Monday, April 27, 2009

Follow up to the previous post...

I think it's important that I supply something very important to my last post. That is why I am quoting The Declaration of Independence in this post. Please do yourself the favor and actually READ what it says. Ask yourself this questions: Are those things worth fighting for in this day and time?

Declaration of Independence

Here is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence.
The original spelling and capitalization have been retained.

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)
The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:

For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing taxes on us without our consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Another 80*F that brings no sleep

It's another hot night, yes there seems to be a concurrent theme with hot nights and my blogging. I realize that there are some continuing themes within my blog. With good reason folks. With good reason.

I've taken time off of real live to play a silly little browser game called Ogame. I'm done with it now. I built an account from nothing and made it into the top 5% of the server I played on. Pretty good for a noob, or so I'd like to think. Enough of that though.

The truth is, I really did put my life on hold to play that game. I stopped reading, writing, writing music and even taking long hikes with the dog.

I'm glad to say that in the 30 hours since I've quit the game, I have re-read a book (Prey by Micheal Crichton,) gone on two short walks (it was close to 90*F here today) and now I'm blogging. It's another step in the right direction. I also went through my bookshelf and decided to read a collection of essays by Joan Didion entitled "Slouching Towards Bethlehem." Interestingly enough Didion took her title from a line by Yeats in the poem The Second Coming (Slouching towards Bethlehem.)

W.B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Even more telling is the opening line in her essay of the same title: "The center was not holding."

The CENTER was NOT holding. This can be interpreted in many different ways, and I've interpreted it in many ways that are viable and can be discussed at length, but today I will discuss one interpretation as it applies to April 26, 2009.

The USA has become a land of black and white, left and right, believer and skeptic, zealot and anti-zealot. In many ways the commonweal has lost it's true appropriation for truth, has lost it's desire to become wise, to do work, to sweat. Instead, it seems, that reason has been supplanted by innovation and ease. That hard work has been demonized in favor of higher profits and respectability. In short; we are dividing ourselves so that we can become conquered.

It's been happening for a long time. Don't fool yourself. You are just as likely to throw your hands up and say "I am not in charge, don't blame me" as you are to completely ignore the situation and walk away. The problem with doing that, is that YOU are in charge. You are in charge of this country. You are in charge of your state. You are in charge of your local government. You are in charge of your own life. To an extent, I believe you are self-determined.

The problem is that the Media outlets, the news flashes, the sound bits, the tweets and diggs have you convinced that you are not in charge. They have you convinced that Joe The Plumber won the campaign. They have you convinced that the only way out is from a government handout.

Every corporation starts out with an idea, a plan and a mission statement. The United States of America The United States of America has a mission statement, it's called the Declaration of Independence. The United States of America has policies and guidelines as well. That document is called the Constitution. Have you ever read it? It's important. It tells us how we got here, where we came from and where we want to go from here. It gives it's citizens purpose, and a reason to hold our heads high.

For now, I don't see unity. I don't see the pride we once had. I don't even see how we call ourselves Americans, other than by geographical birthright. We allow our government to rule us as they see fit, not to do as we see fit. We fall prey to knee-jerk legislation that destroys the very fabric of our ideals. We sit back and allow it to happen, blissfully expecting that when the bell on the microwave oven rings, we'll open up the door and find that our financial woes are finished. We can serve them up on a plate and pretend everything is just fine as we eat dinner in front of the latest "must see" television program.

Oh my friends, though Didion wrote her piece during the mid 1960's, her visual message is one that we resemble all too closely. You see it is us. US. We are the ones "Slouching Towards Bethelehem." Our center is not holding. We've lost sight of it.

That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

It is us, and our actions are despicable at worst, ignorant at best. We've committed the greatest crime of all: indifference.