because of the nature of the inception of our land, we managed to defeat the greatest superpower of the time for our sovereignty Justifiably (and this is merely my own speculation) it caused us to have just a touch of swagger. We as a people tend to believe we can defeat any enemy, conquer any foe. However, I have noticed a funny thing happening to my fellow brave Americans after the ever infamous September 11th. Americans have been running scared. Our bravado has not faltered, but the underlying psyche of the nation has been altered traumatically.
Typically, we vote for representatives that make us feel good about our country and ourselves. Men and women who exemplifies our idea of who we believe ourselves to be have throughout our history consistently earned our vote, and what’s more, our admiration. Exceptional Americans that inspire the very best of what is America have become icons in our society. Men such as Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt to name a few, made their generation believe in ideals, reach further than what they had to forge something better. We overlook their shortcomings and celebrate their essence. Lately we have been voting for representatives that make us feel secure in our most insecure times. Unfortunately, we have given these people free reign not only to protect us, but to rule as they see fit. Do not mistake what our government is doing for representative government. What our government is doing is using our collective fear against us. The laws coming forth from on high are not in the best interest of the common man.
What does it say about a people who, for an ounce of protection (real or imagined), are willing to give up our Freedom, our core belief? If all men are indeed created equal, why is it we willfully look away while our government caters to a tiny segment of the populace? Is nothing real? Is true Democracy no longer sacred in our hearts? Are we all willing to accept what we know is wrong for ideological gains? Can you honestly look at your life and all that is taking place in your world and candidly say that true Democracy is alive in well in America. Perhaps you fail to understand the word. According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary the definition is:
Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Middle French democratie, from Late Latin democratia, from Greek dEmokratia, from dEmos + -kratia -cracy
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections 2 : a political unit that has a democratic government 3 capitalized : the principles and policies of the Democratic party in the U.S. 4 : the common people especially when constituting the source of political authority 5 : the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges
Probably less than 10% of people realize what I just did. America is not a Democracy. It never has been. We are a Republic. Let’s check out that definition:
Etymology: French république, from Middle French republique, from Latin respublica, from res thing, wealth + publica, feminine of publicus public — more at REAL, PUBLIC
1 a (1) : a government having a chief of state who is not a monarch and who in modern times is usually a president (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government b (1) : a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law (2) : a political unit (as a nation) having such a form of government c : a usually specified republican government of a political unit
2 : a body of persons freely engaged in a specified activity
3 : a constituent political and territorial unit of the former nations of Czechoslovakia, the U.S.S.R., or Yugoslavia
They look pretty similar right? So, what’s the difference? Democracy is a government completely run by the people and majority rules. In a Republic, there is a head of state (i.e. the president) and the people elect officials and representatives to govern (preside over or administrate). Notice there is an important element that is included in a Democracy, but n in a Republic-majority rule. In a Republic, all people are protected to the best of the ability of the state. ALL PEOPLE. We do not need to get into what that means, or how that is not being applied today because if you have an ounce of honesty you already know. The funny thing is, it applies to several different groups of people, and your answer will really depend on where you live.
So why are we allowing a corruption of our Republic? If I may make a humble suggestion…STOP ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE TERRORIZED BY YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT! Be not afraid. The nefarious people who hate you quite honestly will hate you always. You cannot change the heart of an entire society of people, especially when you continue to perpetuate the same attitudes toward them and allow your companies to explode them for profit. (We can argue about the later-for now stay focused.) How can a people reputed to be so brave act like cowards? Take a little trip outside your normal prejudices and bias and think about what is really best for you and your country.
Do yourselves a favor and turn off the news, especially twenty-four hour cable news, for just one week. Read your local paper for local news but stay away from the opinion editorials. For news on the government, watch C-Span, the shows without commentary. Then for three days, listen only to conservative radio, then for another three days, listen only to liberal radio (if you have one but not the other in your area, you can stream most popular shows online, and make sure you listen to the big names in both, i.e. Rush Limbaugh for three days, then Al Frankin for three, or Bill O’Reilly/Ed Shultz…) Take notes, pay close attention, and try listening to both sides with an openness you are obviously refusing to do now. You might be surprised if you listen with an open heart and an open mind. On the seventh day, take a notebook and turn on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News and write down what you really see.