|Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries|
|Written by Keith Johnson|
|Tuesday, 23 November 2010 08:57|
“Live every day as if it were your last ... and then some day you’ll be right.” – H.H. “Breaker” Morant
History is not likely to speak well of today’s Americans. While the people of nations around the globe stand up to their oppressors, Americans sit idly by as their government runs roughshod over their life, liberty, and property.
As we speak, large-scale protests and mass demonstrations continue in more than a dozen countries as citizens strike back against injustice, criminality, and brutal austerity measures imposed by their corrupt governments.
In the UK, more than 50,000 students recently took to the streets to protest a spike in tuition costs.
In Greece, workers clashed with police outside the Finance Ministry over frozen pensions and cuts in their salaries.
In Germany, tens of thousands demonstrated to protest government policies and social inequities in advance of Merkel’s Democrat party’s national meeting.
In early October, thousands of Icelanders stormed their parliament with renewed anger over the deepening financial crisis, and against those responsible for it. Many of their politicians were forced to flee out the back door, where they were pelted with eggs, flour, and tomatoes.
In France, transportation and commerce was brought to a virtual standstill throughout vast portions of the country, as angry citizens railed against their government for increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62.
These events get little attention here in the United States. When the press does cover it, they portray the demonstrators as greedy layabouts who have become dependent on government handouts. In reality, people of these countries know full well that they are being made to do without in order to enrich powerful central banks that conspired with corrupt politicians to loot their economies. The people have had enough, and they’re letting their governments know it.
If only we had the same spirit. When will the American people recognize the full-frontal assault being perpetrated against them? When will they realize that, they too, are being made to do with less, so that their corrupt politicians can fulfill the unlawful arrangements they have made with the very same central banks and financial institutions that are bringing down nations around the globe?
Right now, millions of Americans have lost (or are losing) their homes to foreclosure as a result of the same kind of collusion between politicians and the banking cartels.
In 2008, the banking elite threatened to shut down the U.S. economy unless corrupt politicians in Washington, D.C., forced through the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Though more than 90 percent of the American public voiced opposition to the bill, their words fell on deaf ears. To add insult to injury, the passage of TARP was actually celebrated by members of Congress, who stood at the podium with broad smiles and giggled as they signed the hellish legislation.
Billions of taxpayer dollars went to the bankers to rescue them from foolish investments in mortgage-backed securities. The TARP funds were supposed to be used to clear the bank’s books and free up lending to the American people. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the bankers tightened lending even more and used their newfound wealth to pay debts, acquire other banks, pay huge bonuses to their employees, and engage in more irresponsible investment activities.
To their credit, the American people found the gumption to confront those politicians in town-hall meetings across the nation. But the media – being the obedient lapdogs to the federal government that they are – quickly pounced upon these unhappy citizens, labeling them as dangerous upstarts who were working outside the parameters of civil and polite discourse that the government deems manageable. Raising your voice was equated with violence, hoisting signs was considered racist, and gatherings were announced as potential staging grounds for domestic terrorism.
How absurd that the mainstream media would think it could even be possible to kowtow the American people into compliance – especially when you measure these relatively mild examples of public opposition against the large-scale strikes and civil unrest we are witnessing in other countries.
But, ironically, many Americans did take the bait that the mainstream media was dishing out and decided to temper their speech after all. This was facilitated by Judas goats such as Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, who corralled the people like livestock into GOP-controlled rallies that advanced the Republican agenda and insured them an easy victory in the midterm elections.
Beck’s “Rally to Restore Honor” summoned thousands of disgruntled Americans to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Days before, he pleaded with his audience to abandon their signs and silly clothes because it was making them easy targets of ridicule by the “progressive” Left. The people complied – and when they attended the function, they were treated to a ceremony of military worship and religious devotion to the state of Israel. It was a Hollywood production. It was organized and polite, and nobody raised their voice. People soon forgot about the imminent financial threats that were bearing down upon them. Instead, they embraced what every American should feel good about: a bloated defense budget and a toxic relationship with a country that has caused us nothing but trouble.
Shortly after the Beck event, the Left staged a demonstration of its own. Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” was a mockery of demonstrations – an anti-demonstration if you will.
The people who attended that function did so not to address the criminality of their government but to mock those who did. They came out en masse to parody the “Teabaggers,” fellow citizens enraged over Obama’s spending policies and mandatory health-care legislation.
Both events were completely partisan efforts, used to define the line between Democrat and Republican voters. Both events were used to quell dissent and stifle speech. Both were a success – but not for the American people. It was a success for the government, and a major testament to the power the mainstream media has over the American public.
Americans in large part have become nothing more than stupid, scared, spoiled-rotten slaves to their favorite TV programs, politicians, and electronic toys. Accusing them of such is just about the only thing that will make them angry. Americans still maintain that they are the freest, wealthiest, and most moral people on the face of the planet. But they are the only ones who think so. In a Newsweek article titled “Post-Anti-Americanism,” Howard Fineman writes: “When you read about America in European newspapers, what you are likely to find is a tone bordering on pity. The U.S. is depicted as a fraying empire of obesity, ignorance, debt, gridlock, stagnation, and mindless war. Sure, the iPad is cool, but it is evidence of what America was, not what it will be again. The stories are not angry, accusatory, or even ideological. It’s worse: They are condescendingly elegiac.”
I think most will agree that being pitied is far worse than being hated. Pity is leveled against those who are unwilling, or unable, to stand up for themselves. People of other nations pity us because they see in us what we are unable to see in ourselves: that we are weak.
But we weren’t always like this. In fact, just 20 years ago, we were far more resilient than we are today.
We’re closing in on the 20th anniversary of the Rodney King beatings in Los Angeles. Almost two decades ago, the American public was shocked and appalled as they watched one of the first incidents of police brutality to ever be caught on tape, broadcast on television screens across the nation.
The ensuing trial was held in a predominantly white, suburban city (Simi Valley) that is a well known “Cop Land,” where police officers from three counties reside in great numbers. The biased trial found the officers “not guilty” on all counts.
Public outrage at the verdicts sparked the L.A. riots of 1992 that found thousands of people taking to the streets. Businesses were looted, cars were torched, and widespread violence spread through the city over a period of six hellish days.
Some may say that the way the public expressed its discontent was not constructive – but the people certainly made their point. The United States Department of Justice was forced to bring federal charges against the four officers for civil-rights violations. Two of the four officers were acquitted, but two were convicted and handed 30-month prison sentences.
If the Rodney King beatings were caught on tape today, it would not even make the evening news. The circumstances leading up to the arrest of King would most certainly be enough to close the books on any further inquiry, and any ensuing protests would be met with even more brutality from the police.
The King case pales in comparison to some of the more recent incidents of alleged police brutality.
Take the case of Jordan Miles, for instance. Miles, an 18-year-old black student with no criminal record, was simply walking down a street in Pittsburgh when he was approached by three plainclothes police officers. According to Miles, the officers did not identify themselves. Instead, they shouted, “Where’s the money? Where’s the gun?.Where’s the drugs?” Thinking he was about to be robbed, Miles ran and slipped on the ice. Before he could get to his feet, the officers converged and began beating, kicking, and choking him. They also used a Taser, thinking that he was concealing a weapon. No weapon was found. Miles sustained severe facial injuries. His face was swollen, almost to the point of being unrecognizable, and he continues to suffer from physical and psychological pain caused by the assault. Eight months have passed, and not one of the officers has been held accountable.
Compare that to the King case. King, a convicted felon, led police on a high-speed chase. When he was finally stopped, he emerged from the vehicle and taunted the police officers. The officers “swarmed” him and proceeded to beat him repeatedly with batons. At one point, when it was apparent that King was still making attempts to resist, a Taser was used twice in an attempt to incapacitate him. It was later determined that King had a blood alcohol level that was almost twice the legal limit.
In reaction to the Miles brutality case, a few peaceful protests and marches were held in the local community but received very little press. In reaction to the King case, part of an entire city burned to the ground, and the riots and subsequent trials were nationwide spectacles.
American attitudes have changed. Today, the public cowers in fear of their oppressors. What’s worse is that a vast majority will stick out their tongues, as they lie bloodied on the street, and lick the boot of the man who put them there.
Late last September, Gene Cranick of Obion County, Tennessee, watched his home burn to the ground as firefighters from neighboring South Fulton stood by without lifting a finger to put out the blaze.
There seemed to have been a problem with a $75 annual fee that Cranick apparently forgot to pay for fire services extended to residents who live outside the city limits.
In addition to his house and all of his belongings going up in smoke, three family dogs and a cat shared the same fate.
But instead of expressing outrage, the browbeaten property owners actually came to the defense of the apathetic public servants.
Cranick’s wife, Paulette, doesn’t blame the firefighters: “They’re doing what they are told to do. It’s not their fault.”
How have we come to adopt these kinds of attitudes? Where is the public outrage? Is there any limit to what the American people will put up with?
Part of the problem stems from our society turning from one that loves liberty to one that loves the gifts that liberty brings.
For well over a century, social engineers have indoctrinated Americans into believing that indulgence is synonymous with freedom. But nothing can be further from the truth. Freedom delivers one from dependency, while indulgence delivers one into it.
John Adams, an American statesman and champion of independence, feared that the American people would some day enjoy their newfound freedoms but neglect the daily struggle required to protect them. Adams was well aware of the dangers of complacency and warned that a society that chose indulgence over vigilance would quickly fall into the hands of tyrants, who would deliver a once-free people back into the chains of bondage: “When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American Constitution is such as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour.”
Adams went on to describe what would happen to that society once these destructive influences took hold: “The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.”
This is where we are today. We have become a self-defeating society, drunk off the spoils left to us by our forefathers. We have fallen prey to an elitist cartel of bankers and warmongers who have looted, and continue to loot, the population of its wealth and treasure.
But it isn’t too late to turn things around.
Right now, the American people have an opportunity to get back that old fighting spirit. On November 24, many traveling Americans can stand defiant against their tyrannical government.
“National Opt-Out Day” is something that everybody can get behind, regardless of their partisan politics. Finally, across the board, we have found an issue that all can agree upon. We are not terrorists, and we refuse to allow our government to treat us as such. Let us make the TSA a poster child for tyranny and the over reaching of our corrupt government.
If you travel this holiday, refuse to allow yourself to be degraded and poisoned by the cancer-inducing pornography scanners that have been installed in our nation’s airports. You won’t be alone. Perhaps that man or woman standing there next to you is someone you don’t see eye-to-eye with concerning the health-care bill. But at least you can agree that having your body ravaged by strangers is something that no one should be forced to endure. At least that’s a start.
It might be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but fighting for your liberty and freedom always has been – and it’s about time we started getting used to that.
This article originally appeared at RevoltOfThePlebs.com.
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