The concept of “inalienable human rights” is well-established in history. It began with the signing of the Magna Carta, when an English king was forced to recognize that he was no longer above the law. The American founding fathers enshrined them in the famous Declaration of Independence. Occasionally in the course of human events those rights are forgotten by the powerful and the elite and they needs must be reminded of them by the poor, the downtrodden and the weak.
Who are the powerful? Throughout the course of human history that definition has varied between the ruling class and the clergy. The doctrine of “Separation of Church and State” was founded to prevent a religious government forming in America such as had existed in practically all other great empires. Kings and queens were always subject to the rule of the church and America was not going to add itself to that list. Indeed, many atrocities have been committed in the name of God throughout history, whether that god was named Allah, Jesus or Yahweh (Jehovah). The entire purpose, then, of eliminating the role of religion in American politics was to remove the chains of the church from executive power. We would not be directed by a figurehead in Rome or England (or more recently Mecca or Jerusalem) claiming to be the voice of God. There would be no Grand Mufti or Rabbi or Pope or Cardinal in America issuing religious edicts to the people telling them how to vote. Now we have the religious right in this country attempting to shove their religion and morality down everyone else’s throats. The fallacy is that America was founded on Judeo-Christian philosophy. The truth is the founding fathers were not so much Christians as Deists. What the religious right espouses today would be unrecognizable to them. Here is a case in point: private school vouchers, championed by the right, are meant to include religious schools if parents choose. A Muslim school in Louisiana attempted to qualify for the opportunity the vouchers presented. A state legislator then attempted to block that school from participating simply for the fact it was a Muslim school. Her reasoning? She is a Christian. If she’d had the capacity to think beyond her own interests, she’d have never voted for the program in the first place. However, this is America and, according to our own Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal”. If one religion is good enough to qualify for the program, why aren’t all?
Come to the present day: brutal dictatorial regimes in northern Africa and the Middle East have been and are in the process of toppling. So-called “first world” countries are on the brink of financial collapse due to their own greed and shortsightedness. The Chinese are rising as a global power while America is paralyzed by left and right extremism and tears herself apart.
America was founded on the principles of democracy as a constitutional republic. It is a great experiment in the collective wisdom of the citizenry. However, for that experiment to be successful, the citizenry must be educated and responsible for their own actions. Once upon a time, this was the case. However, we have progressed to a point where we have a “nanny state”. We expect recipes and soft drinks to be legislated. We no longer read the news, but about glittering vampires having sex with girls who are too dumb to think. We watch Jersey Shore and The Bachelor and Real Housewives and wonder why we as Americans seem to be getting collectively stupider and stupider. We get our opinions readily handed to us by Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity instead of learning about the issues and taking the time to form cogent theses about them. The truth is we are far too busy worrying about what’s popular and what is on television and not worrying nearly enough about why E=mc2 or why you should never end a sentence with a preposition. The human brain, while magnificent, is not equipped with limitless storage capacity. There once was an acronym tossed about concerning computers: GIGO – Garbage In, Garbage Out. It applies. When we fill our brains with celebrity crap and teen dream romance novels and the tripe that MTV chooses to air we put out thoughts and theses that are – quite simply – shit. There is a reason the zombie apocalypse is such a popular thing now: it represents the fear of the mindless masses overpowering and consuming the remaining survivors who still have the power to think. We are unconsciously becoming what we fear: brain dead eating machines. We are fat, we are stupid, and we are content to stay this way.
The government was created to function as it does to prevent any one branch from overpowering the others. It was created to hold its members responsible to the people they govern. However, this is no longer the case. We now have career politicians doing whatever they need to do and saying whatever they need to say to stay in power. They recognize that America has become fat, stupid and lazy and are all too willing to capitalize on those facts to keep power for themselves and their friends.
The ultimate root of this part of the problem is money. The halls of American power are filled with millionaires who never had to decide between paying bills or buying groceries; they never had to choose to buy gasoline or pay the rent; they never went to bed hungry after giving the children bigger portions so they wouldn’t be hungry. They never went to the emergency room to get treated for the flu because they couldn’t afford to pay for a doctor visit. They did vote a certain way to earn the campaign contributions made to them by corporations and certain well-endowed donors who want to see things go their own way. Money is power in a capitalist system, and those with the money have the power. Marxists had a saying, “A capitalist will sell you the very rope you hang him with.” This statement was both prescient and true. Greed has become the primary motivating factor for any and all business in this country. No matter how rich and powerful the elite become, they crave more money and more power at the expense of all else. This is why our tax code favors the very wealthy. This is why we have a military-industrial complex begging for mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money to fight wars we have no need of fighting and to purchase equipment and weapons that will never be used and doesn’t work anyway. This is why we invaded Iraq. This is why our government secretly funds drug research and production with one hand and fights a useless “War on Drugs” with the other. It is all about money and power.
So what exactly is the problem? I posit that it is twofold. First, we have a complacent, fat, lazy populace that is content to be ignorant as long as we have 500 channels to watch, Blu-Ray DVD, high speed internet, and Starbucks next door to McDonald’s. The second is those in power know this and exploit it to their advantage. What is the answer? I do not claim to have all the specifics. I am not a politician, nor am I a great speaker or thinker. What I can claim to be, though, is angry. I am angry that me gay friends cannot get married because of an outdated morality that wants to “fix” them and judge them. I am angry that me fellow Americans are more concerned with what Snooki wants to name her bastard child than learning what the Affordable Care Act will do for them. They learn about it instead from sound bites and comments taken out of context and Rush Limbaugh. They cannot be bothered to learn and pay attention and therefore deserve whatever hell the religious right will force down their throats when they gain full power again.
I am outraged that politicians cling to power through fear-mongering and denial and twisted science and false reminiscences about “the good old days”. I am outraged that instead of fixing the problems facing us they capitalize on them to keep power. And I am outraged that we are stupid and lazy enough to let them. I am disgusted that hatred and bigotry is perpetuated and our planet is destroyed for greed and lust and money.
I say enough is enough.
It is past time to move past the profit motive and greed. It is past time to stop worrying about enriching ourselves and start figuring out how to enrich everyone. All boats should rise together. It is past time to put aside our hatred and greed and bigotry. We need to stop hating people because they pray to a different god or look different or don’t fuck people of the opposite sex.
Stop living in fear. Stop being so damned selfish. Pay it forward. Do random acts of love and kindness. Stop voting for people based on what party they identify with. Learn the issues. Read, goddammit, read! Turn off the fucking tv and quit worrying about which celebrity got drunk and who’s getting divorced and whose new self-released sex tape is coming out! Get off the fucking couch, turn off the hatred spewing from your AM radio dial and do something positive! Plant a tree, walk your designer dog, talk to your germ factory kid about what they didn’t learn at school and get involved in something bigger than yourself! Instead of being part of the problem learn how to be part of the solution! Pick up a book that makes you think! Pick up a newspaper! Ask, “Why?”
I am one person. Alone, one person cannot make a difference against a tide of 6 billion. But if enough get tired of being zombies, we can change our world for the better.
Empires always fall from within before they fall from without. Perhaps it is our turn, but we don’t need to help it along. If enough people demand real change and push for real evolution it WILL happen. The question is – are you afraid to step forward with me or will you swallow your fear and greed and hatred and say enough is enough?