Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We Are Not Alone, WE Surround Them
In the summer of 2007 I wrote two posts, Creeping Fascism and Neither Left Nor Right, and in both, while addressing different issues, I expressed my concerns about where the United States was heading.
As I look back at that summer and those posts, I recognize that we are now in the crisis that I thought we might be headed for, and it appears that things are only going to get worse.
Throughout the primaries and the general election, as I listened to the candidates from both major parties, I felt entirely disenfranchised. I believed that they were all lying to us in one way or another, and that all of them were refusing to acknowledge the disastrous storm we were heading toward. I did go vote, but not for any of them.
Towards the end of the campaign, after the credit crisis and the stock-market crash, I listened to Obama's rhetoric, and considered his history, and I thought: "This man is lying to us." The day after the election, I posted the Obama National Anthem, as black humor (I had a different piece to post if McCain had won). But like all black humor, there was a biting truth behind the satire.
Today, only three weeks into the Obama adminstration, as I look at what is in the so-called economic stimulus package, and when I listened to Obama dismiss the concerns of those who have pointed out that much of what is in the spending bill will not put money into the hands of taxpayers anytime soon, and do so with a cavalier sixth-grade defense of the New Deal, I know we have been lied to.
How does the imposition of a health-care czar stimulate the economy? They're sneaking in Socialized Medicine without open discussion and debate!
Last night, when Obama used fear to promote this bill, warning of dire consequences if it is not passed, despite the fact that much in it is really a progressive social program, I knew that we have been had. Despite his promises of hope and change, he is no different than Bush, who used the same argument from fear to impose the Patriot Act. (It also had to be passed in a big hurry with no time for debate).
Throughout the last two years, I have felt powerless about this, and relatively alone.
I wondered if, aside from some good homeschool blogger friends, there was anybody out there that gave a damn about individual liberty.
And throughout the election, I felt that when I truly spoke my mind, I was dissed and dismissed by what I came to refer to as the hive mind:
"We are the Major Parties. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
And the syncophants of the press made it clear by their treatment of Joe the Plumber what would happen to you if you publically questioned their pick for president.
So I thought my little voice made no difference, and that I was powerless to stop the destruction of our rights. I have called and called my Congress Critters, but even when the calls were coming in 10:1 against the Bail-Out, they did what they wanted. I did not know how to let them know that they are supposed to represent me.
But last week, I opened an e-mail to find the following statement:
"Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it? Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore? Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach…as if you’re completely alone?
If so, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie. While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides—the reality is very different. Once you pull the curtain away you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.
Glenn Beck, a commentator on Fox News and a libertarian-leaning radio talk-show host, has begun a kind of movement of the disenfranchised.A movement of the ignored taxpayers in fly-over country. A movement of those bitter ones clinging to G-d and guns since 1775; those who have been told to shut up, surrender their rights, and pay for the privilege.
It is a kind of Alice's Restaurant movement. Remember Alice?
"Imagine if three people got up, just three people, got up and sang "you can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant" when it comes around on the guitar. Why then, we'd have ourselves a movement!" (With apologies to Arlo Guthrie).
Well, we have ourselves a movement.
This is the We Surround Them movement.
And all you have to do to join is ask yourself nine questions about principles, and agree with seven or more of them. Seven of the questions are about American values plain and simple, and two are more particular:
Answer yes or no:
1. America is good.
2. I believe in God. I may not go to the same church or synagogue or mosque as the majority of people in America, but I believe in God and he is the center of my life, and God does not tell people to behead others or to persecute others that see God in a different way.
3. It is my responsibility to be a better and more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. I and my spouse are the ultimate authority under God when it comes to our family. If we fail, we answer to God not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but that is not a guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for Americans to disagree with one another, but some opinions may be anti-American. Anti-American rhetoric would be anything that is destructive to the Constitution and our country as our founders understood it.
9. The government works for me. The government answers to me. I do not answer to the government.
(I took this from the transcript in my e-mail. I did clean up the grammar somewhat).
All of the points except numbers 2 and 4 are core American principles that come from the ideas in the founding documents of our country.
Point 2 was difficult for me in that Jews do not talk about G-d as being the center of our lives; rather we think of G-d, Torah, and the people Israel as being central our identity and purpose in life. However, if I think about it that way, I can agree, understanding that individual rights are endowed to us by our Creator, not by governments or the will of the majority.
Point 4 makes complete sense to me as a Jew. We say that the 5th commandment--"honor your father and your mother"--is placed between the duties owed to G-d and those owed to others because parents stand in the place of G-d for their children, and thus bear the responsibility for them, until those children become responsible for their own actions. (This is why the commandment says "honor" and not "obey". Children need to honor their parents for standing responsible until they are able to think for themselves, but they cannot be bound to obey parents indiscriminately, because it is not guarranteed that all parents are moral human beings).
But an atheist could not agree to either point 2 or 4. And yet an atheist can, and may atheists do, agree on the core founding values of the United States, and consider them to be moral values. I believe that this is why joining the We Surround Them movement requires agreement on seven of the nine. We do not have to be in perfect agreement to unite and require accountability to the Constitution from "that man behind the curtain" that is our government pretending to be the Great and Powerful Oz.
This is not about left or right, red or blue, liberal or conservative.
This is not about political parties, it is about principles.
Our founders did not say that we should be ruled by the executive branch; they established our laws upon inalienable rights, and said that "among these are the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Our founders did not say that our government was established by the winning political party;
they said "governments are established among men by the consent of the governed."
The WE Surround Them movement is the beginning of the Governed uniting to hold our Servant Government accountable.
If you are getting frustrated because your public servants are following their own agenda, violating the constitution, and ignoring your voice;
and if you want to be part of a grass-roots movement to make the federal government accountable to the Constitution and to the Consent of the Governed;
and if you can uphold seven of the nine principles above, then please click through to We Surround Them.
The symbol of this movement is a nine-part snake modeled on the old Ben Franklin "Unite or Die" Flag of the American Revolution. Just as the several colonies and regions were unique, and yet could join together to cast off the tyranny of King George, so can ordinary citizens, remaining unique, join together in common cause to hold our government accountable and protect our rights from the tyranny of the political parties.