Maybe. Maybe not. It’s tough to know. It’s especially difficult to figure out considering there are a couple of countries that are too closed off from the rest of the world to know what they’re talking about. And, the fact that the corporate media in the U.S. is so selective in what they ALLOW us to hear about is another impediment.
If there was a tournament for dumb, I’m pretty sure we’d make it to the Final Four. (Come to think of it, March Madness would be a good name – but it would cause too much confusion.)
The United States was founded on a few basic concepts. One of them is freedom of religion – including freedom FROM religion, but a recent poll found that approximately one-third of U.S. citizens questioned said they support a state religion in the U.S. It sounds like a bad joke – but apparently it’s an authentic poll result. And, extremely embarrassing. Here’s how the First Amendment starts: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Oh well, so much for a state religion.
Another basic concept behind the forming of the United States is the freedom of expression (unless you’re Muslim, Native American, Black, Brown, gay, poor, middle class, homeless, a strong woman, disabled, elderly, a progressive activist, a Socialist… the list goes on.) Here’s a continuation of the First amendment: “… or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” Damn, I guess we’re really not supposed to stop people from expressing how they feel, either.
Another right guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution which is associated with freedom of speech is the right to publically protest policies you feel are unfair and need to be addressed by the government. The Occupy Wall Street movement was a blessing to everything that the U.S. used to stand for. People arrived from around the country to peacefully assemble and make the voice of the less privileged heard. The enthusiasm quickly spread as “occupations” popped up around the world. However, no one would have know about their true intentions by the way the corporate media blasted it as a bunch of lazy, unemployed bums who wanted a free lunch, to steal from the wealthy and to be able to walk around dirty while begging for money. Never mind the fact that it was generated by a genuine concern about economic injustice, racism, sexism and corporate control of our government – among other issues. More of the First Amendment: “…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Oh, that damn Constitution again getting in the way of those sociopathic predators who wish to push their petty, distorted version of what’s “proper” on the remainder of the country.
During the reign of George II – Bush, that is – the government took advantage of the grief and anger over the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks to pass quasi-martial law legislation called the Patriot Act. (A more ridiculous name could not have been used as Jefferson, Madison and Franklin are still rolling in their graves.) Part of the Patriot Act includes “sneak and peek warrants” which allow law enforcement to enter private premises without consent or even the knowledge of the homeowner. Now, you’d think that it would be used (still wrongfully) against people under suspicion for terroristic activities with substantial evidence of violent intentions. No, that’s not the case. Even misdemeanor offenses can be the subject of sneak and peek warrants – also known as “enhanced surveillance procedures”. Now, from the Fourth Amendment: “Protection from unreasonable search and seizure. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers or effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue…”.
Now, these are important concepts contained in what some consider the most crucial document in the forming of the United States. And, apparently, the majority of the people who are supposed to be “protected” by these basic civil rights don’t seem to care much about them. But, there is one part of the Bill of Rights that millions of people are obsessed with: the good ‘ol Second Amendment. Every time Congress introduces gun control legislation, a segment of the U.S. population goes berserk accusing the government of trying to “gut the Second Amendment” by hiring their decadent, liberal secularists with their “God-hating, anti-gun agenda” to “attack the personal freedoms of law-abiding Americans”. People rise from their well-worn couches, grab the remote control to pause their indoctrination machine, hop in their gas-guzzling vehicles and gather at rallies to proclaim the right to own a gun as the quintessential aspect of what being a U.S. citizen is about. There’s even a gun appreciation day. Seriously. It seems that ”they” can take away our Miranda rights, lock us away in prison indefinitely without bringing criminal charges, use “enhanced interrogation techniques”, censor our media and beat us with batons for assembling in public to bring attention to injustice - but don’t force us to fill out a form and wait to buy a gun.
Corporate media brings us images of smooth talkers warning us of the dangers of gun control: background checks will lead to a national gun registration which will lead to guns being forcibly taken from us which will lead to us being crushed by a tyrannical, oppressive government bent on controlling every aspect of our lives. What do these people think they’d do against the U.S. military if there was an armed rebellion led by the NRA and militias? Do they think they’d hold their own against the most formidable army ever assembled? Not only is a military incursion against the U.S. people an unlikely scenario, there is another serious breakdown in logic here. Having a stockpile of weapons isn’t the answer to tyrannical rule. Especially when you allow the national debate to be about automatic weapons, flag burning, a state religion and preventing a large section of the population to get married while drumming up ignorance, fear and hatred.
These are all ways that our attention is misdirected by corporate manipulators and their ignorant, self-centered lap dogs on the payroll to prevent us from repairing a seriously broken system. They dumb us down and get us to talk about nonsensical non-issues rather than addressing racism, sexism and the disparity in wealth between the rulers and the masses while they erode important civil rights such as freedom of speech and the right to vote.
Ben Franklin once said “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Hopefully, one day we’ll learn that enforcement of civil rights will protect us from tyranny – not guns.
Wow. After reading some of the comments on this post, I was surprised to be accused of hating my country. Nothing could be further from the truth. I doubt someone who hates their country would sleep (very little) on concrete in a public park - in the elements, be threatened by angry members of NYPD, temporarily give up income, bathe in sinks, be ridiculed by stuffed suits who gauge life on how fat your wallet is (aka debating employees of Wall Street firms) and stand for hours on Broadway educating tourists on the evils of ALEC and private campaign finance. All with an already bad back.
You have to love your country to sacrifice comfort in order to improve it. Anybody can sit at a computer and rant about their pet peeves. It takes courage to give up money; hot showers and a warm, clean bed to help shake the masses out of an apathetic stupor of ignorance. In conclusion, I'd like to say that the people who took part in the Occupy Wall Street movement did not fail. All those who DIDN'T stand up and make their voice heard failed us all.