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Saturday, November 21, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Oct 25, 2009 1:16 AM PDT 

This essay is dedicated to the Dalai Lama, who is believed by some to be the last incarnation of the soul currently inhabiting his body. Let us honor his work for peace and universal harmony and understanding by accepting ourselves and others, becoming as one with each other and the world we share and looking forward with confidence to a future of peace and mutual prosperity.

It may seem that we are about to enter into the winter of our discontent, but we may warm our hearts with the thought that we can make July 4, 2010 the first national celebration of Interdependence Day. In 1776, we celebrated our independence from the colonialist power Great Britain. In 2010, as we are waking up to the fact that the United States must once again fight for its freedom we must recognize our interdependence and come together in common cause.

The nation has been subjected to a corporate coup engineered by a Supreme Court that declared them to have human rights. The bizarre cyborgs that are corporations have some attributes of humans such as the Constitutional rights to lie, be protected from search and seizure by the watchdogs of the people and freedom from taxation without representation. Their "right" to buy our representatives in Congress assures that the US senate and much of the House is controlled by those who represent their interests over those of humans. However, they can be distinguished from humans by the fact that they cannot die, even when they have committed crimes against humanity and the People cry for justice.

Let me be the first to propose that we start a national tradition of celebrating both our commonalities as humans and the differences that once made Americans unique among societies. At our nation’s beginning, we came together despite potentially explosive differences on issues such as slavery. The motivation for casting aside our differences was the common threat we faced, in the form of the British government’s alliance with the rest of British aristocracy to control the world economically and America in particular, through the East India Company. 

It is a measure of how sadly our educational system is lacking that most Americans believe that the Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxes, rather than a protest against the unjust advantage given the East India Company by waiving the tea tax for its privileged investors. This threatened the colonial economy which had ingeniously developed a means of bypassing a British system designed to favor the aristocracy in the Motherland. 

The creation of this corporate tax privilege threatened a system of a sustainable, localized cottage industry of tea merchants supplied by American shippers who were considered smugglers under British law. Although these merchants and shippers composed a minority of Americans, their treatment by the government was considered an outrage to all citizens. In those days it was understood that, as Ben Franklin stated so eloquently, “we must all hang together, or surely we will all die together.”

In the 220 years since the signing of the Constitution, we have continued to fight for the inalienable rights of man. We have gone to war to preserve the Union and paid for the original sin of the Founders in putting aside justice for the slave in the interest of saving the country for white property owners. While the Founders created a system in which only ten percent of the original Americans had the right to vote for their leaders, they also put into place a means to form a more perfect union through a process of Constitutional amendment.

Generations of our youth have been sacrificed to preserve the gains of the Revolution, yet wars to further the interests of what has become an Anglo-American Empire continue. The sacrifice of American patriots has been used to make us ever more dependent on a military industrial complex that serves none but corporate war profiteers. 

Wars have come to be accepted as necessary to control the resources that maintain the national wealth at the expense of the rest of the world. Those who pay the price are the oppressed middle class whose children are sacrificed to the war machine, while those who share the spoils of war are those who would deny justice for the People.  The irony is that while Americans are taking to the streets protesting the taxes that do not begin to pay the costs of war, few are protesting the war economy itself.

While America built an economy that has become based on wars of choice, Europeans have expanded on the principles of the experiment in democracy we began and have become freer than us. Their Peoples have not forgotten the lesson we taught that government derives its just right to rule only by the consent of the People. While the People of the US rushed blindly into Iraq in a frenzy whipped up by the corporate media, millions around the world protested this war of Empire in the streets of their capitals.

Americans have been lax in exercising our responsibility to ensure that its government serves the interests of all Americans. They are now paying the price of forgetting that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. This is the natural result of our inordinate pride in the accomplishments of those who gave us freedom and fought the imposition of fascism in the in the world when circumstances compelled it. In our complacency during the ensuing Golden years of the Republic prior to Vietnam and Watergate, we seem to have forgotten the adage that “freedom is not free.”

The fight against the Vietnam War was one in which the insanity of war was recognized to be the result of a nation gone mad in its betrayal of the basic principles of justice upon which the nation was founded. African Americans were being asked to fight for a country that denied them equal opportunities. Women had yet to begin to realize economic equality and every young man faced the prospect of being used as cannon fodder in that corporate war for Empire. It was easy to see how all must work together to fight for the rights of each.

Many young African Americans and women of today do not seem to realize how hard-fought were the battles that ensured the rights they now enjoy. These rights are still being encroached and we must make common cause with Hispanics, Muslims and others who don’t fit the stereotype of a “real” American. If it is our commonalities that make us human, it is our diversity that makes us American and in that diversity is our greatest strength.

It took a rainbow coalition to overthrow Jim Crow and we now need to form a human chain with which to surround the corporatocracy and restrain it. When the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the rights of citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause, the constitutional mandate that former slaves be accorded human rights ironically became the vehicle to make us all slaves of the corporate Puppet masters ruling our Congress.

We can break free of the chains that bind us only by learning how to discern truth from fiction and dedicating our lives to the proposition that just as all men and women are created equal, all bear equal responsibility to fight for the rights of all. When we truly understand the concept of interdependence we know that by protecting the rights of the few, we preserve our own freedom. If we do not stand for the rights of gays and Muslims, Jews and Hispanics and the poor of all colors and creeds, who will stand up for us when we are the only ones "free?" 

Freedom is a threat to an established order in which the few claim sovereignty over the many. The corporate fascists will come for us if we threaten them by exposing the illusion of freedom in a society governed by the self-interested. There is no other way for them to hold on to the wealth and power that gives a dull sense of meaning to lives devoid of purpose other than to play a game of Monopoly with human lives as the playing pieces.  

If we allow the economic aristocracy to continue to accumulate ever more of the common wealth produced by all of us, we will be the losers in the game of Life. If we resist now by changing the rules of the game, we can let them keep their Monopoly money while we enjoy the real fruits of freedom. There is a way that we can take care of each other that does not depend on playing the game in a way that guarantees that there will inevitably be losers. 

The American economy today is dominated by the war machine, from the environmentally destructive energy industry to weapons manufacturers to a banking industry that profits from war even while destroying what is left of the economy through financial games. The corporations that our government has come to represent have no sense of moral obligation to the People who that government was created to serve.

I am calling for all men and women of good will in the US to come together on July 4, 2010 to celebrate Interdependence Day. I suggest that we invite the rest of the world to celebrate with us. After all, we are all in this together and no one gets out alive, unless you believe in reincarnation. 

Western religions promise that a Messiah will arise to save us, but God only helps those who help themselves. Perhaps the story of the Apocalypse was not a prediction but a warning of what would happen if we did not learn how to live with one another in a way that acknowledges our interdependence. 

If the Messiah is coming we had better figure out quickly what Jesus was saying. He did not build Christianity himself, but with the help of his followers. If he is coming back, I don’t think that he will want to come and find us sitting around worshiping heroes that came before us while letting our leaders destroy the planet. 

If Jesus is going to save us, it will be not with a flaming sword but with what he has with the weapon that he has already given us. Like Krishna and  Buddha before him and Mohammad after him, he devoted  his life to reminding us that we are all one human People. He paid the price in blood to deliver a simple message that we must learn to love one another if we wish to ensure our mutual survival.

In the words of Don Eaton:

I am one voice, and I am singing.
I am one voice, and I am singing.
I am one voice, and I am singing,
I am not alone.

We are ten voices, we are singing.
We are ten voices, we are singing.
We are ten voices, we are singing,
We are not alone.

We are a hundred voices, we are singing.
We are a hundred voices, we are singing.
We are a hundred voices, we are singing,
We are not alone.

We are a thousand voices, we are singing.
We are a thousand voices, we are singing.
We are a thousand voices, we are singing,
We are not alone.

We are a million voices, we are singing.
We are a million voices, we are singing.
We are a million voices, we are singing,
We are not alone.

We are one voice and we are singing.
We are one voice, we are singing.
We are one voice, we are singing,
We are not alone.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Writing from Quincy, Massachusetts, birthplace of the counter-Revolution.

1 comment:

  1. I dedicated this essay to the Dalai Lama because he is recognized as the leader of a spiritual tradition that recognizes the inter-relatedness of all things.

    In order to Take Back America for the People we must learn to recognize and keep in mind that meeting our needs as humans is intimately related to assuring that each of us has enough to survive and that we will never have to resort to war to ensure the survival of one People or way of life at the expense of another.

    The natural result of adopting this way of looking at the world is that the way to create a new world is immediately apparent. It is as simple as looking back to the recent past and seeing how men like Martin Luther King and women of like strength and vision created a movement that rocked America for two decades.

    The dream of the Revolutionaries of the 60s and early 70s was forgotten in the aftermath of early victories. The war ended, though for reasons unrelated to the protest movement. The Civil Rights Act was passed at the cost of fracturing the fragile alliance between Southern Democrats and the rest of the party. Women began to be acknowledged as equals by all but the most regressive Americans.

    None of these advances represented a final victory for any of these causes because the angry protests eventually became too much for all but the most ardent Revolutionaries, who soon became a small choir to who their leaders preached almost exclusively.

    Those who were satisfied with achievement of immediate goals wanted to get on with their lives. They turned off, tuned out the movement and dropped into a society still fractured by the conflict.

    Those we need to reach most to build a movement that will win final victory in the American Revolution are the youth who have grown up in a world where the assumptions of fascism have been internalized by much of society. It is natural that maturing in such an environment would make our young cynical about getting involved in what seems a meaningless game of politics.

    The only way to ensure that our young inherit a world that is sustainable environmentally, economically and socially is to prove to them by our example that we have not forgotten King's dream. We must rebuild the movement and use it to fight until the nightmare of the threat of fascist oppression is nothing but a memory.


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