Independence Day

“To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Reflecting on the election of 2020 and the threat to our continued Independence, we have to acknowledge that 70 million of our fellow citizens are ok with totalitarianism. In spite of the sacrifices made by so many to ensure the freedoms we still enjoy, there are many of us who are willing to chuck those freedoms to follow a personality. While we watch armed militia members tromp around espousing their freedom to not wear a mask they seem to ignore the loss of many freedoms that they once enjoyed unfettered. Worse, these “saviors of freedom”, these “Patriots” fail to champion the rights of all groups to attain the basic freedoms.

Many of us have fathers, grandfathers or other loved ones who served in World War II. They fought the “war to end all wars” to stop the spread of Fascism and to keep America free for our generation and generations to come. Other loved ones have answered America’s call in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan, where the immediate threat to America’s security has been less clearly defined. What has the sacrifice of millions of lives and trillions of dollars bought for future generations? Shall we begin with the Patriot Act?

In the most glorious example of Orwellian doublethink, the Patriot Act was passed by Congress and signed into law as a response to 9/11. One presumes that the “Patriot” in this scenario is the citizen willing to give up all of their freedoms so that the writers of the bill, and those that they serve, can feel safe. Where American citizens were once “presumed innocent until proven guilty” we are now presumed guilty until we prove our innocence. Overstatement? Have you flown lately?

Placing a higher value on property over the individual is a hallmark of the corporate, and here I’ll use the F word, Fascist society. There are roughly 40,000 lives lost annually due to auto accidents. Annually, it would take roughly 200 terrorists successfully meeting their maker to achieve the same death toll for the airline industry.

Why is the rather continuous annual loss of life by one method of travel acceptable and the other so sacrosanct that we are subjected to illegal searches? Obviously, planes cost a lot to replace. Payouts by insurers for loss of life are much higher in a plane crash. But most importantly I suspect, there might be someone really special flying with us. Hope they’re wearing a mask.

“To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness.”

When you know that under the Patriot Act, your phone can be tapped, your mail and email read, your bank accounts monitored without a valid warrant, do you feel independent? While being viewed naked by a TSA screener do you feel like you are being respected? With the ongoing destruction of the middle class and the greater and greater disparity of wealth do you feel a “oneness” with your fellow citizens? At the end of the day do you have the feeling that we’re all in the same boat together?

To return independence, self respect and a feeling of oneness to the American people we must eliminate the corporate influence and special interests in our campaign contributions. Public funded elections is a good place to start. Amending the Patriot Act to comply with the 4th amendment would be another. It’s what the founding fathers would want us to do.

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