Acknowledging our Responsibilities to Change

I hope 2009 will be the year we start re-establishing democracy in America. As I noted in my earlier blog entry, democracy here has been under attack. The basis of our liberties have been compromised and our moral standing as a nation in question.

While on vacation, I read a couple books and finished Naomi Wolf’s Give Me Liberty. I thought one of the more striking points that she made is the simple lack of education and awareness of the fundamentals of our democracy. After reading several educational pieces in the NY Times this week, the situation seems pretty dire. You are more likely to get the right multiple-choice answers about fundamental documents, ideas or people who shaped our nation by flipping a coin than by asking an American.

At this point, you might say to yourself, yeah it is sad. All those people. Not so fast, mon frère. Let’s start with a simple test.

Take the Declaration of Independence. Most Americans will default to the only sentence they know. The first (of the second paragraph). How sad an ADHD generation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But while the document is about equality and universal empowerment of the people, it is more about a statement of purpose – not only independence from the government of England, but more interestingly government in general. In typical 18th century argumentation, the most important arguments are at the end, the sentences no one can recite. What is most interesting in re-reading the old prose is that not that it sets up the ability for citizens to revolt against oppressive government, it demands the responsibility of the citizens that indeed they do.

How lost on our generation as we have rolled over with minimal resistance while our government has transferred wealth from us to the ultra-rich, violated Geneva conventions and more. How do we re-empower the people. Everyone feels so helpless. This is not what John Hancock and all the founders risked their lives for. The reason his signature is so large is that he knew he was signing his death warrant if they were to lose. We have lost all sense of sacrifice in our mail order microsuede couch world. Perhaps it is time for everyone to review and rethink about the peaceful ways we can revolt. And yes, I have a plan for me and one for Obama (coming soon). Take a read ...

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So you may not be able to take out the US government. But it is time we provide new Guards for our future security. And that's more then just one election.