Monday, January 15, 2007

"I have talked to many people who know there is something wrong but cannot express it."

Cheshirekatz, in the last sentence of her second comment on my "Anti-State and State Terrorism" piece, wrote the line I quote above. It's a very important and true observation. I have comments I want to make about it, but I want to invite my readers/visitors to weigh in on the question of what's holding people back from getting involved politically to end this immoral war on Iraq and on the world by the Bush/Cheney regime and to impeach and remove them from office. What do you think? You can either submit comments or you can email me if you don't want your comments posted.

1 comment:

Sue said...

In responding to cheshirekatz’s comment ‘I have talked to many people who know there is something wrong and cannot express it,’ I would also like to address his/her comment ‘I believe that many people deep down are frightened and that is why they react with anger.’

These comments could not be more spot on and it is with the hope that in recounting recent experiences I have had some light might be shed on the whys, wherefores, and how to address thems in order to lay the groundwork for a successful, well organized social movement designed to rid DC of its criminals, and to ensure that our democracy is never again hijacked by a small number of zealots.

I moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, 85 miles from DC, two and a half years ago. What I have experienced in trying to get to know the local community is something to be pondered in conceptualizing a social movement on a grand scale.

I am told in conversation, and overhear even more frequently, that, whatever the issue, they ‘will put it in the Lord’s hands to decide.’ In addition, in attempting to seek out people of like mind, I have casually brought up Bush/Cheney, and been blasted – ‘YOU DON’T QUESTION THE PRESIDENT.’ Just as disturbing are the Democrats, representing about 30% of the population here, whose words drop to a whisper and who literally will not admit to being Democrat publicly, and feel powerless privately. And go to a Rotary Club meeting and be subjected to chants of ‘Go GOP!!’ Out here, the Republicans are relatively well off and socially prominent, and the Democrats, not, and the mentality is to follow the powerful, meek and sheep-like, and if you happen to be ‘liberal’ you keep your views to yourself, or face ostracism.

As a newcomer to the Valley, I noted that the area boasts numerous factory chicken houses. The local farmers have been offered very low cost manure from them, which they spread copiously on the farmland that is interspersed with tributaries that lead to the Shenandoah River (and my well,) where the cows also cool off and defecate in, which leads to the Potomac and the dying Chesapeake. There are no rules or regulations concerning these practices, even when the 'processing' plants have 'accidents' affecting the river.

The smells emanating from these factory death camps are choking and eye-watering as the manure is cleaned out every six to eight weeks, though the cleanings have been made more infrequent through the recent introduction of alum to the litter (oh, joy.) Ask a question of any random local and you will be told, ‘DON’T YOU DARE QUESTION WHAT THEY ARE DOING. THEY ARE OUR ECONOMY OUT HERE, AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU BETTER GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM.’

My view is that there is a deep seated fear of and aversion to questioning authority (the President, our Government, the corporate owners of the factory chicken farms, the earnings of which get repatriated to, and DO NOT contribute to the local economy, a fact that is disturbingly overlooked.) To be fair, there are people out here who will engage in conversation concerning the misdeeds of this Administration, but their eyes dart about furtively, as though they fear being overheard, and there is absolutely NO thought that they could be part of change. None. Now how did this come about, and how much of America is like this?

First of all, our mass produced, factory farmed food is nutritionally void and likely toxic over time as is the farmland and well water in any area where food is factory farmed. Our public education system is horrifying, and though I do not have a lot of first hand knowledge, I can only infer from the regular grammatical errors contained in our weekly newspaper (and I mean 10 per issue, with an editor who is alternatingly offended by and indifferent to having this brought to his attention.) I do know that my son attended one of the best public elementary schools on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, and I bought classroom supplies for the teacher every year, and had to correct her incorrect corrections on my son’s spelling quizzes (he is now in a private boarding school in DC, where he has to keep his views to himself, or face ostracism.)

And I vow not to get started on religious indoctrination, the pharmaceutical industry and its creation of false ills through advertising, and the prescriptions being written and gobbled down like water in the Sahara…and now we come to the media.

With respect to the most immediate problem facing America right now – criminals all over DC – we do not have time to change our system of food production, our educational system, or the pharrnaceutical industry, though these factors cannot be overlooked in contemplating how to bring about permanent change. Our best bet is to use media to empower citizens, to teach them that to question authority is truly patriotic, and that to be part of government is what true democracy is all about. The ‘how’ of that is what needs to be most urgently addressed.

I feel that this applies to nearly everyone except perhaps those in the innermost core of a Venn diagram depicting ‘The Degree To Which You Are Able to Question the Legitimacy of Your Government,’ and even those in the core have to acknowledge that to be able to question, loudly, has only been won by facing down fear, and enjoying the energy that comes from the anger that my government wants to be able to deem me an enemy combatant for questioning their acts of illegality, to rendition me to a Halliburton detention center and legally torture me, with my rights of habeus corpus suspended. Now we need to find a way to teach others to do the same.

If we don’t, what are we teaching our children, and what future are we relegating them to?