Sunday, December 11, 2016

Where Is the Government's Power?

It is easy to get overwhelmed, intimidated by the perceived power of our government. They can spend our country"s wealth however it wishes. It can sen our military personnel anywhere in the world. It can threaten deportation and indefinite detention of 20 million immigrant Americans who do not yet have green cards and have no constitutional rights. It can deploy troops to the US Mexican border. It can round up Muslim men from certain countries. It can secretly listen in on our conversations. It can open our email. It can examine our bank transactions. And it can try to intimidate us into silence.

It can control information when the mass media timidly collaborates. However, this control is not absolute. There are always those courageous enough to provide truth to the public. And it is this that will keep Americans engaged. 

"There is a basic weakness in governments, however massive their armies, however vast their wealth, however they control images and information, because their power depends on the obedience of citizens, of soldiers, of civil servants, of journalists and writers  and teachers and artists. When the citizens begin to suspect they have been deceived and withdraw their support, government loses its legitimacy and its power."*

Right now we are learning about the role of the media in the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. We are learning about the totally false claims made during the campaign and since. It is what citizens will decide to do with those truths that will determine the true outcome of the election. 

"Change in public consciousness starts with low-level discontent, at first vague, with no connection being made between the discontent and the policies of the government. And then the dots begin to connect, indignation increases, and people begin to speak out, organize, and act"*

I see building discontent in the USA. Some groups are beginning to connect the dots and are increasingly indignant. More people are becoming politically active, organizing, and acting. My hope is that we can avoid a violent revolution, that we can act responsibly, peacefully, and thoughtfully.

"Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson -- that everything we do matters -- is the meaning of the people's struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A power can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think. When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress."*

We must return to the values that made us the great nation that we are: respect for human life, freedom, and justice. It is up to us. All of us. What will you do?

*A Power Governments Cannot Suppress. by Howard Zinn, published in 2007 [and more true now than ever.]

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