12 August 2007

Where Things Stand Today

"Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves."
--Winston Churchill
This is what our government has promised:

The United States will occupy Iraq for years to come.

The United States will strike Iran militarily (my guess: early December 2008).

The US Government will continue its assault on Civil Liberties via Executive Orders, legislative bills, and court rulings overly deferential to the State.

Taxes on the middle and lower classes will rise to fund the expanding police state, imperialistic military actions, and maintenance of our failing infrastructure; taxes on the wealthiest will fall still more.

Middle-class Americans will work longer hours to sustain a gradually declining standard of living.

Things can - and probably will - get worse before they get better, only to worsen again.

And yet, ultimately...

As long as we keep on paying attention, as long as we keep on writing to ourselves and each other, as long as we keep on making campaign donations - large or small - to good candidates, as long as we keep on calling and writing to our elected officials (can't really bring myself to say they are "Representatives" as of now), as long as we keep on doing these things and whatever else we individually believe will further the cause of protecting the United States of America from the unpatriotic, fear-mongering, greedy, power-obsessed authoritarian movement currently running ruining our government and our country, there is cause for optimism.

The long-term nature of the fight can't depress our energies; it's not realistic to expect we will fully reverse our country's totalitarian slide within the next election cycle, or two, or three. Please keep in mind: our right-wing enemies and their Tory followers have been gradually laying the foundation of their movement for fifty years. They have established think tanks, consolidated resources from sympathetic corporate benefactors, and insinuated themselves firmly into local, state, and federal legislatures (beginning with school boards and then working on up). They have used shrill hectoring tactics within those legislative bodies to ensconce a judiciary that upholds their agenda. They have bought a shallow insipid news-media culture and then bullied it into relaying authoritarian conservative propaganda, without question and without investigation. It is reasonable then for us to expect to need at least as many decades for the struggle to undo the damage.

We ought to expect setbacks and take them in stride.

We ought to continuously reassess our tactics. For example, I have hewed to an ideal of non-violent civil protest as one way to project our collective voice beyond the barrier of noise, obfuscation, distortion, and outright lies that impede informed good-faith civic debate. Anything other than a dignified, legal, and non-violent action would alienate the people we are trying to reach (that would be Congress, the Courts, and the Media outlets) as well as the majority of U.S. stakeholders who, according the polls, already agree with the Opposition (that would be We the People!). That ideal, however, does not rule out the possibility of employing other means if needed, as conditions change. Here's another altogether different example: the rulers of our country should not expect to start "disappearing" those of us who oppose them without fierce resistance! Here's yet another: they ought not think they can maintain dossiers on freedom-loving patriotic dissenters without attempts to sabotage the warehouses in which those files are stored.

The struggle will never end. It is our right and our duty and our privilege to make the Achieving of Our Country an ongoing adventure. The forces that lead to totalitarian impulses (aka Human Nature) never go away; at best they can be kept temporarily at bay.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
--Winston Churchill

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