Friday, July 06, 2007

Where is our spirit? (this might be one of my better writings, let me know)

The American spirit that is. Why are we terrified or self-sacrifice? Why don't we take back the freedoms that we have given away, and it was given because we did not hold on to it. These thought come while reading an article ghost written by Captain Obvious about how America was fairly well respected and even liked for the most part around the world so little as 6 years ago and how the change in that perception is a direct result of our current foreign "policy."
In my own travels abroad, the attitude I always encountered was that while occasionally the US would elevate a truly despicable leader like Ronald Reagan or Bush the First to power, people made a distinction between “America” and Americans. That distinction is fading away. Increasingly the attitude I get from friends in other countries and readers outside the US is, “If you guys hate George Bush so much, why aren’t you doing anything about him? He flouts your laws, he has ordered the invasion of a nation who never attacked you, he has subverted human rights and dignity around the globe. Why aren’t you rioting in the streets? Where is your famous American bravery now?”
Where is our bravery, why aren't we rioting in the streets? And I do mean rioting, not organized "protests" where people walk down a closed off street then listen to music after making sure that they have permits from the police I mean democracy, in the form of ten thousand people in the streets blocking traffic and getting right in everyones faces. Flying rocks, burning cars, police beating civilians, you know riots. Its easy to ignore a protest, but if you burned down K Street it'll make the news. We've tried the other options that may have worked in the past but clearly are now ineffective.

So why don't we? Well because we are too comfortable. No matter how much you hate this war it probably isn't really hurting you, unless you or a loved one are in Iraq, directly. Chances are that if you have enough energy to really pay attention to the world then you don't have major stresses in your life. Probably have a decent job or still in school and really your life ain't too bad. Again I'm assuming based on the fact that you have time to screw around and read blogs then your probably not out in the street trying to figure out how your going to eat next, fair enough? So are you going to risk being arrested thrown in jail, sent to prison, beat by police, possibly killed to maybe help to stop something that you know is wrong but doesn't really affect you?

There are days when nothing would make me happier than to be in a mob of people rushing like crazed wildebeests towards a line of riot police, throwing my molotov cocktail at whatever seemed appropriate at the time. Crashing against the shield like so many Persians at Thermoplae (300) but while we know we will lose the battle, (because how can you win a riot?) it will turn the tides of the war. If people in this country became willing to risk their lives to defend our constitution and its principles then we the people could move ourselves in whatever direction we see fit. But we don't, and neither do I. Those feelings happen but they pass quickly, to riot alone is madness, and to build large enough support to do anything would get you caught and arrested before accomplishing anything. Plus as salt in the wounds if you did create a group with strength to be a threat and were caught then the government would use that as reason to remove even more civil liberties. But at the end of the day it's just easier to do nothing, or maybe read a little and get excited, join a peace group, shout a bit, sign things maybe go to a protest but all without risk. But nothing can be gained without risk.

Take this how ever you want, if you think I am a violent rebel then obviously you missed the part about me being a lazy bastard, and if you think I'm un-american for wanting to see the government over thrown then I suggest you read some Thomas Paine. If the original George W. was here he'd be whipping the shit out of our current George, or maybe he wouldn't. Maybe he'd be the real modern Washington, checking his portfolio on his phone while listening to a podcast about the war while getting a tan at the beach saying, man we should really do something about that asshole Bush.


m. crumbs said...

I often am frustrated with US foreign affairs; evidently you are, as well.

Our current political situation is, I think, the amplified result of a bit of unfortunate happenstance. The 2000 election was close and contested under unprecedented circumstances; but the outcome was concrete: Bush was the US president. The 2004 election was also close; I suspect it would have fallen to the Democrats had their candidate not been so weak. The combination of a weak Democratic presidential candidate and the strong Republican phalanx at the time gave Congress to the Republicans, as well. But the 2006 midterm elections belatedly reflected what I believe was the desire of most Americans some time before. Our political process can work, but it is (by design) slow.

I disagree with using destructive acts as a means to garner attention. What is built atop a pile of rubble is rubble also. Destructive acts are easy and visible and so are often employed and claim the media's attention. Constructive acts are hard and require long effort under which they can be rendered almost invisible; yet in them alone can we find our worth.

Practically speaking, I believe we can do much: volunteer in our communities; send aid overseas; contact our political representatives; inform ourselves constantly so that we become familiar with the issues all around the world - not just those that dominate the headlines - and can modify our behavior accordingly.

Kilgore Trout said...

I'm not promoting violence, well I don't think I am. I'm just saying that what we are doing clearly is not working. I think this is a neat quote but I'm not sure that it is true.
"What is built atop a pile of rubble is rubble also"
By that America is doomed to fail because it was created by destructive means. And by that almost every nation is built on rubble.

I guess what I'm promoting is not violence but strong civil disobedience. If you took out my line about the molitov cocktail then the only violence in my post was the cops beating us. If getting m ass beat by a cop would end this war then sign me up for an whoopin'.

As for those things we can do to make the world a better place, absolutely. We can directly help a few people, but can we as individuals offset all the wrong that is done by our government? wouldn't it be more effective to start by getting our country to stop killing people, then do our humanitarian efforts? If we're really good we could even get our government (which has much deeper pockets then my broke ass) to do more towards the good of all humanity. Thats what I'm looking for. I just don't think we can do that by playing by the rules, remember who wrote the rule book.

Thanks for the thoughtful comment and I hope you come back soon.