Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"But I Misunderstood"

But I misunderstood, but I misunderstood, but I misunderstood
I thought she was saying good luck, but she was saying good bye.
Richard Thompson, from You, Me, Us.

There are so many men and women who have gone before us, who have left their words and thoughts, their struggles, the lessons of their lives for us to read. Sometimes instructive, sometimes cautionary tales, the legacy of lives lived can reach through time and help us understand the history that so often repeats itself. Here are a few of my favorites for the current political climate.

"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure... The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to frame the Constitution so that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have always stood."
- Abraham Lincoln, US Representative

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else."
- Theodore Roosevelt, Republican President

"It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capacities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs."
- Albert Einstein, professor

"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."
- Malcom X, minister

"...it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship... voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

"What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?"
- Mohandas K. Gandhi, lawyer

"What good fortune for those in power that people do not think."
- Adolf Hitler, politician

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
- Jesus of Nazareth, carpenter

All of these words have been "misunderstood" by the current administration, with the notable exception of the quotes of Goering and Hitler. Bush & Co. seem to have gotten those correct. Please understand that I am not calling Bush and Cheney Nazis. I am comparing their tactics to those of fascists. They think "If we keep them afraid enough they won't question us, so raise the alert level. If we shame them into patriotism maybe they won't notice that their freedoms are eroding, so call dissenters unamerican and strengthen that Patriot Act. If we keep them scrabbling just to keep their bellies full and a roof over their heads, we can do whatever we want, so cut those service programs and get with the tax cuts." And they conspire in back rooms and hide behind National Security.

It's our job, yours and mine, to make sure that they are wrong. We DO think. We need to make sure they don't misunderstand the lessons of much greater men then they. We need to challenge them at every turn. This is not limited to the Bush Administration. It is our DUTY as citizens of these United States to call our leaders to account for themselves at all times, and on all levels of government. Democrat or Republican makes no difference, this is our call to citizenship.

Rant over. I'm going home to read "Civil Disobedience" again.

2 comments:

Songbird said...

I followed you here from Shakespeare's Sister, and am also a Rev, feeling similar things about Christmas.
This is a great post, cherizac.

Cherizac said...

Thank you, Songbird. I hope you'll come back again soon. I'm just getting started but hope to have a few interesting things to say.