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Sunday, August 30, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Apr 27, 2010 11:32 PM PDT

This chapter is devoted to my loving children Margaret, Bruce,  Charley and Alex. Together, they give me hope for the future and the inspiration to continue my work.

It is often said that history repeats itself. Like the phrase “I could care less,” the idea is the opposite of what was meant by the individual who the speaker is trying to quote. 

The truth is that I couldn’t care less for the idea that history invariably repeats itself. It is men and women who refuse to believe this that make history. History is the record of human progress since we began to record it, first in our memories and then in the written word. 

While there are patterns in history, the quote from George Santayana was “Those who cannot remember (and therefore fail to learn from the mistakes of) the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is a much more hopeful statement, for it implies that if we learn from our mistakes, we can continue the ageless quest to perfect ourselves and our societies.
Believing in something is the only way to see how to make it real. It is not possible to be an agent of historical change without studying the history of what has led to a problem or dysfunctional belief system and trying to spot the mistakes in reasoning that led us there. If we are motivated by desire to fix the problem and guided by the belief that a solution is possible, we have a chance to find an answer to the problem. 

If we start by assuming that human nature itself is corrupt and therefore the sordid recent history is a portent of things to come, then we give in to despair.  Despair is a "sin" because it has caused us to give up hope that we can create a real democracy in the United States It is our duty to our children to find a way to regain our faith in the idea that we can rule ourselves if we work together to end fascism in the United States and thereby end it in the world.

History need not repeat itself if we accept our duty to future generations and fight now for democratic reform. The most crucial objective in the battle plan to take back America is the abolition of corporate personhood. When we get this amendment on the floor of Congress we can make the issue of support for it a litmus test in all subsequent Congressional elections.

If we really want to be a free people living in a democratic society, we must stop pointing fingers and work together to pass a Constitutional amendment to counter the fascistic decision of the Supreme Court that established in law the psychotic notion that corporations have Constitutional rights. It is essential that we stop playing into the politics of division that have left us feeling angry, helpless and alone. To end fascism in America, we must end the civil war to finish the Revolution.

It does not matter in the end that we lost the first battle to use the social justice issue of health care for all to build a coalition of Americans united in a common cause that affects all them. While the necessity of establishing a single payer system of universal health care in the United States is obvious to those of us who understand the moral and economic arguments, they will be lost on those citizens who we most need to reach until we heal the divisions that threaten to permanently shred the social fabric that holds any society together. 

It is far easier to make the point that the Senate is too corrupt to work for the people and not the corporations. That is why the underlying message that was not made often enough in the health care "reform" debate is that we must work together to abolish corporate personhood. The alternative is that we and our children will become economic  slaves of the fascists who are greedily consuming what wealth they have not already stolen at the same time that they tear at the social safety net designed to protect us from their depredations.

We must remember that both self-identified conservatives and liberals are beginning to understand that the American experiment in democracy is much closer to failing than most had realized, myself included. We must realize that it is our tribal mentality that has brought us to the brink of self-destruction. Until we break down the walls that artificially divide us we cannot work together to pull ourselves away from the pit of Hell on Earth at whose  brink we stand. 

Citizens United has given us the golden opportunity to do just that. We must educate our neighbors that the corporate junta that runs the United States can be deposed by a nonviolent revolution whose purpose is to pass a Constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood. Over two thirds of both self-identified conservatives and liberals are angered at the fact that the Supreme Court has removed all constraints on corporations that can afford to buy our Congressional representatives. We can and must fight together to restore the rights of citizens by curbing the invented "rights" of corporations.

We are all one people in the United States and in the world at large. As citizens of a global community we must keep in mind that all politics is international. If we truly want to end war, we must abandon the illusion that we are separate from our fellow men and women, as Buddha and Christ taught. We must again come to recognize that we are all brothers and sisters. 

The original sin of murder led us to forget that by creating tribalism and war. When we remember our true nature and forgive those who have strayed too far from the Garden to find their way back alone, we will find our way back home and have Heaven on Earth.

In the immortal words of Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam):

Well I think it's fine, building jumbo planes
or taking a ride on a cosmic train.
Switch on summer from a slot machine.
Yes, get what you want to if you want, 'cause you can get anything.

I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?

Well you roll on roads over fresh green grass,
for your lorry loads pumping petrol gas.
And you make them long, and you make them tough.
But they just go on and on, and it seems that you can't get off.

Oh, I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?

Well you've cracked the sky, scrapers fill the air.
But will you keep on building higher
'til there's no more room up there?
Will you make us laugh, will you make us cry?
Will you tell us when to live, will you tell us when to die?

I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Roseburg, Oregon

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