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Monday, November 23, 2009


Written by: Rick Staggenborg, MD on Oct 10, 2009 7:53 AM PDT

This essay is dedicated to Noam Chomsky, who deepened my understanding of how America fell into its current state through the human failings of the Founders. He is a tireless antiwar activist who has been blessed by the ability to have a clear vision of reality as it is. Let us pray that we have the strength and resolve to show him a better world to come.

Our Founding Fathers were not Gods, as Abigail Adams would have been the first to tell you. Her husband had a terrible  streak of vanity that led him to declare as enemies of the Republic any citizen who dared to oppose him when war with France appeared imminent during his one term as President of our infant democracy. He treated her reasoned argument for women’s suffrage as a joke, rather than a prophetic warning against allowing testosterone-driven males  to make all the decisions for the People. 

Adams was far from perfect, despite his dedicated and principled work in arguing for the necessity of rebelling against the aristocracy and the corporation representing them, the East India Company. He also avoided war with the French in 1798, at some political cost. Even if he did nearly strangle democracy in its infancy, through the Alien and Sedition Act, he always did what he felt to be right.

James Madison was a more complicated and therefore interesting figure. When he wrote in the Federalist papers, he argued for defending against “the tyranny of the majority” by instituting a bicameral legislature with a Senate composed of the “natural aristocracy.” The way he described it, it appeared to differ little from the Roman Senate. 

Senators in the Roman republic claimed special rights and abilities to speak for the people of Rome. Their legitimacy was undermined by their eventual capitulation of all power to an imperial executive, Julius Caesar. Even after the assassination of the first Roman Emperor, who had dared to cross the Rubicon and challenge the rule of the representatives of the Roman citizens, the by then complacent Roman citizenry eventually accommodated to rule by the winner of the civil war that followed.

The citizens of Rome chose the expedient over the right. Rather than asserting their right to self-determination, they submitted to being the willing victims of subsequent Emperors driven mad by the lack of constraints on their power. In doing so, they eventually saw the rise of an Emperor driven mad by power and the lack of empathy on which normal people depend to guide their actions and maintain their mental and spiritual integrity.

This is much as the situation in which we find ourselves today. The average citizen seems content to rail against the government, not accepting his responsibility to ensure that the government is run by the just or bothering to discover why our government no longer is so. It is a seemingly simple matter to discover the truth of what has gone wrong with the American experiment in democracy but the corporate media obscures the truth from the confused and angry citizens of our once proud nation.

Madison was known for his disproportionately large head, relative to the tiny body of “Little Jeb.” It was filled with grandiose notions of a democratic society, yet could not at first contain  the idea that the people could rule themselves, given proper leadership and the ongoing opportunity to educate itself through a system of free public education, as advocated by his friend Jefferson. 

When Madison witnessed in the actions of Adams during a time of threatened war  the consequences of placing too much confidence in democratic ideals, he saw the danger of placing too much power in a Senate unanswerable directly to the people. 

After seeing the fruits of the Revolution threatened by the conservative fears of an Adams who could not fully accept the assumptions necessary for self-rule of the majority, Madison joined forces wholeheartedly with Jefferson in advocating for a noninterventionist policy. He had come to the  recognition of the fact that during times of war democracy itself is threatened. He further pointed out that in a state of perpetual war, democracy will inevitably cease to exist.

It is time to complete the Revolution. We must eradicate the idea that fear, anger and violence are proper responses to threats by  foreign terrorists who lack understanding of our interdependence. Fear leads to anger, and anger is the enemy of reason. It is only when fear and anger overwhelm reason that violence appears to be the only proper response to those we believe threaten our way of life.    

Americans must start to see each other again as fellow countrymen and not as enemies. Those who do recognize our interdependence  must reach out to our fearful and angry brothers and sisters who do not yet recognize  that the true enemy of democracy is the corporations who have seized control of our government. 

In a spirit of genuine concern, let us reassure our fellow Americans of the essential goodness of man, proving the strength of our convictions in our loving and respectful acceptance of them despite their misdirected anger. Democracy is predicated on the assumption that  men and women are essentially good and thus capable of ruling themselves. Together we can help them to see that they need only listen to the angels of their better nature to understand the truth of how we have come to the brink of fascism and how we can pull ourselves back.

You say you want a revolution.
Well, you know,
we all want to change the world.
You tell me that it's evolution.
Well, you know,
we all want to change the world.

But when you talk about destruction,
Don't you know that you can count me out?
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?
All right, all right.

You say you got a real solution.
Well, you know,
We'd all love to see the plan.

You ask me for a contribution.
Well, you know,
We're doing what we can.

But when you want money
for people with minds that hate,
All I can tell is brother you have to wait.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?
All right, all right
Ah ah, ah, ah, ah, ah...

You say you'll change the constitution.
Well, you know,
we all want to change your head.

You tell me it's the institution.
Well, you know,
you better free you mind instead.

But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao,
you ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow.
Don't you know it's gonna be all right?
All right, all right,
all right, all right, all right
all right, all right, all right.

Rick Staggenborg, MD

Writing from America's Zion in Utah.
Shalom and Salaam.

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