Everywhere I look, it seems like lunatics are running the asylums; corrupting the very principles that are our nation’s birthright. “Religious freedom” and “liberty,” once the cornerstones of our national identity, have become catch-phrases; right-wing code meaning the opposite: “Religious Freedom” is only for the religious who belong to the right religion. And “Liberty” only applies lifestyles meeting their approval. Thomas Paine once wrote:
“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.” The Crisis
Granted, Paine was referring to the tyranny of a foreign power, but the sentiment still holds true. Tyranny comes in many forms; complacency, misogyny, prejudice and greed are as insidious as they are dangerous. When dark moneyed political puppets start gaming the system, denying citizens access to legally protected goods and services, we should not– NO! We can not remain silent. Paine goes on to say:
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated…” The Crisis
True freedom is not what we grant ourselves, it’s what we grant each other, our neighbors, sons and daughters. It’s also what our fellow citizens collectively grant us. And when legislation becomes a tool used to curtail personal and civil liberties, bestow unfair economic advantage, or impose a religious morality by giving undue weight to a set of faith-based values; it is upon us to speak out so loudly the the foundations of OUR legislative houses shake. Whether or not we agree or disagree with someone’s choices, it’s theirs to make. Because when choices are taken from one of us, they’re taken from all of us.
And they’re getting away with it by spreading fear and feeding hatred. There is no wisdom in decisions rooted in fear because fear leaves no room reason (or compromise.) Fear isn’t used to get people to do what is reasonable, but to stop reasoning. It’s the weapon the ethically impoverished used to stall civil discourse and divide us as a people, weakening our nation for their political gain. And Anyone who has to rely on fear to win an argument, is most likely on the wrong side of the issue, and not open to civil discourse.
As Paine noted:
“Yet it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.” The Crisis
But Paine also recognized the power in fear mongering:
“‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them…. Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt…. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy…” The Crisis
It can make normally decent people turn a blind eye to injustices and atrocities:
Women who want access to birth-control are whores! (What does that make the guys boning them?)
Accurate sex education will encourage our children to become sex crazed maniacs! (Safe sex tip. Teens, take out your retainer before attempting fallatio.)
Homosexuality leads to bestiality! (Better, lock up that fine ass poodle because Fee-fee’s one hot bitch.)
(Here’s a thought, let’s just eliminate whoring, teen orgies, and pet debauchery by chemically castrating anyone not actively participating in a government sanctioned procreation program. That’s right… you old white fuckers are gonna have to turn in those little blue pills you’ve been hiding. ‘Cause everyone knows most of you aren’t taking them so you can fuck your wives.)
Obamacare will create death panels! (They already exist, just ask some of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s constituents on her transplant list… Sorry you can’t…THEY DIED. )
They’re going to take away your guns! (Yeah, because everyone needs an Uzi to hunt quail.)
Class warfare (actually they’re right about that one, only they’re wrong about who started it… remember 1980– trickle down economics? Well it’s 2015 and I’m still waiting for it to rain. A 2012 study actually revealed that tax cuts to the wealthy not only don’t trickle down, but harm the economy.)
The list goes on… and on… and on… But the most egregious, Weapons of Mass destruction: It’s already cost $2 trillion (and rising,) thousands of American citizens (and rising) and half a million Iraqi men, women and children (and rising) their lives, and destabilized the entire middle-east region.
Unfortunately in the face of complacency, Americans of good conscience don’t exercised their right to vote. If they did we would be a much better America. So please, I’m begging. VOTE, we out number the lunatics, and you never know when it will be your freedoms at stake.
I will leave you with Paine’s call to action; it’s just as true now as it was in 1777.
“I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it. Say not that thousands are gone, turn out your tens of thousands; throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but “show your faith by your works,” that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offensive war, for I think it murder; but if a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive likewise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being, who at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and mountains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, the widow, and the slain of America.” Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”