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View Diary: I wish this were only a book review (216 comments)

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  •  Acting (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken, WI Dem, c r b

    We must act as if it is not already too late.... I hereby withdraw my consent for the depredations of this administration against our democracy and against humanity.

    Unfortunately, it isn't the administration that's the problem. The administration is the symptom. The establishment is the problem. This became obvious in the recent vote on the supplemental. What is it that really caused that debacle?

    What caused it is that the forces that put George Bush in office and didn't immediately repudiate him and terminate his tenure when he started to violate established norms of civil conduct are the same forces that are destroying liberal democracy as we know it and have come to know it over the past few centuries. Those forces could briefly be called "comfort". In the time of Marbury few people were truly comfortable. Even the rich elite were constantly enduring hardships that we can scarcely consider. The roads were unsafe. Disease could strike at any moment. The American elite could not depend on a strong military to protect them. Indeed, the country was invaded and ransacked by the British. If taken by Indians or a foreign power the American elite could foresee being tortured and (given sufficient mercy by their captors) allowed to die.

    They were not comfortable. They were not safe. But we are. And therefore Americans are willing to give over their freedoms because we have systematically lost touch with what it means to lose them.

    And as a further result we have allowed our representatives, I mean corporations not members of Congress, to decide for us what freedoms we will have and what we must give up in order for cheap meat to keep coming to our freezers and indeed for cheap electricity to come to those same freezers. We are totally prepared to pay $3, $4, $5, $6, or whatever for a gallon of gasoline so that we can drive our big box cars to the big box stores to buy big boxes to bring home to our big box houses and put in the great room.

    The central question is this: "How do we get people to care about their freedoms when they are comfortable with their lives?"

    It will be a good trick. Anyone have any ideas?

    •  Damn good post! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      You really have some thought provoking ideas written here. You put what I have been thinking into words...thank you!  :)

      No Retreat Baby, No Surrender

      by WI Dem on Mon May 28, 2007 at 04:50:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I see teacherken gave this a 4 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      However, in the time of Marbury the electorate was not the same electorate as it is now. Voting rights were not as broad. Some of the electorate owned slaves to make them pretend they were comfortable and safe, and the threat to their freedoms was in their own homes. Others of the electorate were brought up with an ethos of public service as the Adams family was. But being able to vote and to hold office was a privilege at that time. It reinforced the idea that being involved in politics is work. If you were a Federalist, you cared about the honor and deference that the community naturally gave you, and paying it back. If you were a Republican, you cared about extending freedom to others.
      The Americans of this generation are removed from the civil rights movement and its struggle for freedom. However, that also happened at a very economically comfortable time, although Americans had to do soul-searching because of the threat of Communism. An informed person can simply look to Saudi Arabia, or to Iran, or Syria, or Kazakhstan, and see that everyone there is worse off. This person cannot believe that expanding freedom is easy to do. Keeping our freedoms is not a great act of idealism. It is self-government, and that is a series of everyday responsible acts trying to keep informed and maintain civil society so that our representatives know that they are being held accountable and several people might have gone as qualified as they are.  

      -4.00, -5.33 In certified results, DovBear has won 3 JIBS in categories he actually belonged in.

      by 4jkb4ia on Mon May 28, 2007 at 10:51:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah but I address question of electorate (0+ / 0-)

        in the quote I made from Franklin - go back and look at the diary.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

        by teacherken on Mon May 28, 2007 at 11:18:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  True (0+ / 0-)

        I don't disagree with this. The electorate was different.

        My point is that regardless of those differences, if that electorate had had even a fraction of the physical comfort we have and not been as conscious of the immediate dangers to them then they might have also been susceptible to ignoring fundamental rights.

        I guarantee you that if it were replayed on TV every 12 minutes where some random innocent American was dragged out of their home and tortured to get a confession of some kind that suddenly our rights would be back on the front burner. But the average couch potato doesn't think that they are in any danger of getting sucked up in that. So, they are happy to let Bush take away rights we've had on the books for two hundred years.

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