I haven’t written a letter to any politician in at least two months. Honestly, I have trouble even replying to emails, these days. I keep trying to write articles that offer up some new perspective on the events that surround us all…but they become garbled messes on my computer screen, and eventually I consign them to the “recycle” bin, where they undoubtedly belong. I gaze at the eye-aching white of my screen, and wish the heaviness in my heart would go away.
I can’t get over the feeling that everything is already out there. Everything has been said before, argued before, offered up in some form or another before. I can’t get past the fact that the facts seem so clear, so indisputable, and yet somehow they are not being recognized by enough people to make a difference. Without a galvanizing force, the indignation of a few becomes a dull murmur and in the end, the world does indeed end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
This is the state of the union as I see it:
The United States of America, once the shining light of liberty and justice for all, has caved to the pressures of those with interests most of us do not share and become a haven for suspicion, greed, and cruelty.
We have a President who steps outside the letter of the law, ignores the Constitution he has sworn to defend, and is penalized by some vocal criticism and having the laws changed to complement his actions.
We have a nation which has actively sought and participated in the deaths of well over 50,000 people in Iraq alone. Some folks say it is a lot more. Nobody seems to have any idea how many have died in Afghanistan. Let’s not even talk about the people from other Middle Eastern countries which have been picked up and sold to U.S. military bases to be held indefinitely without trial, o.k.?
We live in a country which now says–in our legal documents–that it’s perfectly fine to pick up people from other countries and hold them without trial or counsel for as long as we feel like it without ever charging them with anything. We live in a country where the question of “what is really torture, and what isn’t” is a debatable concept. We live in a country which has decided that the Geneva Convention, which used to safeguard the rights and dignity of individuals, applies to some people, but not others, and that’s a loophole we can use.
We live in a country where it’s o.k. to tap people’s phones without a warrant, even though it’s easier to get a warrant than it ever has been before. Where our computer routes may be monitored, where our houses may be searched, without our knowledge. We live in a country where we assume that “private files” is an oxymoron.
In spite of this, less and less “terrorists” are being caught and convicted, and I somehow just cannot seem to feel any safer.
We live in a country where our property can be seized before trial, where the voting machines which are supposed to be the foundation of our security are a running joke, where we hold more people in jail than any other industrialized country. We live in a country where disagreement is coming closer and closer to being defined as treason, and where treason still carries the penalty of death.
In spite of all of this, we still have time to argue about whether people of the same sex should have the right to marry, and whether pregnant women should have the right to terminate their pregnancy and whether great works of art should be dressed in mu-mu’s so as not to offend those who believe their bodies are a sin. We have magazines on the front racks showing guns, but the naked people have to be wrapped up in brown paper. Will somebody please help me to see what it is we are trying to teach our children, ’cause I think I am missing something.
We live in a country that threatens Iran but ignores Darfur. We live in a country that allows peculiar modifications to our food, but bans homegrown marijuana. We live in a country that insists people have to live whether they want to or not, but refuses to give them the pain medication they request. We live in a country of addicts, and we wonder why.
There are solutions to these problems. We can fix the moral decrepitude taking hold of this country, starting with the voting machines and working out from there. We can have mass protests, civil disobedience, and boycotts. But if the people–yes dammit, We The People, will not wake up, get up, and do something…before long there will be no land of the free. There will be no pursuit of happiness. There will be nothing left but a spiraling black hole where a great nation once stood.