What I am going to do here is tell you a story.
It isn't my main purpose to evaluate the participants in the story,
but at the same time to a certain extent we will have to judge some of them.
But that comes after - lets hear the story first.
Some time in the past of the United States of America, the Republican Party
became involved with a polticial movment that is sometimes called: the Christian
Right. Now these terms, such as Right and Left, and Republican and Democrat,
all have a rich history. They have meant different things in the past
from what they do today, so it is not so important to see this involvment
in some kind of strict definitional sense. Think of it more as a description
of the activity of certain groups of people and their followers. There
are certain Republicans and politically oriented Christians (who like some
of the same ideas and ideological structures that these Republicans like)
who joined forces. There were some things these fellow citizens of
ours didn't like about what was going on in the world and in America, and
like many they thought that something could be done about this by political
Now political activity involves certain skills, such as raising money, creating
certain images in the public's mind, getting specific people elected, and
so forth. In our time, especially if you can raise a lot of money, such
groups can become quite skilled at manipulating the electoral process in
the direction of their views and values. More or less, most of us agree
that this is how it works, although a lot of people question whether this
is how it should
work (we'll come back to that later).
Anyway, over time those who are part of what we have been calling the Christian
Right gain more and more power (get better and better at getting their candidates
elected), and also gain more and more influence within the Republican Party
itself. What started out as an activity of a small percentage of our
citizens begins after a time to have a great deal of influence.
During this same time period, the Republican Party itself (in its main ideological
nature) had become the party of commerce, that is the Republicans became the
party that concentrated wealth used (in the main) to put forward its agendas.
No surprise here, and certainly the Republicans would be the first
to admit that they favor free enterprise capitalism, as against political
agendas that are socialistic or communistic, or even (something of more recent
All this would probably be okay to a certain extent, if there was a vital
opposition party to balance out any excesses on the Right. Our founders
understood the need for balance and the whole constitutional system was created
to foster political processes which allowed opposing views to be mediated
and come to compromise. But the Left, mostly the Democrats, fell under
a spell during this time, and more and more lost their way. Lets look
closer at that.
Our system of government is really one of Ideas. It is Ideas and Ideals
written into Law that underlies what the United States is as a sovereign Nation.
Now Ideas require clear thinking, and Ideals some kind of moral center.
If those can be corrupted, than the Ideas and Ideals more and more
become some kind of empty ghosts - images without any real spiritual content
or force in their influence on human behavior.
In this regard, concentrated wealth wasn't content to just influence our
polity through the Republican Party, but sought to influence the Left as well,
the Democrats. Thus, over time, both main parties began to more and
more agree on certain kinds of economic Ideas and Ideals, not really contesting
them in public debate anymore. I am sure there are all manner of learned
papers hidden in the libraries of our leading Universities on this process,
but the public dialogue itself slowly and surely lost its sense of this,
at least for a time at any rate.
Occasionally, this lack of opposition was pointed out to us, such as in
, but for the most part we didn't really notice that concentrated
wealth had such wide influence, not only within the two main parties, but
even in the institutions of higher learning, which were supposed to create
for us a body of leaders who understood, in practice, how to think clearly
about Ideas, and how to find in themselves that moral center from which the
higher Ideals could come to life.
At present, in the United States, the influence of concentrated wealth coupled
with the influence of the so-called Christian Right has gained great power.
At a time when the world itself has shrunk, and violence once confined
beyond our shores has now come to our very doorsteps, a certain kind of imbalance
has arisen in our shared poltical life, our community life of Ideas and Ideals.
We know, through our own commen sense, that when something is out of balance
we can tell this by the presence of certain kinds of excesses - certain kinds
of unnecessary behaviors and actions. These have been appearing in the
activities of the 2nd Bush adminstration, and they now become part of this
The first out of balance activity occured during the distress following
the 2000 Presidential election, that arose in Florida over the problems there
connected with the closeness of the vote. The election would be determined
by what next happened, and the Republican Party poured enormous funds into
the situation - in essence seeking to overwhelm the process and control it,
rather than let it find its own way to a just and honest conclusion. What
the people there actually wanted, in the sense of their votes, was not so
important as making sure that anything that might allow Gore to win had to
No expense was spared, no manipulation of the public mind overlooked, even
to the point busing in hundreds of campaign workers at one point to create
a riot-like situation
. Those who controlled the Republican Party
placed winning the election ahead of finding out what the true will of the
people of Florida had been.
Some will, of course, find my characterization in error, and you dear reader
will certainly have the opportunity to read what has been researched in the
aftermath of these events concerning this (if you so choose). So be
When the Republicans took office, and began to assert their views (views
which are, if one really looks at their actions instead of their rhetoric,
the views of a minority of our People), the approach being made so disturbed
a certain Senator
that he changed his party affiliation
in order to prevent the Republicans
from having a majority in the Senate as well as the House of Representatives.
was not the first Republican Senator to question the direction of that Party,
and its control by a minority.
Then came 9/11. Nothing so makes clear what Ideas (clear thinking)
and Ideals (moral center) live in a political organization than its response
to a truly serious crisis. This is what I wrote at the beginning of
working paper #4
"The Problem of Terrorism".
"...lets think about what really changed:
For people living in Israel or Palistine, not all that much.
Hatred and violence are there almost a way of life. For Americans,
who managed to go through two World Wars without really any serious domestic
impact (outside of our children, husbands and wives dying in foreign places)
9/11 was a major shock to the system. Those, who had found reason to
hate us, now made war upon us right in our backyard.
One way to look at this is: "how could they?" Another
way is to realize we having been living under the benefit of a remarkable
Grace that it took so long before we had to face what other parts of the
world live with on a daily basis. We really should be thankful, given
how open our society is. In many ways we are much more vulnerable than
other places in the world, where many guards and over cautious suspicion
are the norm.
The response of our leaders has been somewhat predictable
(see discussion below). But has it been wise?
Ask yourself the question of how far will we have to go,
in terms of sacrificing our civil rights, before we could make our society
completely free of the dangers of terrorism. Should we close all our
borders, erect walls and fences, make national IDs required for everyone,
station check points at the edge of every city and town, turn all our neighbors
and friends into secret spys, watching each other for the smallest deviation
from right thought and deed? How far to complete safety?
The reality is that complete safety is not possible, anymore
than ending the drunken driving deaths on our highways. We can no
more prevent any and all acts of terror, than we can prevent cancer. Would
we be right in making all Islamic peoples live in concentration camps?
The fact is we cannot make life completely safe. Such
a goal requires fantasy thinking, thinking disconnected from reality. Further,
if we sacrifice any civil rights, any at all, we do for the terrorist what
they seek. We become terrorized. We react to their terror and
out of fear make our society less open, less free, less what makes it what
it is. If the terrorists make us live in fear, than to that extent
then have already won the war. Terrorism is not about physical damage,
death and destruction. It is about destroying something inside of people
- it is entirely psychological in nature.
This being the case then it must be fought on that level
- inside us. We defeat the terrorist by not being terrorised.
We obtain our victory over this psychological crime by not letting the fear
build prisons in our minds, or by not letting the fear build mistrust in
our hearts. Nor do we reach out into the world and commit similar acts
against others, using the terrorist as an excuse to sink to their level of
violent approaches to the solution of poor relations among Peoples.
This again is an inner work, a work of discipline. Think of it
as a kind of mental Kung Fu, or Aikido. The terrorists attacks us
with violence in order to influence our inner stability, to throw us off
our inner center and into a state of fear from which we will react without
conscience, attentiveness or wisdom. We defeat the terrorist by maintaining
our inner equilibrium and by being even more thoughtful and generous as a
People. We say: "Yes, you can kill a few of us, and yes you can cause
death and struction, but NO! you will not destroy our spirit, and NO! you
will not turn us from the better Angel of our nature, and NO! you will not
cause us to dishonor our hard won freedoms by putting them aside for either
ourselves, or any others who have come to our shores seeking freedom, equality
and brotherhood. Take your best shot, but you can be certain that we
will not let you destroy that inner ideal which is the heart of America, and
the true strength of the American Spirit."
What the 2nd Bush administration did was delcare a "war on terrorism", a
rather incongruous action given that both the "war on poverty" and the "war
on drugs" were lost. Following delcaring this war the adminstration
offered to Congress the
USA Patriots Act.
(This thing is very boring in places, but a
responsible citizen will read it, or a renewal group will have someone study
it and offer their thinking. It can't be ignored.) Here
is a link to an analysis.
Now the essence of the USA Patriots Act is to increase governmental powers.
There was no real showing of some new need in response to 9/11, but
the emotional mood of the hour (the anthrax scare was happening here, a scare
directed at our lawmakers for the most part) made possible this administration's
asking for and receiving additional and quite probably unconstitutional powers
of search and seizure. This is all the more amazing, since one of the
fundamental principles of the Republican Party has been to restrict the powers
of the Federal Goverment, especially those which might invade the sanctity
of our homes. But here, under the guise of the need to seek out terrorists
at home, a Republican administration has vastly increased the power of the
Federal Government to commit egregious acts of domestic surveillance against
our own people.
At present the Administration is further establishing its fascist powers,
by refusing (yes refusing) to obey a Court order of a sitting Federal Judge.
case involves an American who was arrested in America and labeled by the Bush
administration as an "enemy compatant".
On the basis of this label, which the Bush Administration insists is a decision
that can't be review by the Courts, this American Citizen has been denied
the right to legal council, and thus to all other related rights which normally
belong to all of us. What this means is the Bush Adminstration is claiming
for itself the power to give a label (enemy compatant) to any US Citizen,
at any time, which labeling act is not reviewable by the courts and which
will permit the Adminstration to detain any one so labeled indefinitely, without
any civil rights.
This is a clear violation of the Bush's oath of office, which states as follows:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the
Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability,
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." This
Oath is required by the Consitution, and to the extent that the Bush administration
rewrites the Constitution for its own egregious seeking after power, Bush
violates that Oath.
We no longer have a Constitutional government, and this being the case it
is the responsibility of our citizenry to rise up and replace the tyranny
of concentrated wealth that has usurped the powers and duties of the Republic
and defamed and destroyed the Constitution.