We have gone into the dark, darkly. We have submitted, gladly. We have surrendered, gleefully. We have offered up our rights and our joys and our privileges as Americans in our fear. We were afraid of terrorists and forces we did not understand, and that fear paralyzed us, robbed us of our judgment. God help us, that's not entirely true. So help me God, I wish it were. No, we have given up our true citizenship for comfort. It is our complacency we bought with our birthright. Time was, in this country, people would stand up for their rights and those of their families over any encroachment. They participated in their government. Now, we Americans have refused any sort of responsibility. We have stood by, with bated breath, as our rights have been taken from us by no less than our own federal government. Our air is not stolen from us because we are shocked; we know not to trust politicians. Our lungs are not emptied from any blow delivered us by these usurpers, as the only line of protest I can recall from recent times is, "don't taze me, bro!" There are few willing to be struck for their beliefs. No, our breath is bated because, if we were to breathe, we would have the responsibilities of air, namely, speech. We would have the means and responsibility to speak against our government's rapaciousness, and that would just be too much damn effort. You did it. I did it. We stood by and let the government take whatever it wanted, the bastards, and lifted not a finger. Those who did, photographers for the New York Times, for instance, who took pictures of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq did. They lost their jobs for it, at the behest of the United States government. They should have been able to depend on us, on some public outrage. You know, letter-writing campaigns, public protests, something. We let them down.
Sure, we had our reasons. No one wants to put their job on the line for anything. You want to be able to take care of your family, and yourself, for that matter. You don't want to rock the boat. It's scary. I know. I'm scared, too. We live in scary times. Problem is, we can do something about it, and we don't, because we're afraid. We aren't protecting our families with our inaction. We are harming them. This nation's children are coming up in an age when rights are for sale, at bargain bin prices. They are growing up in an age of fear, when the only thing we can fear more than terrorists and other geopolitical bogeymen is our own government. As we allow the government to act unabated, we are putting ourselves on the line. Before long, dissent will be illegal, if we aren't careful. In which case, your exercise of your First Amendment rights will be grounds for jailing, anyway. Helluva compromise. I say, go for it now. Besides being the right thing to do, it's just practical. Things are getting worse, anyway.
And believe you me, they are. The federal government is breaking any law they so please. Prisoners have been detained, not just in Gitmo, but in a number of military installations here in the States, without even being so much as charged. This is a violation of Constitutional and international law. Wiretapping without a warrant is also blatantly illegal, but allowed by the Patriot Act. Your Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights are no longer viable. Congratulations. Not sending supplies to New Orleans was criminally negligent, and even more heinous when one considers it was because Bush doesn't give a shit about poor/black people. It was criminal.
Which brings me to something I've been wanting to drive at for a little while now. To be precise, I wanted to point out that George W. Bush is a criminal, and should be thrown in jail. The Constitution says the President can be impeached for "high crimes and misdemeanors," but there is no such action being taken. Never you mind the fact Bush pushed through legislation excusing himself and his posse from being tried of war crimes (is starting an illegal war a war crime?). The war in Iraq is illegal, by the way. Congress has yet to declare war, so the armed forces are being used illegally, not that anyone will call the US government on it. This provided, though, would make Bush responsible for over 3,000 Americans dead, unknown Iraqi dead, and millions of displaced Iraqis, but that may be a bit of a jump. I would be willing to settle on Bush being only partially responsible. Point is, if any other country's leader pulled this, the entire world, including many Americans, would decry the despotic and arrogant actions. Maybe we decry Bush's actions, too, but he's still in the Oval Office. He should be behind bars. To be fair, what can I or anyone else expect from a man who refers to the US Constitution as a "goddamn piece of paper"?
Granted, the next presidential election is quickly approaching, and many, many of these things could be put behind us. I'll take this opportunity to encourage you to not only vote, but vote for Obama (Paul if you go for the GOP). All this could easily throw into question the validity of this whole post. True, it may be pointless to kick Bush and his little cronies and of the White House at this point. The damage has been done. I would argue this same line of thought wasn't applied to the Nuremberg Trials, but that is all very well beside the point. The point is, there are greater considerations. My fellow Americans, we cannot allow this sort of abuse to continue. It has indeed been a long train of abuses and usurpations we've suffered at the hands of our own government, and we need to consider why we let that happen. We've been comfortable, but it was said, (I think by Ben Franklin, but I couldn't find the exact quote, so I'm paraphrasing) that democracy won't be destroyed by attack from without, but apathy from within. Consider that. You are responsible to your fellow Americans. You should consider yourself accountable to other Americans. This is not an optional, quaint idea. It is a moral obligation. John F. Kennedy said, "The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all." This is true. You need to take more responsibility in your government. Please do so, for your sake, for mine, for America's. With you voting, voicing, being active in your government, this country can truly stand for Truth, Justice, Freedom, Equality, all the angels we've trusted to look over us for so long. We've depended on these mercies to protect us and guide us. They will. All we need do is love them enough to stand for them. That way, this will not be a country where there are people and there is government, but a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. God willing, it will not perish from the Earth.
God bless you, thank you for reading, and please consider these things. May mercy and peace follow you, the wind be at your back, and your dreams before you.