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Becoming scared of my country

January 24, 2012

When I was a kid and then a teen, I had my own world and my own worries. I learned about the government and the laws, but I didn’t much care. I had movies to see, music to buy.

When I was in my twenties, I started to care more. I had a class on free speech rulings in the Supreme Court, and it was fantastic. I quickly discovered how fervently in favor of individual rights I really was – fueled probably by a fierce belief in the value of information and communication, stoked by my mother (she’s from the `60s). I also learned, and was somewhat frightened, at how few of my classmates (approximately 0%) understood the need, the absolute requirement, for every individual to have a free voice, regardless of their message.

I’m in my 30s now, and I’m starting to realize that we don’t necessarily have the standard “ah, the country is going to hell in a handbasket” situation…people generally think that things are going to hell.  Every once in a while, though, they’re really right.

There actually are very serious problems piling up one on top of another in the United States.  I watched the towers fall in 2001. I watched the panicky reaction – we went to war on an unrelated country, for unrelated reasons. I watched people swallow reasons, go along with plans, give up freedom after freedom after freedom.  I watched the newly elected President – the historical, yes-we-can, President that I voted for (and Democratic majority congress) do exactly jack shit about giving us back those freedoms, repealing the wrongs done.  We still have acts in place that circumvent due process, leapfrog over the judicial system. Guantanamo is still active. We are laying ourselves down and being rolled over in the face of literally dangerous governmental acts.

I’m scared.

Nobody gets more power and then willingly gives it up. It’s a fact of life. We all like to be able to do what we want. We drive faster, take more, boss more, cut corners more.  The men and women who work in government are no exception, and they’re doing the exact same things on a national and global scale. So yeah, I’m very, very scared.

I support the Occupy movement. It’s a good start. I was vocally and visually against SOPA and PIPA, which in some ways are the potential online versions of the Patriot Act.  I want to tell you all of this so you’ll listen, so you’ll get scared, so you’ll really start to think about what’s important in a democracy, in a free country.

“Instead of adapting, their leaders clung to power and strove instead to be the last ones to starve to death. … It’s time we knew whether a durable democracy is possible — one whose laws are not just guidelines. One where individual rights cannot be ignored by the powerful.” – Freedom (a novel) by Daniel Suarez, Chapter 4

U.S.A., I truly love you.  I know you’ve got your baggage – who doesn’t?  But I love you…the mix of places, of people, the wobbly beginnings, the old parchment with the list of rules for how the rulers become rulers (and how they treat the people).  But you’ve been acting super creepy over the last several years, and I’m getting worried.  Just…..just bear with us all over the next few years. With any luck, we can get counseling, work out some of these problems, and relive the honeymoon years, eh?

Sincerely,
Jen (citizen)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2012 8:06 pm

    Jen,

    I supported the war when I believed there were WMDs there. I was against the patriot act. I’ve not followed OWS, but I’m generally against their tendencies towards not having a hierarchy, or a formal body of documents I can read and be mostly for or against. I have a distrust of any movement that denies that we humans are pack animals with an ideal pack size of 150 and doesn’t have a method of picking alphas and betas. I protested SOPA/PIPA in front of the NY and NJ senators offices, And yes I am just as scared as you.

    That being said, I have hope. The mainstream republican’s have moved ignoring to fearing Ron Paul. Obama, grew almost a pair in his SOPA/PIPA response. SOPA/PIPA was the perl harbor of nerdom. They work the sleeping giant and plunged us into war against the tireless ancient empire (MPAA/RIAA). Google/MSFT and VCs are a lot like America before WWII. They got power, untapped resources, and they didn’t start the fight, but they will finish it.

    Things might get ugly, things might get bloody, but I think people are waking up. They will use the soap, ballot, jury and eventually ammo box if things don’t change.

    Justin

    P.S. I watched the postman on Saturday and I can’t fathom why it got such bad critical reviews, take that for what its worth.

  2. David Taylor permalink
    January 24, 2012 8:17 pm

    Very powerful, very true. I’ve always maintained that I have no desire to leave the country, mainly out of fear of places that dont have the rights and freedoms we have always enjoyed. Now I, like you, fear for those rights and freedoms, that they are being struck down, one by one. We can only have hope.

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