A Free Country
by Rand Clifford
As soon as freedom is taken for granted, it’s ready to be taken away. Being one of civilization’s oldest lessons, why must that be relearned again and again? Many people in this country seem obliged to blithely toss off "It’s a free country" to justify something trivial and silly, but could anything be more serious than the freedom of a nation’s citizens?
Freedom is always under siege. Thomas Jefferson said, and it has echoed down the line, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance". Right now in this "Land of the Free", freedom has been slipped out from under us with presidential directives and executive orders, leaving Americans an "event" away from martial law and forced labor camps—and how many even know? (1) Knowledge in this case seems destined to come same as serious accidents often do...everything seems fairly normal, then suddenly WHAM! leaves an aftermath of, "how can this be?" What happened!?"
What is happening is inevitable when "eternal vigilance" is replaced with apathy. If ignorance and fear join the "price" paid...such as might be expected was displayed last week when President bush silver spooned baloney to our troops in Iraq via video conference:
"I must say, I’m a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you...in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You’re really making history, and thanks."
Certainly, the President speaking in tongues should not surprise thoughtful Americans, a little horrified recoil has become almost a daily experience for anyone really paying attention. But this is special—the supposed leader of the world’s most dangerous nation romanticizing the mass murder of innocent human beings, in the interests of empire, by our "best and brightest" who often come home mangled in body or mind, or both, if not in a flag-draped box...romanticizing gruesome realities such as the President’s mother, Barbara, trivialized on Good Morning America with her typically empathic: "So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
Should American "fodder units" (2) feel privileged for the opportunity to kill and die for alpha-reptilian elites?
You might say we even bought and paid for Vice President Dick Cheney’s latest confirmation that he does not care what Americans think. His diplomatic, for the record, "So?" actually, elegantly sums up the Controlling Power Configuration’s (CPC) sentiment regarding the vote of the American people. Good thing it’s so easy for the CPC to tally the vote however they choose; otherwise, enormous resources might be wasted, such as in the status quo sideshow called the "Presidential Race". There will be no realistic candidate for President that is not cleared by the CPC, period. And, in this cycle for instance, it makes no significant difference whether the CPC finally chooses Obama, Clinton or McCain, we will see further rape of our Constitution, further decay of our country, further imperialistic mass murder....
One way to quantify our descent is by noting how crucially germane certain classic quotes involving liberty and government have become.
"Freedom is never an achieved state; like electricity, we’ve got to keep generating it or the lights go out." – Wayne LaPierre
For people who understand the function of mainstream corporate media (CorpoMedia) as the propaganda arm of corporate-controlled government (CorpoGov), darkness in America, and darkness America exports around the world is no surprise.
"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." – Frederick Douglass
9-11 vastly expanded what Americans will submit to, as have CorpoMedia’s relentless propagation of ignorance and fear. People who get all their "news" from television, newspapers and radio might know a lot about sensational trivia, celebrities and corporate sports, (phony) wars and (phony) elections, but when it comes to what is really going on in the world, such people reinforce the global perspective of Americans being the most misinformed people on the planet. The Internet has become absolutely essential, but involving so much freedom makes it absolutely endangered.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)
We have allowed the methodical stripping of our insulation against tyranny, only to be learning, again, another ancient lesson in governance: When tyranny descends like freezing fog of anti-life, options get frozen. With voting reduced to cold shadows, we as a people now enjoy the freedom of virtually no voice in the direction of our country.
"In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all—security, comfort, and freedom. When...the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens (America?) ceased to be free." – Sir Edward Gibbon
"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetuated in the name of the noblest causes." – Thomas Paine.
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion; what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787
Organized protest, when still allowed, mostly earns a "So?" The trend is for appeals to our "goddam-piece-of-paper" Constitution—along with the simple questioning of CorpoGov—to become acts of "terrorism". First, America cries terrorism! whenever foreigners we’re terrorizing seek to protect themselves; now it’s coming home, turning on us. Most people still seem to buy the illusion that this coming November 4 will have something to do with positive change. We do have at least the potential for major change—one way or the other—coming much sooner. Many things falling into orbit around Thursday, May 1, could have influence beyond anything we’ve seen in a long time.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has voted to shut down West Coast Ports on May Day, planning to stop work during the day shift. Since troops invaded Afghanistan in 2002, this Internationalist Group has fought for American unions to strike against the Pentagon killing machine. Now they are demanding not only an end to occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, but a withdrawal of our troops from the entire region, including oil sheikdoms of the Persian/Arab Gulf. On the "other side", the CPC’s chosen ones, Obama, Clinton and McCain, all support expansion of warfare in Afghanistan. Also, Admiral Fallon was removed this month, the main obstacle to Cheney and his chickenhawk pack getting us into attacking Iran, perhaps kindling WWIII. As the head of U.S. Central Command, Fallon had maintained that an attack on Iran would never happen on his watch. The White House finally got him retired—further disgrace that CorpoMedia obscured with standard bursts of CorpoGov lies, before quickly going on to more important matters (nothing to see here, move along). After all, who’s ever heard of Admiral William Fallon, formerly the most important voice of reason perhaps in the whole world?
If not severely muted or worse, by attacks on Iran before May 1, the action announced by the powerful West Coast dock workers union should be taken up by unions and labor organizations throughout the United States, even internationally—May Day is the international workers day, though not honored in the U.S. The only thing for sure about this strike is that, now "legally", pretty much anything could happen, including declaration of martial law. American troops firing on American workers. Blackwater unleashed. UN "Peacekeepers"...? Labor accurately sees the War On Terror as an attempt to terrorize the world into submission, while doubling as a war on working people and democratic rights. Labor still has the muscle to shut the country down, and this strike against imperialist war is nothing new. During contract negotiations in the fall of 2002, where a shutdown of similar proportions loomed, BushCo hit with an injunction declaring any work stoppage a threat to the "war effort", and issued threats of occupying the ports with troops. Lots of new "rules" since then guarantee that, overall, we should expect new standards of American "liberty" to bare their teeth if labor flexes their muscles...all a certain prelude to so long dollars, loonies and pesos, hello Amero? (3)
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