Friday, June 4, 2010

A Republic, If We Can Keep It

People are upset and angry at our government over this disaster in the Gulf.  No political party is particularly well-liked right now as both are seen as more concerned over the well-being of corporate interests during this oil blowout than our land and people. 

I'm not a huge fan of Ralph Nader but I keep remembering one thing he said during his runs for President, namely that voting between the Democrats and the Republicans means the choice is whether we go down on our left knee or right knee before corporate interests. This is what we get for allowing our employees in Congress to be sold to the highest bidder and allowing our country to become the oligarchy it is now.

I do mean we too: too many of us think that once we've voted our job is done. We've been propagandized and indoctrinated into being meek little sheepish followers for too long too.  Let's face it, the idea that the wealthy knows best isn't a monopoly of the right, it directs all of us by varying degrees and we dare not challenge them.   If this oil blowout had happened to most other countries, they wouldn't wringing their hands and sitting at home just watching -- there would be wall to wall demonstrations in the streets DEMANDING this be taken care of NOW. People would be PISSED and out of their houses showing it. What are we doing? Watching TV and saying, "Oh, how awful!"

There was a great editorial caroon I caught a while back about the news of massive demonstrations overseas over what the demonstrators saw as fixed and fradulent elections in Iran.  It mentions those protests over the cartoon, then shows two men's reaction to the stolen election that placed George W. Bush into the White House.  The talk balloons went along the lines of, "Did ya hear about how Bush stole the White House?"  "Yeah, that's awful.  So what are you doing tonight?"

Michael Moore had it right when he pointed out in one of his films that around the world, people demonstrate and agitate so much that their governments are afraid of its people and act so not to upset them. Here it's the reverse -- we hardly ever get out and do something about what we don't like and fear our government. We just hope our government does the right thing, when we can get away from our new cars and HDTVs and think about such things that is.

On this I give the Tea Party credit where credit is due.  Wrongheaded and angry as they are over false stories, they are at least going out of their houses and doing something about their issues.  What kind of impact they are having now is undeniable in that this group of people is now a part of our national discussion, even if they only represent about 2% of the country. 

Besides going out and having demonstrations and such, another thing about the TPers is that they stick to the issues they want to push.  About the only other one that does the same are the pro-immigrant groups.  The left has complained about not getting the same coverage as the Teabaggers since most of the time there have more people at their demonstrations and marches.  Very true.  Their problem is once the left has gathered, it can be hard to tell exactly what they are demonstrating about sometimes.  Having been to a few good-sized demonstrations from the left in the past, I've seen where it started out as opposing the war in Iraq then spread out to include marchers who supported Palestine, Mumia, 9-11 Truthers and all sorts of other things so much so that the original idea for the march got lost in the shuffle.

The message here isn't about who demonstrates and who's more effective at it though.  It is that we don't have to just sit there and take what's happening to our country.  I understand that doing that can be inconvenient at times what with work, family and other things demanding our attention.  However, you don't do any of that ALL of the time.  Take a little time and DO something for your country.  An hour or so may not sound like much but sometimes just that can do a lot.

You don't even have to wait for someone else to organize something for you to do either.  Get a piece of cardboard or whiteboard out, make a sign then find a corner and start waving it at passing cars.  Just that little act can have more impact on people than an entire day's worth of watching the news.  Those people driving by may not remember what some politician said on TV that day, but they will remember you.  Who knows, others may just join in with you.

Now that's being patriotic.

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