I open that box?
Oh to be
blissfully unaware! Alas, in my studies for my activist writing and
advocating for social justice, I have opened Pandora's Box. In some ways I
wish I could have closed it before frightening truths permeated my mind,
but it is too late. As I delve more deeply into the sea of knowledge about
current events, history, ideology, and politics, I am experiencing
seriously altered perceptions, thoughts and feelings with respect to
many facets of the world. Having passed the point of "know
return", I remain in America in a physical sense, but in an
intellectual sense, "I am not in Kansas anymore!" My faith in
America and our government has been severely shaken. While disturbing, my
awakening has been quite liberating. In some ways I miss the warm fuzzy
feelings that came with belief in the pleasant fiction of the America that
our leaders portray. However, in spite of the discomfort, I relish the
freedom of seeing my world with clarity. In an ongoing effort, I will
strive to seek the information necessary to continue piercing the veil of
propaganda disseminated by our leaders.
eyes wide open , I yearn to share the truth with others. An editor once
complained that many of my pieces were "litanies of the wrongs"
in America. I write my litanies precisely because there are many
"wrongs", and the mainstream media is not going to expose them.
My goals are to present information that the mainstream media omits, and
to persuade readers to act for social
change. I often harp on the "wrongs in America" so that
readers will want to take non-violent action to make them
"rights". As my writing has evolved, I have also
incorporated solutions to the problems on which I harp, and have been
doing my part to carry out the solutions which I offer.
is now a federal judge, setting her up for an eventual nomination to the
US Supreme Court. I shake my head in disgust that such a person has
reached a position of power in the federal judiciary. Disgust and
repulsion fill me as I ponder this turn of events. From a 5/25 NY
represents a part of the Texas culture that is basically a frontier
mentality," said Linda S. Eads, a law professor at Southern Methodist
University and a former deputy attorney general of Texas who supports Ms.
"You don't cry about your
hardships, you just keep moving forward," Professor Eads said.
"In some ways, it's a very empowering philosophy, and in some ways it
can be seen as cold. I guess it depends on which side of the outcome you
During the Senate nomination process, Owens enumerated her
"most significant opinions" from her days on the Supreme Court
in Texas. Her choices belie her harsh, severe nature, and are a
harbinger of bleak prospects for the victimized, poor, or disenfranchised
who will seek justice in her court.
From the NY
""she chose opinions
overturning rulings in favor of a child born with birth defects, a worker
injured on an oil rig, a nurse fired for blowing the whistle on a
drug-dealing co-worker, a family with an interest in an oil field that had
been drained by a nearby company, asbestos and breast-implant plaintiffs
and a student whose school made him cut his hair."
Owens simply mirrors the Oligarchy which
rules our nation. Her pride in opinions that favored corporations and
victimized those who were truly deserving of justice reflects her cold,
callous, and hypocritical nature. The Oligarchs' newly anointed arbiter of
justice will implement their inhumane, fascist agenda with zeal and joy.
Oligarchy in America?
Can it be true?
Monolithic corporations like Wal-Mart,
obscenely wealthy clans with names like Bush, DuPont, and Kennedy, leaders
of the Religious Right like James Dobson, powerful religious organizations
like Opus Dei, and the intricate web of entities comprising our military
industrial complex have psychologically and economically enslaved the
American people. We have relinquished our power to this collection of
avaricious demagogues which I call the Oligarchy. Sadly, many Americans
are unaware that they are unwitting servants of an imperialistic machine
built to establish world domination (http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm).
Many of the "elected representatives" in our government are
naturally part of the Oligarchy by virtue of their wealth. With powerful
lobbying groups, the Oligarchs are able to use pressure or bribes to
ensnare many of the true representatives of the people who sneak into our
government. If Mr. Smith went to Washington today, the Oligarchs would
make him one of their own very quickly.
George Bush, the figurehead of the
Oligarchy, projects a reassuring image of a "strong and
resolute" leader with the Texas machismo to make brash (yet
incalculably obtuse) statements to the terrorists. Remember, "Bring
it on"? When the Oligarchs either allowed 9/11 to happen, or actually
caused it to happen (http://www.newtopiamagazine.net/articles/47),
they had the psychological lever they needed to essentially crush the
remnants of America's republic. Fear drove the American people to
surrender many of their freedoms to a tyranny. Bush's tough talk,
declaration of a "war on terror", rush to war with a
"terrorist" nation, close alignment with the Religious Right,
and his alleged adherence to "absolute, family values" in a
world of uncertainty, provided an illusory shelter from the storm.
Already psychologically shackled by years of mind-numbing propaganda, many
Americans surrendered themselves to the powerful embrace of Big Brother.
If they could only see his true face, they would recoil and run
away in horror.
Mirror, mirror on the
wall....who is the ugliest soul of all?
Greed, hubris, narcissism, bigotry, hatred,
intolerance, and deceit are but a few of the "attributes" which
many of the Oligarchs possess. These qualities are necessary
ingredients to achieve the success defined and portrayed by the
Oligarch-sponsored media machine. Thinness, self-reliance, strength,
financial prosperity, influence, youth, and beauty are essential to being
a successful American. Getting ahead and feeling good about oneself,
regardless of the cost to others, lie at the black heart of the American
dream. The quintessential American strives to meet these goals with
abandon and disregard for the impact on others, and generally receives the
welcoming embrace of the Oligarchs when they do reach these hallowed
objectives. Narcissism be thy name.
Tyranny wears many masks
Our land has been beset by a twisted
version of Christianity that spreads itself like a virus through the use
of psychological terrorism. Various groups and sects comprise the
Religious Right and the Dominionists, the carriers of this contagion.
While the individual groups and leaders vary to some extent in
beliefs and tactics, their goals are closely aligned. These modern
day crusaders have relentlessly pursued the persecution of gays, and hence
provided the Oligarchs with the scapegoat that a tyranny needs in
order to thrive. Fortified by the hubristic belief that theirs
is the one true religion, and that Jesus guarantees them a place in
heaven, members of the Religious Right feel confident that they possess
the "manifest destiny" to impose their agenda on the rest of
America. They have grossly abused their tax exempt status with their
forays into the political arena. The Religious Right is also threatening
to corrupt our secular public institutions with their "truth",
which they derive from selective interpretation of the Bible. Someone
needs to remind them that truth is not easily plumbed from a book which
the Church revised many times throughout history for the purpose of
manipulating the masses.
Priscilla Owens and her fellow Oligarchs
lack compassion, a crucial spiritual value. Were one to confront
them, they would probably claim they were "compassionate
conservatives", or they might downplay the value of compassion. Compassion
was the hallmark virtue of Christ. Jesus was the one of the most
empathic and liberal activist in history, and were he alive
today, Bush and his ilk would be leading the march to Golgotha. Jesus
was mostly about compassion, the virtual antithesis of the core
motivations of the Oligarchs.
9:35: "Jesus was going about all the cities and villages
teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the reign of God and healing
every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the crowds,
Jesus felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast
like sheep without a shepherd."
Carolyn Baker pointed out in a series of articles in Dissident Voice about
the Religious Right (http://www.dissidentvoice.org/May05/Baker0517.htm),
their claim to
be a "pro-life" is little more than Orwellian Newspeak. The
fact is that they are actually "pro-birth" and are hostile to
women's rights. Striving to advance their patriarchal agenda, they
relentlessly push to deny a woman's right to reproductive choice,
even going so far as to enlist pharmacists to deny birth control, and in
extreme cases, killing abortion doctors. Recently, Tom Delay has even made
veiled threats against members of the judiciary who dare to rule in ways
inconsistent with the goals of the Religious Right.
the reality that many teen or unwanted pregnancies often result in
horrendous lives for the resulting children, the Religious Right continues
to press for the reversal of Roe vs. Wade. Were that to happen, their
efforts to "save the unborn" would actually result in more death
and suffering as women continued to seek abortions. It is a foregone
conclusion that the unborn would continue to die in similar numbers, while
many women seeking illegal abortions from back-alley butchers would be
maimed or killed. Like the Pharisees, the Religious Right and the
scoundrels at the helm of our nation are far more concerned with their
artificial, abstract "family values" than they are with the
welfare of real human beings. Their strident objection to abortion
ultimately boils down to a psychological power-play of men over
women. What does the Bible say about the equality of women?
"There does not exist among you
Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. All are one in Christ
Need evidence that the Oligarchs and their
Religious Right brethren are also "pro-death"?. Look to the war
in Iraq. Over 1600 Americans have died, thousands more have been injured,
and countless Iraqis have been killed or injured in this imperialistic
foray into the Middle East. With strong support from the
leadership of the Religious Right, Bush and his fellow Oligarchs
gleefully launched "Shock and Awe" on Iraq, after lying to the
American people to legitimize the invasion. Offering a textbook
example of psychological projection, in 2/02 Pat Robertson
characterized Islam as a religion that wants to "dominate and then,
if need be, destroy." Portraying this crusade as a struggle of
"good versus evil" enables the Oligarchs to lend moral
justification to plundering the US treasury and channeling the money
to their mega-corporations, like Haliburton. Characterizing Islam as our
enemy enables them to use the Middle East as their springboard for the
world domination they so desperately crave. What might Jesus have said to
Bush as he prepared to invade Iraq?
"Do not resist one who is evil.
but if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other."
As they continue to pillage our treasury
and further bankrupt America, the Oligarchs are now on a relentless
campaign to slither their way into Social Security to plunder its
revenues. Bush touts privatization as a means to strengthen our
"ownership society". The reality is that the Americans who would
benefit most from privatization would be the current "owners",
the wealthiest 1% of Americans, who have more capital than the combined
wealth of 90% of the rest of the population. Average Americans would be
playing the lottery with their Social Security money while wealthy
investment bankers would fatten their already burgeoning wallets with the
astronomical up tick in transaction fee money. Under the Oligarchs, the
wealth gap continues to widen, the middle class is rapidly shrinking, and
the rich continue to increase their holdings through enormous tax cuts.
Where might Jesus say to the 1% who is vying to add to their wealth?
After the young man left, Jesus talked
to his disciples about how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom
of heaven. "It is easier", he said, "for a camel to go
through the eye of a needle."
While the Oligarchs continue to prosper
with increased corporate welfare, decreased taxes, and increased funding
for the military industrial complex, the less fortunate suffer the budget
cuts which are badly needed to keep the $7.5 trillion dollar debt from
spinning further out of control. The elderly, the disabled, the poor,
single mothers, and family farmers tighten their belts for the "good
of their country" while the elite let theirs out a few notches. Why
are we giving the biggest tax cuts to those who already possess great
wealth? Why are we cutting taxes at all? Thanks to the unrestrained
spending and tax cuts of the Oligarchs, our legacy to our children is a
$7.5 trillion debt that continues to mount. What did Jesus say about
it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" But Jesus, knowing their
evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?
Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a
denarius, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose
inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to
them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is
It has become personal
grew up under the reign of a tyrannical father who, despite his
denial, shares many of the Oligarchs' values. Having prospered
financially, he met one of the most important goals of success in the
perverse system of "American" values. However, the tab was three
heart attacks and the loss of his family. My mother divorced him and got
remarried. My brother has disappeared somewhere in Alaska. I elected to
walk away from him. Had I licked his boots long enough, I probably
would have inherited a small fortune. However, I would not abide his
tyranny, and I will not abide the tyranny of the ruling elite in America
Both my wife and I suffered deep emotional
wounds inflicted by Christian churches which embodied the values of the
Religious Right. She and I have both forged our own personal
spiritualities. Neither of us has chosen to reconcile the Christian
religion into our spiritual beliefs after the damage that the churches
rendered upon us. My wife and I are both people of honesty and integrity.
We respect the rights and dignity of others, and embrace many of the
teachings of Christ. However, neither of us calls ourselves
I went through extremely difficult times in
the past. During those times, I utilized several components of the social
welfare system to get myself back on my feet. Had those life-lines not
been there, I would not be where I am today. I now have a college
degree and earn a middle class wage as an account representative at a
finance company. My wife and I are raising our son, and I have joint legal
custody of two boys from a previous marriage. I am an active parent in
their live, and pay my child support to their mother. I am also a
successful activist writer in a climate where dissident voices are all too
scarce of a commodity.
Should I stay or should I go?
I choose to stay in America so that I can
make a positive difference. Like Judge Owens, I am exceedingly persistent
and tenacious, and I have empowered myself by overcoming significant
adversities. However, unlike Owens and the rest of Bush's Neocon
subordinates, I do not see the "frontier mentality" as a virtue.
My wife and children have taught me not to expect others to be as
tenacious as I am in facing challenges. People need compassion, and some
need more help than others. As much willpower as I have, I needed serious
help during my trials, and still need help and support. I have reconciled
my strengths and limitations, and feel more connected with others because
of my limitations. Compassion and mercy are values that I embrace, in
spite of my strength.
I have chosen to align myself with the
disenfranchised of society and to pursue social and economic equality. My
friends are mostly women, minorities, gays, intellectuals, or people who
are economically disadvantaged. I have chosen to advocate for social
justice, civil liberties, and intellectual freedom through my
activist writing and through my ACLU affiliation. I am teaching my
children to think critically to free their minds and to seek social
justice. I dissent against the Oligarchs through my writing. I have chosen
to learn Spanish as a second language so that I can communicate with my
numerous Hispanic immigrant customers rather than demeaning them by
forcing them to speak a language that they have not had time to learn. My
wife and I work hard to live within our means. Unlike our government, we
are virtually debt-free because of our thrift. We boycott multinational
corporations like Wal-Mart and spend our money at small, local vendors
when possible. My wife and I both strive enthusiastically to be part of
the solution in a nation beset with problems..
My one regret in staying in America is that
I pay taxes to the federal government. However, despite the fattening of
the Oligarchs and the furthering of the imperialistic agenda, I feel
gratified knowing that some of my tax money goes to social welfare,
educational, and other programs to benefit humanity. Since I am not
prepared to stop paying taxes and engage in a futile battle with the IRS,
I live with this ambivalence.
Man is free at the moment he wishes
to be (Voltaire)
As the tyranny grows more overt, and the
light of democracy grows dimmer, the Oligarchs grow bolder in implementing
their foreign and domestic policy agendas. With rising frequency,
their policies clash significantly with the welfare of the poor and
working class. Still, I believe that once enough of the uneducated and
undecided American people awaken and become motivated to act, the
Oligarchs will be forced to render a measure of social and economic
justice. Studying the Populists, the Wobblies, the New Dealers, and the
Civil Rights protestors, I see how they forced significant social change
in favor of the people. I rest my faith and hope on their successes. I am
prepared to go a step beyond what I am doing now and engage in civil
disobedience when it becomes necessary, and will encourage others to do
I envision a grassroots movement rising to
power over the next few years. It has already started gathering momentum
through the subversion of the mainstream media via the Internet.
Non-profit news sites, blogs, email, and over 2 billion websites give
people an unprecedented means to communicate and exchange information. The
human spirit thirsts for freedom, and when enough people begin to realize
that they have been enslaved, the dissidence and non-violent revolution
will become so powerful that the Oligarchs will capitulate
and yield a share of the wealth and power back to the people. We of
the poor, working and middle class have the advantage in numbers, and in
the fact that tyrants are destined to fail because of the intolerance of
the human spirit for enslavement. The Oligarchs need us to buy their
products and do their dirty work, and people will not wear the yoke of
oppression indefinitely. Despite their possession of most of the wealth,
the true economic power lies in our hands. It is only a matter of time
before increased awareness and activist efforts shift the balance of
power, but more people need to wish to be free, and take the steps
necessary to attain freedom. Remember, you have more power than you think,
and compassion is an empowering virtue!
I am a 38 year old free-lance activist writer with a degree in liberal
arts. I have been widely published by Internet news sources. I
am a husband and a father to three boys, and I earn my living as an
account representative at a finance company. My affiliations include the
ACLU and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I
welcome responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.