Let me be clear: I DO NOT advocate violence, or the dissolution of the United States.
Quite the opposite.
What I advocate is a change of dialogue.
We live in a time when the rich get far richer than hard work and honest trade can account for, while the poor get a smaller and smaller share of the pie, bear more and more of the burden, have less than ever to show for years of saving and investment, and pay for ever growing government intrusion into their bedrooms, their business, their bodies, and their minds.
Those who claim to represent us have little or nothing in common with the people who vote, either before or after their tenure in office, and with lifetime pay no matter how dismal their record, no incentive to change the way business is done. Systems of government which once were the hope of the sick and old have been drained of resources, their regulations increased to incomprehensibility and inefficiency by bureaucrats bent on lifetimes of paperwork without actual work, their revenues bled away to the undocumented and the sly by feelgood administrations and loophole lawyers, special interest groups and media manipulation.
We operate on the terms of the interlocking power structures created at the beginning of the Industrial Age, sustained now for over a century and a half and spanning the globe. We are, in truth, in a conflict of the very best of ourselves and the very worst. As usual, there is a dissonance within both sides, a quest to truly define the mission, and the qualities upon which the future should be built. There is an increasingly strident desperation to the voices that seek to shown us differences in the banners under which we are seduced to march.
And the way forward is thronged with obstacles. There are foreign powers whose reaction to our instability is a question mark, whose investment in our future and our very real estate is judged in numbers that mean nothing to a rational human being. Extremists within our own country await any excuse to slam shut the last loopholes of freedom, or to raze the entire concept to the ground and live in anarchy. Philosophers whose answer is a non-violent mysticism set a fine example for daily individual human life, but that philosophy has never altered the course of empire, nor restored a people to the control of their government, not in 7,000 years of recorded human history. It fails to handle the pragmatic concerns of a world in which human numbers burgeon as resources are wasted like party favors, while major religions are moved like chessmen by individuals and groups whose goals encompass nothing of the best for mankind, only higher and higher vistas from a meaningless mountain of gold.
We are fighting an ideological battle on uneven ground.
I have deeply sorrowed over the changes in my country.
I love this land, its forests and hills, its canyons and valleys. I have lived in the very palm of the earth for decades now, moving into a city or a house only when work, necessity, and providence directed me, otherwise, I have traveled, and met the amazing, frustrating, cynical, rapturous, cranky, innocent, cantankerous, generous citizens of this land in the best and worst of times and places.
I have seen strangers reach out their hands in greeting comfort and support, been invited to weddings and barbecues, rock climbing and hot air ballooning and family picnics. I rejoiced with the crowds as fireworks exploded over Washington, mourned as our innocence died on September 11th, wept for our fallen soldiers in senseless wars and stood motionless, struck dumb, alone, before the silent grandeur of El Capitan in Yosemite, in Monument Valley's long shadows, or watching the silent glistening of a thousand lights across the Valley of the Sun, with the dark crown of the Superstitions rising in the distance like a frozen wave of time.
I celebrate the amazing mix of our culture in places where people see no need to accentuate their differences and live as close to the true Dream as possible; a place, a chance to earn their way, and a future in which they can make a difference.
I watched our astronauts soar into space with the heart of a small child, and the wonder of that age did not die when that Age, and the promise of a future beyond this planet, passed. I see our satellites in the sky at night, scan the face of the Earth with their views and the technology they represent. And I know that this access and technology is a fragile web spun across the world, subject to disruption at the first sign of unrest. Although I live a simple life, I enjoy the benefits of commerce and a stable government and the world which technology opens to us all.
I see the many people in this land who benefit from government aid, but I believe that the programs that support that system, and the means by which funds are generated and distributed are all in need of a major overhaul. More opportunities, achieved by LESS law and regulation, would free the elderly and the disabled to explore entirely new markets and venues of earning that could free them from the welfare-poverty cycle.
I love and support our police and firemen, our rescue squad workers and most deeply of all, our soldiers, because I know and have been through some of the best and worst times of my life with just about every group. I think these are some of the most dedicated, giving, HUMAN people on our planet, having stood shoulder to shoulder with them all. Ladies, gentlemen, I thank you all, and wish you nothing but the best.... despite my misgivings of the decisions you face.
No, I am no anarchist, no fascist. I would not tear down the edifice to rid myself and my country of the rats in the halls and the mold in the corners. The basic structure is of stone; sound, ageless, enduring.
But if we cannot speak in honest exchange, if there is no forum in which to weigh and discard ideas that do not benefit us all, how then can we go forward?
The forces which oppose us are founded on strength and thrive on power. The power comes from a common mis-perception of omniscience and omnipotence. It allows the structure supporting that power to define the terms and means of exchange, as well as the basic concepts of winner and loser.
The redefinition of corporations as people created much of the current paradox, in which companies are too big to fail,. but the people who actually comprise the work force are expendable. These new people-corporations can be seen as fanatics equal to any suicide bomber, citizens whose only focus is profit and whose only system is competition and the elimination of all rivals. Corporations arise out of commerce and acquisition, and in commerce expansion of markets ceased at the edge of space and turned inward toward the consumer... and there are new consumers born every second of every day.
Consumers who are allowed, less and less often, to make simple, critical decisions about their own existences, and the differences between want and need.
Again, there is nothing wrong with capitalism, as long as it is balanced by a healthy agrarian economy and a REAL voice for the people, instead of living in a system where the public is viewed in terms of feedback potential and GNP as defined by people who have never looked for a job, gone hungry or done a day's worth of physical labor in their lives.
But the market must be redefined by the consumer. The control of our currency must be in public, not private hands, and the system by which wealth is judged and taxed must be fair and balanced. In the current compromised, big-government state of our nation, this cannot happen. It is only possible if, as a nation, we shake off party affiliations, religious manipulations, media distortions and the definitions other people have imposed on our lives and duties to stand; mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, seniors and school children, fire fighters, police personnel, soldiers and teachers, waitresses and cab drivers.
If we are to stand, then, and if we are to hold to hope and begin the work of change, does it not seem prudent, indeed, necessary to do so in full knowledge of our own strength?
The forces that oppose us have shown themselves more than willing and ever so able to enforce their doctrine with the mailed fist. The federal government, no matter which party is in nominal "control", will suspend the founding documents of our nation, and subvert the very definitions of patriotism and security to achieve those ends and remain in control. It already has, and not a single candidate for the Oval Office has announced plans to reverse those executive erasures of our rights.
If we are to ask our brothers and sisters in uniform to stand by their oath instead of the powers who have purchased that birthright with a handful of shining metal, then we must show that we will stand with them, if need be, that we will do more than witness, that we will bleed and die with them, if necessary, to fulfill an oath every one of us took whenever we have saluted a flag, stood for the national anthem, or pledged allegiance to the flag; to protect the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.
And to preserve a republic that is one Nation of equally free and responsible citizens, under whichever God or absence thereof you choose to worship peacefully, without regard for or interference in your neighbor's choices or the support of or for any particular political party, with liberty of our own bodies and minds and justice blind to wealth and influence for all.
If we are to free ourselves of a banking system, or a food system, or any other system, we must demonstrate not only our knowledge but our incorporation of that knowledge in our day-to-day lives and continued existence. We must address the pros as well as the cons of all our solutions, and come to terms with the necessary evils of transitions. But we must do so in a unified fashion.
There are many who say we must go forward without violence, and I agree, to a certain point. Our ancestors and other reasonable human beings across the globe have managed to speak to each other on subjects where they deeply differed in opinion for centuries.
But that communication, that congress, was founded on a balance of power born of respect. Our veterans and our retired police are speaking out in their hundreds every day, against the policies and history of the last decade and more.
Sadly, they do not seem to be heard by either the Commander-in-Chief or his potential rivals in the coming elections. And for every voice of reason, there seems some hidden agenda, some background weakness which precludes true belief for any espoused opinion.
We cannot look to our Government for leadership, because the path to those seats is a sewer, and there is truly no way to arrive unstained.
And if we are to move forward in conversation, we must do so in unity. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Whether we win or lose, those who stand aside from the conflict and preach non-violence will judge and condemn us for any action, even if we only defend against a further erosion of the sanctity of our homes and the constancy of our rights. The weakness of the pacifistic view is that it is just as useful to those who would enslave you and keep you compliant as is any act of resistance, and it costs your oppressors nothing but time.
When your enemies are not mortal, but corporations, corrupt governments and dynasties who operate on a scale of decades, you cannot fight a battle on their terms. If non-violence were a viable solution to all problems, Tibet and Nepal would be free, Martin Luther King would still be alive, and Mao would have been supplanted by monks, while Wicca and Buddhism would rule the Earth.
Perhaps defining those who seek to curtail our Rights while taking away our repsonsibilities as "enemies" is an antagonistic view of the world. But it is instinctive for me to reject this philosphy, this mantra of surrendering control and self-worth for convenience and freedom from responsibility, to a system that does not reward innovation and creativity but compliance and allegiance to a creed long ago subverted for profit.
There are many first steps, and there are many ways of communication left before we think of the Way of the Gun. Because I am no blind chauvinistic dreamer. I know it is not all pipes and drums and glorious slow-motion scenes of valor and sacrifice. In all truth, I deeply and personally understand that that way lies destruction and loss, and the death of much that is dear.
And so I pray, every day, to see our nation stand up, to see a unification of all those amazing, determined, silent people, to take back what was good. I watch, and read, and listen, for any sign that there is even a chance for this government to shake off the chains of power and gold that have weighed it down.
I pray, and listen for an answer, despite so many things that I have known since I was a child.
Because the alternative to change by will is only complete domination, or change by force.
I would not go down that Road.
But mine is not the hand that steers this ship.