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Tuesday, November 3, 2009



Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Dec 6, 2009 11:38 AM PST

This essay is dedicated to Thomas Paine, the radical British atheist expatriate who rallied the American people to fight on for freedom in their darkest hour of despair. In succinctly outlining the nature of the crisis we were facing then, as now, he ensured the success of the first, violent phase of the American Revolution.

Paine is a living embodiment of the fact that whether we as progressives are motivated by a sense of duty to Mankind, God or both is secondary to living our lives with integrity and no higher hope for reward than that of ensuring freedom for ourselves and our posterity.

As the year of our Lord 2009 saw the summer of our hope, it now threatens to see fall the winter of our despair. As I attempted to explain in an earlier essay, the giving in to despair is a “sin” in that it allows us to use our disappointment to violate our integrity by forgiving us for abandoning our sacred mission to free America and the world for democracy. This is a rationalization that the corporatocracy hopes and expects us to fall upon, as the psychopathic devotees of Ayn Rand in charge of America and the world have no faith that the American people can find their way to the truth through the thicket of lies spawned by the corporate media.

The commercial media make up a monstrous chimera that serves only the interest of maintaining profit through reinforcing the existing, self-serving power structure. This is why we must continue to build and extend the influence of the alternative media, sustaining each other as we gradually infect the collective consciousness with the dangerous notion, sure to go viral, that all humanity can live as free men and women if we use the power of the people to restore democracy to America. We did not win concessions from the British oligarchy in 1776 by declaring our independence. We won the right to call ourselves free only after 15 years of struggle and more defeats than victories before our final triumph at Yorktown.

It is important to realize that victory would not have been possible without the support of the free people of the Netherlands, who lent critical early financial and moral support to our cause. More importantly, the foolish gamble of Louis XVI, who reluctantly contributed financial and ultimately military support only in the hope of weakening his British enemy, proved decisive. As the American Revolutionaries understood then, so we have to understand that ours is an international struggle that requires us to call for help from lovers of peace, freedom and democracy around the world.

There were those among the French aristocracy who were sympathetic to the cause of democracy, if only in principle. In some cases, this was only because of the personal effect that meeting Jefferson in Paris had upon them. America owes no greater debt than that to the Marquis de Lafayette, who like Jefferson enjoyed the fruits of privilege only at the cost of full knowledge of the price paid by the people for the system which spawned this inequity. It is a tragedy that the guillotine blade fell as harshly on the more enlightened souls among the French aristocracy who did not act according to their convictions as it did on those who simply did not care.

Let us hope that we have learned enough from failed revolutions not to exact such harsh retribution on those who we feel have so richly earned such a fate. Violence will mean the death of our cause, as it inevitably spawns fear among those more concerned with order than freedom and results in carte blanche for the corporate puppets and puppet masters to forcefully tighten their grip on the people.

It is said that those who seek peace should work for justice. The cause of establishing a sustainable system of universal health care in America is such a cause. As an issue that affects every American and every foreign national on American soil, health care “reform” is front and center in the mainstream media. Although the corporatists in the government and private industry have for the most part successfully hidden their agenda and the reasons for keeping single payer off the table in the corporate media, cracks have appeared that we must exploit.

Single payer health care is the social justice issue of our time, as civil rights for Blacks was the cause of the generation before us. If we can build another Rainbow Coalition, we can use it to spearhead the movement to educate the people about what the real enemy of the people is: corporate personhood. Just as the battle for equal rights for African-Americans was a struggle of a generation, the battle for single payer must become the cause célèbre of our time. We cannot expect to win this battle with this Congress, so we have to understand that our mission is to educate the people as to why the Senate must be largely replaced with representatives of the people, not of corporations.

The Senate holds the key to the success or failure of democracy for reasons alluded to in earlier entries in this diary. It consists of 100 men and women who can determine the fate of virtually all legislation that comes before the Congress. Adding to this disproportionate power is the fact that small states are equally represented by two Senators. This leads to a situation where it becomes quite cheap for corporations to concentrate their dollars on Senators from small states where the price per vote of buying a Senator is particularly cost-effective. That is why we see a pure corporate tool like Max Baucus from the sparsely populated state of Montana becoming the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He is thus responsible for being the corporate gatekeeper of legislation affecting the federal budget, as essentially all laws do.

As the Senate holds the key to unlock the chains placed upon us by our corporate overlords, it follows that we must focus on removing from power those Senators most clearly beholden to their puppet masters. We must approach this winnowing process with prudence. It is far too easy in our righteous anger to hold responsible for the perilous condition of our democracy those who desire to effect real change but who have fallen victim to the self-fulfilling prophecy that one has to compromise one’s principles to be a player in the sick game of Monopoly being played in Washington.

It may be too much to expect of men and women who have devoted their lives to doing the best that they can in an increasingly sick system to see that only by risking all the influence they have fought and compromised for can they ever hope to effect real change. We must try and contain our cynicism in order to give the opportunity for our potential allies in the senate to prove themselves. It will take the rise of those of us from outside conventional politics to show them how to fearlessly challenge their corporate puppet masters. If they refuse to follow, then they will at least consciously be choosing their fates. If a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood is introduced in Congress, the battle lines will be clearly drawn, and God help those who choose to stand on the wrong side of history.

It is time to ask our one true champion in the Senate to set events in motion that may determine the composition of the Senate in 2010 and 2012: Please join me in asking that Bernie Sanders introduce a bill to amend the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to read “No human person shall be denied these rights…” It is past time that the Fourteenth amendment is restored to its original intent of guaranteeing the rights of former slaves, rather than making slaves of us all.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Soldiers For Peace International

From New Jersey, where the first American victories of the Revolution gave hope on the eve of the winter of despair.

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