Sunday, June 23, 2013
Greetings! On Memorial Day, I have been honoring the persons who fell in the military service on the United States-which is not the same as honoring the wars they were made or conned into fighting. Coming up will be Independence Day, where we recall the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the document which speaks of all men being equal-a document, alas, written by and among wealthy white men who were born in a highly hierarchical society. In American society there was to hereditary nobility, but there was a sense of hierarchy, the idea that owners of land and slaves were inherently superior to bricklayers, cobblers, and other working people. Laws in the Revolutionary and immediate post-Revolutionary (Federalist) era limited the right to vote to white males who owned so much land and so many slaves, and the laws would be to the benefit of such a class, since people of such a class interacts with each other, and believes that their benefit is the benefit of the entire nation. Alas, we have not been faithful to the ideals of the Declaration; at home, we have tolerated and abetted oppression of non-white minorities-Hispanic, African-descended people, and Native people-and have violently repressed workers attempting to organize for their rights; abroad, our government has overthrown democratically elected governments in Iran and Guatemala, supported the Apartheid regime of South Africa, and upheld such pet dictators as Bautista in Cuba, Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, Marcos in the Philippines, and Somoza in Nicaragua. As patriotic Americans, we have to learn and pay attention to this; I believe a true American, either native-born or an immigrant, believes and acts upon the belief in equality and democracy-even though the Constitution does not use the word "democracy." It may be necessary, now that I think about it, to review the Constitution to update our governmental system, to remove impediments to good laws being passed. The Constitution was written and ratified in the late 1780s and early 1790s, an era, like I said, of hierarchy in society, when laws were written by and for rich, white, slave-holding males. The rules of the United States Senate were written so that one single senator could deny permission for the chamber to proceed with business; the southern senators used those tricks to block much of the Civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s; that needs revising. The Electoral College, the source of trouble in the 2000 election, the manipulation of which brought George W. Bush into office (and Dick Cheney into power) definitely has GOT to go. Another thing that needs revising is the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which reads thus: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." this was written at a time, just after the Revolutionary War, when one of the grievances of the colonists was being forced to house British soldiers, and the fear that a standing army could be the instrument of power for a dictator. The Framers of the Declaration of Independence, brought up in the European Enlightenment and English history, knew of Roman history, of Caesar marching on Rome with his legions and dominating the world, and of Cromwell establishing his Puritan state in England. The military was NOT the trillion-dollar colossus it is today. Therefore, the bulk of the military at that era was a militia comprised of every white male in the community, and it was mandatory for them to own a firearm-and the firearms of that era were single-shot muskets, where after you fired a shot, you poured the powder in, stuffed the wadding paper in, rammed the ball in, and then you fired again. If there were at that time Uzis and AK47s, would the Second Amendment not be amended somewhat? I think so. The conservative movement shows again its institutionalized ignorance in the non-scandal over alleged monitoring of Tea Party groups in Ohio by the IRS. The tea parties started with yelling at and threatening Congress-members at town halls during the debate over the Obama health care plan (which, by the way, is very good for the health insurance companies), and yelled at and spat at members after the vote was taken, and who shot at Congressional offices. People like that, gullible people who could be riled up with hysterical lies, are not interested in anyone’s civil liberties. Unfortunately, the Obama administration announced they would take these allegations seriously, and the IRS official at the center of this got into trouble. It’s the same with the Department of Homeland Security report in the first Obama administration, which showed how right-wing extremists are a threat to national safety and security, and the Fox News crowd and its allies howled that their rights were being taken from them, and DHS disregarded the report, even though the report, and the threat was real. The conservative movement remains the spoiled children of American politics, which even the most Liberal President (whoever s/he is) simply MUST satisfy and make happy-but it never happens that way, it never works. Bill Clinton tried to co-opt the conservatives’ crusade against “welfare as we know it,” using their slogans to his own campaigns, and signing the draconian welfare “reform’ law; but they still tried to have him impeached over a blowjob. Similarly, Obama feels he has to appease the Republicans sometimes, but they remain the party whose base is full of people who refuse to believe he was even born in this country, who refuse to accept the scientific fact of global warming and the danger to the environment, and who refuse to accept the right of same-sex couples to marry or of women to control their own birthing processes. The conservative movement has long used “law and order” as a slogan, using fears of crime-and who isn’t afraid of getting robbed, raped and killed?-to gain political mileage? And the liberals played along, not wanting to be “soft on crime.” On the global scale during the Cold War, liberals had to prove they also were not “soft on communism,” and that led to having to support dictators, like the ones I mentioned above, at war with their own people. But conservatives, still in denial of the failure of the “free enterprise system” to solve the 1929 Depression, and of the necessity of state intervention in the form of the New Deal, still linked liberals with Socialism (like it’s a BAD thing), and Socialism with Communism, a repressive system indeed, a diseased mutation that has nothing to do with true Socialism. The conservatives are the heirs of those who glorified Joe McCarthy, whose congressional inquisitions terrorized people into silence over social issues, and cost talented people their jobs. The important movements of the 1960s, Civil Rights and anti-Viet-Nam War, were accused of Communist infiltration, by the Birch Society and the FBI, and were heavily monitored and infiltrated in the COINTEL program, where the FBI sought to disrupt and undermine the movements; the Bureau also spied on and infiltrated groups in the '1980s that opposed the Reagan administration's support for the Nicaraguan contras and the juntas in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the groups opposed to the Bush II administration's disastrous war in Iraq. Compromise is not in the cards is our current politics; we must stand fast on our principles, and take pride in what we believe in. Let us rest up during the summer, enjoy the cook-outs and days at the beach, and then get ready to rumble for the people. Bye!