What is happening now has happened before and will happen again.
The year is 2011 and the world is three years into an economic crisis the true scope of which we are too close to clearly see. We see that our national debt is astronomical, that many of our friends and neighbors are grimly unemployed, and that people are revolting all over the world, making the same demands. They are demanding freedom, for their voice to be heard, and for a chance to obtain what they and their families need to stay alive.
They revolt against a ruling elite which lives in luxury, maintained by secrecy, and enforced by overt and covert oppression. When they revolt, they are inevitably met with violence. Police and military units are dispatched to shoot and club the citizens back into submission; back into a system that is working very well for the ruling elite. Yet incredibly, the people just bury their dead and flood back into the streets to be clubbed again, because what they demand they cannot stop demanding and remain fully human.
They don’t want to die. They don’t want to be clubbed. They have seethed in poverty and accepted injustice for many years, but they look at their children and know it cannot go on. “If not us, who? If not now, when?” they ask, and look down into the eyes of the children and have their answer. They bury their dead and absorb the blows and more people join them until the slaves reclaim the plantation.
After the Revolution
At that stage of any revolution, there is euphoria. Yet this is a dangerous stage, for the ruling elites, having failed with force, as they almost always do, will now use stealth. They will seek to turn the herd, like cowboys turning a herd of stampeding cattle they could not stop. That is, they will seek to retain power in some sneaky way. When revolutionaries come to power and eliminate the ruling elite, through executions and incarceration, a new elite will seek to take over, often from the ranks of the revolutionaries them selves. If none of this succeeds, men in suits will soon appear and offer loans for “economic development” to the newly freed people. The loans are designed to re-enslave the people and open the nation’s resources, including its human resources, to exploitation by the elite of other nations.
If the people resist all these ploys to re-enslave them, the danger is not past. They may become targets for foreign nations seeking to protect their “national (i.e. corporate) interests. They may become targets for “regime change” through assassination, sabotage, or deliberate fomenting of insurrection. If the freed people overcome all these efforts the danger is still not past, because the danger will never be past. The tendency of every government is toward oligarchy, no matter what “ism” they claim to follow.
The United States Has Changed
The United States is no exception. We fought our revolution, wrote our constitution, and we hold our presidential elections complete with coronation ceremonies befitting the myth of a promised king who will, this time, rule in righteousness. We have one of the more workable systems and it works if we work it. But the people have fallen asleep, we would just like to live our lives and trust our leaders. People are reluctant to revolt. As Jefferson said, “…all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” Power brokers do not sleep. They constantly push for more power, and that power comes from the power they take from the lives of the people.
We are at this moment fighting two wars, but that will change. We have been in Afghanistan and Iraq for ten years. We are part of a military action in Libya and making war noises toward Iran. Since at least 1945, the United States has been at war, either openly (Viet Nam and the current conflicts,) or covertly like the state terrorism exposed by the Iran-Contra scandal. We are a war machine, arms manufacturers and policemen of the world. This has been very profitable for the military-congressional-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell speech, but we did not heed the General’s warning. The American Empire has emerged, damaging if not yet replacing the American Republic, just like the Roman Republic/Empire we so admired. The Roman Empire, like all empires, fell. What is happening now has happened before.
The Everlasting Enemy
We warred coldly against communism for fifty years, on the grounds that communism is a totalitarian, evil, and godless system. It was the enemy we needed to justify our proxy wars, and perhaps we served the same function for them. Communism is not the enemy now; in fact, now we praise communist China because it enriches our corporations. The U.S. plays ball with any “ism” or dictator no matter how corrupt or how much they abuse their citizens as long as our corporations profit by the association.
Courage of the Founders
Our new enemy, Terrorism, is a perfect enemy because it is an abstraction. Like the devil, it could be anywhere, it could strike at any time, and the warfare will never end. To protect us from this devil, the government has taken away our privacy and more of our freedoms. Benjamin Franklin said, “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.” This was not just a clever saying. The founding fathers were unwilling to trade security for liberty. They were not saints, they were humans just like us, but when they signed the Declaration of Independence, they knew that if they failed, they had just signed their own death warrants.
The American Condition
We are a rich nation, consuming more of the world’s resources than most. In fact, consuming is what we do best. We gaze at the ads that have been scientifically constructed to hit us in the lizard part of our brain so that we respond with the urge to buy. We buy and buy, and work and work so that we can buy and buy and this has kept the treadmill spinning. But it has not made us happy; it has not made us healthy. We are such good consumers that we buy things we do not have the money for; no problem Mastercard assures us, we can charge it.
Selling Our Future into Slavery
We then pay interest, often outrageous interest, which is simply yielding to money merchants hours of our future life. In this way, they enslave us. We may say we own our homes, but when we miss a few payments, as almost a million unemployed people have in the past few years, we find we did not own our homes at all. The banks own our homes and do not hesitate to take them back if we can no longer give them their monthly pound of flesh.
Rumblings of Discontent
So here we are, worried about money, worried about terrorists, and vaguely aware that something bigger than either one is going on. The ruling elite keeps the people scared and submissive through Weapons of Mass Distraction-propaganda presented as news and diversions like the latest celebrity sex scandal. Give the malcontents bread and circuses, and they won’t notice the corruption. It worked in Rome-for awhile. They keep the people divided, liberal against conservative, black against white, and try to hype us into believing that it makes a real difference whether we vote Republican or Democrat. This fraud they perpetrate because their biggest nightmare is citizens who are awake, informed, and united. They know that when that happens, the peasants will grab their pitchforks, and against that moral force even the most powerful military on earth cannot stand.
What Can One Citizen Do?
What can we do? What can one citizen do against a cabal of power brokers? One citizen can join with other citizens and do whatever they do best, whether its make coffee, make music, or make press releases. The elite are not a distant and mysterious organism; it is made up of individuals with a common goal, each doing his or her part. This is the only way, and this way has triumphed in various reincarnations throughout history. They have formed a body, with head and hands and legs and feet, and only bodies have the power to act coherently. The citizens at this time are not a body, they are small groups of body parts scattered about, dismembered hands blaming dismembered feet for the fact that they cannot walk.
The Way to Freedom
This way takes work and time. Americans are more willing to work than wait. We want fast, fast relief, some sort of magic bullet that will fix everything quickly-like a new President. We have not yet seen that the new President becomes an organ in the elite body and assumes his role there. We have not yet seen that, but we are beginning to.
In 2008, when the economy seemed to unravel overnight, groups of citizens spontaneously organized in homes and restaurants to protest. They called them selves the Tea Party, after the group that defiantly threw British tea into Boston Harbor before the American Revolution. Various Tea Party groups sprang up around the country and Republican political operatives saw this as a stampede that needed to be turned. One such operative started the Tea Party Express, a private bus company which transported activists to rallies. Perhaps the Tea Party members were already staunch Republicans, and if so, had every right to be. But if not, they were soon using Republican talking points and being heavily promoted on Fox News.
Unfortunately, opponents of the Republican agenda began to vilify and mock the Tea Party and continue to this day. The dismembered hands raise their middle fingers toward the dismembered feet. This behavior keeps the elite safe and comfortable and until it stops citizens can make little progress. There are very few pure left or right-wing ideologues; that is a false and manufactured polarity. The great mass of citizens occupies some space in the middle and is flexible on strategies. Citizens do not have to agree on everything to make changes, the elite don’t agree on everything, but they agree on their goal, which is to live far above the common people by making the common people work for them.
What are the goal of the citizens? 1) To have the means to stay alive, to meet the physical needs of them selves and their families. 2) To be free of abuse and dominance, free to keep their private life private, free to form their own beliefs and to have those beliefs respected. 3) To have the opportunity to contribute, to create, to improve conditions for them selves, for their families, for their community. If any of these goals are obstructed, then the citizen’s very humanity has been obstructed, and they will rise up and break down those obstructions. These three goals are universal, they cross all party lines and agendas, and they are an intrinsic part of what it means to be human. All humans desire these things, from Egypt to Africa to the Americas. Basic morality demands that what we universally desire we must universally grant to all other human beings or we become elitists our selves and despicable hypocrites.
1). Every human deserves freedom from domination in any form; physically, mentally, and spiritually.
2). Every human deserves the means to maintain life.
3). Every human deserves the opportunity to create and contribute according to their abilities.
These are the Principles that do not change, but Strategies must change as the world changes. It is imperative to see the difference. Principles stand; strategies evolve. We have lost our way and been flexible on our Principles but rigid on our strategies. Thus we violate the very ideals that make our Republic great, while rigidly adhering to a set of talking points that are mere partisan strategies. All strategies must refer back to principles: Does it increase or insure human liberty, humanity, or opportunity? If not, it is an unprincipled strategy.
It is us and it is now and we have unchanging principles to guide us. What is happening now has happened before.