Thursday, October 19, 2006

What's next?

Henry David Thoreau, in his essay "On Civil Disobedience", wrote: "Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it."

Our current government does not command my respect. It commands my deep disdain, my rage, my shame. Thoreau was writing in protest of the US invasion of Mexico, but his words hold true today: "All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army." (emphasis mine.)

Why do we not perform acts of Civil Disobedience? Beyond Camp Casey, where are the sit-ins protesting the war? Other than Keith Olbermann I am hard-pressed to find a newsperson who actually dares to speak the truth on television. We blog. We write about this over and over, and sometimes I think we are preaching to the choir, and we need to take our message out to the streets. But not violently. Violence is an act of cowardice. It takes courage to say no, and to stand behind our beliefs. It takes real courage to risk everything for dignity and freedom in an enviroment that lionizes fear.

I am not a professional organizer; I am not a political pundit. I'm a travel agent. I show up to work, and I try to be pleasant, and I try to do a good job. But I am also a citizen, and have a responsibility to make sure I live in a world I can respect. If I cannot respect my home, I am certain the rest of the world holds us in disdain as well.

8 comments:

Tony Bridge said...

Hi Jood:
I couldn't agree more and while I my own blog is mre environmentally-pointed, it is a the lack of self-respect and apathy which is the reason all this continues. I cam across a quote I would like to share:
The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.
Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982)
That evil continues, or in the case of the US, decay continues, is because of apathy and self-serving behaviour. It is too easy to say: I am only one person or what can I do? Well, the answer is: plenty. Just ask Erin Brockovich! it means a willingness to put something back.
I studied American History and literature at my( New Zealand) University.Once unification was done, the US( and I am a USophile) seemd to develop some sort of bipolar personality in regard to its role as the big kid on the block, and an attendant insensitivity to others' beliefs. When the rest of the world comments on his shortcomings- and they do exist- he retreats into his house and sulks-then comes out and does it all over! As for Dubya's "if you aint for us, your'se agin us" insensitivity and more significantly, inconsistency, well, it does the world no good. We need to know where the sherriff stands, and we need him.
I, for one, remember all the good things done for me by the US, all the blood spilled for me and my whanau, all the GI's who went down in the Pacific for me and my way of life, for freedom and democracy, and I am deeply grateful. They are doing it again, but i cannot help feeling that the cause is..well, let's say inconsistent. To go into Iraq and ignore both the Sudan and Rwanda?

Yes, we can all have a say, yes, we can all play a part. Like the Roman fasces, one stick can be broken. Bound together, they are invincible.

The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982),

DivaJood said...

Ah, Tony, I love your photographs, thank you for visiting!

I agree with you about taking single steps. That's why I emphasize my own lack of being a professional organizer. However, that's a bit disingenuous of me, because I was a very active semi-professional in Illinois for an Independent Democrat for many, many years.

And I take steps, and urge others around me to do so. It is important today, in the USA, to be very vocal at the risk of great personal loss. The biggest evil is to do nothing.

Tina said...

Hubby and I devoted so many hours and dollars to the 2004 election, campaigning for Kerry door to door and thru Get out the Vote, plus I dedicated all of Election Day to Get out the Vote by working with a team of volunteer attorneys who documented voting problems in our county... and there were plenty.
We have also given money to the DNC since we got married (it will be 7yrs on the 23rd) but this yr, we did not give money nor did we campaign. Instead we gave to local guys (Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown, Victoria Wulsin (she's against that nasty witch Jean Schmidt) and we did send money to Ned Lamont twice).
But when we've gotten calls from the DNC and the DCCC, we informed them exactly why they are NOT getting our money this yr: You have refused to fight for us and if you will not fight for us, then you are just as bad as the GOP. The one phone call that especially stands out took place just after the Dems refused to filibuster Alito. The DNC called for money, and I said this: "I'm sorry, but my husband and I are trying to build up a nest egg for an abortion fund. See we just never know if me or God forbid our young daughter will ever be raped and will have to leave the country to obtain a safe abortion. And since the Democrats gave a guy like Alito the big thumbs up, and he has told us plainly that he will happily vote to overturn Roe vs Wade, we figure we have to start looking out for ourselves b/c you Dems have zero interest in doing so." Silence... crickets chirping... rustling of papers... and then a very quiet thank you and then the sound of the phone being hung up.
Do the Dems need our money? Sure. But they have to EARN it. It isn't only us who needs to wake up. Our Dems need to wake TFU quick. The GOP has every intention of hurting America bad. It is high time the Dems fought back.

Frederick said...

I've been seeing the self imposed restraint leading up to this election. After I got out of the active duty side of the Army, I went to protests at the RNC in NYC and in to the big one in Washington D.C., things have slowed down since then. My Sociology teacher taught us an important concept, revolutions happen not when things are at there worst, but after we've hit bottom and things start to turn around. When expectations aren't met that's when people take to the streets.

Think about every significant change in history, the civil rights movement coming in the wake of expanded rights and intergration in the military during WWII, for instance...it's going to be a bumpy ride for the next 2 years.

DivaJood said...

Tina, I wish I'd been a fly on the wall for that phone call. They do have to earn the funds again. I've never donated to the DNC, despite the fact that a friend of mine used to be a fundraiser for them. Instead, I've always donated for specific candidates or issues. Always. It means better control of the funds.

Fred, that's an interesting concept - but I'm not sure that it applies to the American Revolution - or am I missing something? But yes, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Anonymous said...

Hey Djood,

Long time no speak huh? Great post! Living away from the US I often feel guilty. It is as if I have abandon my country, but tell you the truth it is not because I left because of this current administration. I simply do care much for American culture and the way the entire edifice is built on lies, corruption and greed. But before the Anti-American epithets begin to fly, let me say that I plan to come home someday and see what the hell we can do to fix these things, but I agree with the comment made earlier:

Revolutions happen not when things are at there worst, but after we've hit bottom and things start to turn around. When expectations aren't met that's when people take to the streets.

Middle Class people like ourselves need to feel the pinch and not only read and write about it. I think once that happens change will start to come about. Another trend in American politics is that once things get nearly unbearable the Dem. (team B of the capitalist machine) come in and calm everyone down, but giving a few surface concessions. Clinton after Reagan is a great example.) so watch the Dem will win control of Congress and probably the white House in 2008. People will breath a sigh of relief, and give up taking to the streets because the monster Bush will be gone. But the corportaions running the country will bid their time until the next time they will make a grab for more.

We as the people must fight the entire system, not just the bad man currently in the White House.

Your post inspired me. Get out there Diva Jood we need polite blogging grandma blogger on the street shouting….

By the way do you have any idea what happen to the two Israeli soldiers that were the cause of the destruction of Lebanon? We never heard of them again.

DivaJood said...

Hi BZ! Kaia must be keeping you busy eh? Anyway, I don't believe that America was founded on greed or corruption. But like any government, it devolves. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and we are seeing the results of that. I see the point about the Middle Class. We are "fat and sassy" and lazy. But I am not a communist. I lean toward socialism but still work within a system. And BZ, I am not so polite.

As for the two Israeli soldiers: they have not been released. Nor has the soldier who was kidnapped in Gaza.

betmo said...

they do hold us in disdain. i have heard it on my very own blog. i don't know why folks aren't more incensed and outraged. my theory is that there are too many medicated folks in this country. too many folks on happy pills and too many folks who are 'too busy' to engage in civic duty. what other explanation is there?