You Say You Want a Revolution

Time to take back our power

It's time for a revolution in the United States.

That word has such a negative connotation, but remember two things:
1-The United States was founded by a revolution.
2-Revolutions do not have to be violent.

A lot of changes have happened in this country over the last six years.

There are many highly placed people who are not shy about saying that this president and his administration, under the guise of protecting us from terrorism, have taken more power into the executive branch than has ever been seen. I have written about this before. No longer is every American--or for that matter any American--guaranteed the right to a trial. One of the most important rights we have--habeus corpus--has essentially been suspended; if the president feels like suspending it. We have lost a lot of other basic American rights, too. A bit of freedom of speech and expression... the right to have court warrants before we can be searched, stopped, or subject to eavesdropping. Essentially America is no longer a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. That is thanks to the current government, who attempts to control us with tactics of fear (isn't that what terrorists do?) but also the media, ranging from conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (and many others) to alleged "crusaders" such as Nancy Grace and John Walsh. We think nothing anymore of splashing someone's face and name in the news when they are simply suspected of a crime--or societal misbehavior.

As far as government, there has been another breach, and that is the very basic system of checks and balances. Our founding fathers had enough skepticism about government to set up a country with three different branches of Federal power--the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. For too many reasons to go into here, the dominant party has seized all three branches of government, and our checks and balances system has ceased to function. It is not only the Republicans, of course. The Democrats have consistently backed down and have not challenged this administration.

George Bush was fond of saying the terrorists hate us for our freedom. By the time he's done with his two terms, the terrorists will no longer hate us for our freedoms because we will have few left. (This is not an original thought.) This week Bill Maher closed his show on a very sobering note (he generally does) disguised as a "new rule." You can see his Web page at HBO in a day or two for this past week's new rules. His point was that a country can no longer boast about being number 1, if it isn't number one in much of anything. We are no longer first in education, science, technology, providing assistance or medical care to our citizens. In fact, we fall very low on the list of civilized or industrialized countries in many of those areas. We are also a debtor nation, despite all our technology and resources. In fact, this week, the head of the Government Accountability Office--essentially the nation's top pubic accountant--is touring the country, telling all those who listen that our federal deficit can break the nation, but yet politicians steer very clear of talking about that. Our country has not had a trade surplus since 1975! If you personally owed money every single year since 1975, what you would do? Would banks continue to give you loans?

The United States looks more like a declining empire with each passing month. It's obvious--for better or worse--who will take our place. Who did we ask to help us deal with North Korea? And note that for many years, the first visit abroad by any new Japanese Prime Minister was to the U.S. Last month, the P.M.'s first visit abroad was to China, which replaced the U.S. as Japan's largest trading partner. And, in fact, our own trade deficit with China is about $200 billion this year. We'd better hope they don't call it in. Or you'll be pulling a rickshaw.

So what we can do? As Americans we need to put the brakes on our run-away government. Even a Republican governor on CNN said that we can no longer trust our own voting system. Electronic voting has provided no paper trail and has been proven to be susceptible to hacking and manipulation. We cannot, then, afford to play politics as usual. We must at this time send a message to Washington that things must change. We must vote out the dominant party by a huge amount of votes. Enough to guarantee that rigged voting machines won't wash the margin away.

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I think that, for the long-term, we have to develop additional parties and enable more of a coalition government so Congress has more than two voices--voices that happen to differ a little bit from each other. Over 70% of Americans polled now believe this country is going in the wrong direction. When have so many Americans agreed on anything?

The way for a successful revolution is for everyone in this country to vote... not less than half the population, as usual. It is now too late for unregistered voters to go to the polls. Those of you who have never registered need to grow up and take some responsibility for your country. When we kill innocent Iraqi civilians, when innocent American soldiers--many younger than 20 years old-- die, it is in your name and with your stamp of approval. And if you don't like it, you need to get off your ass and assert your right to vote. I believe voting should not be a right or a privilege, it should be required. Requiring a vote in a democracy does not abrogate any freedom. We are required to pay taxes. We are required to get a license if we want to drive or hunt or whatever. Sometimes we are required to register for the draft. Certainly voting is less of an imposition than any of those. Don't be fooled. The people who put it in our heads that it's undemocratic to make people vote are those in power. That is because they fear that if those who don't normally vote--the poor, the disenfranchised, the fed up!--go to the polls, those in power will be ousted. In a peaceful revolution. No one will tell you who to vote for. Just that you have to participate in your democracy.

This close to the election, the best I can hope for is that anyone who reads this will make sure to vote. If 80 or 90 or 100 percent of registered voters went to the polls, the face of this country would change.

I won't suggest who you should vote for. But note that even some Conservatives and Republicans these days...blogger Andrew Sullivan is but one example... have said they would vote against Republicans (their own party) to try to re-establish the balance of power.

I truly believe that if we don't reinstate checks and balances in our Senate and House this time around, we may not have another opportunity to undo what has been done.

So I ask you contemplate who you will vote for. Make a difference when voting for the House and Senate--provide a majority that can say no to the president. I also suggest you find a third party you like, and support them on your local level--in your county elections, in your municipal city elections--to give some new blood a foothold and a place to begin to make changes.

The sun does not have to set on America. It is up to me and it is up to you. Please vote and please think about the big picture when you cast your votes. At this point we need a revolution--a peaceful one. Because if we don't change the country via peaceful means this time, the future may not give us another opportunity to be so civil.

Oh, and happy Halloween!

Posted: Sun - October 29, 2006 at 04:32 PM