Friday, September 4, 2009

Freedom and Peace Are Non-Partisan Issues

I was glad to see that Cindy Sheehan finally decided to protest Barack Obama's war policy. I was beginning to wonder what had happened to the anti-war movement in this country. I hope her decision will help to reinvigorate peace activists. I also hope that perhaps many who were involved in the peace movement and quit their anti-war activism after Mr. Obama was elected will take the time to look into their souls and think about why they stopped.

It amazes me to think that many people and organizations in the peace movement aren't protesting Mr. Obama's war policy at least in Afghanistan, let alone his waffling inaction and never ending excuses that comprise his Iraq policy. I guess that for these people it's not the war that matters, but who's conducting the war. It's bad policy when George W. Bush is engaging in it, but it's good when Barack H. Obama is in command? Perhaps these people didn't actually care about policy. Perhaps they weren't actually concerned about the deaths of innocents and the destruction of a country and a society. Perhaps they didn't really care about our soldiers being killed or the mental and physical anguish that can be attributed to taking part in war. Perhaps they were just there to divert the attention of a certain segment of the population away from a true anti-war candidate and to make sure that a Democrat got into office. Perhaps it wasn't the war issue they were concerned about, perhaps it was partisan politics.

Well, there are some of us who do take issues seriously. There are some of us who don't care about the party of a candidate or the partisanship of those elected to power. There are some people who simply care about the welfare of others, including our sons and daughters who have elected to serve in the armed forces. Cindy Sheehan has chosen to take the war issue seriously. Although I vehemently disagree with some of her other politics which I consider antithetical to individual freedom, I must stand with her on this issue. Wars of aggression are bad no matter who runs them. There are much better ways to go about doing business with the rest of the world. The government of the United States of America has no right going about the world bullying other cultures and forcing them to accept a form of democracy that amounts to nothing more than mob rule. They have no right enslaving other nations and their peoples in an effort to try to keep a failing empire of global corporate interests afloat. I'm glad to see Ms. Sheehan exposing the hypocrisy of the political left on this particular issue, but it's too bad that many of those who stood with her when Mr. George W. Bush was president, some of them very powerful, have decided to abandon her and remain silent now that Mr. Barack Obama is continuing the Bush administration's war and occupation policies.

I really haven't heard much from the political right on this issue, and some of what I have heard is disturbing. I've heard a number of right wing political pundits express their surprise and support of Mr. Obama for his foreign policy. The same people who made excuses for Bush's wars of aggression, his occupations of empire and his torture policies are pleasantly surprised that Barack Obama is continuing such practices. Personally, I don't suppose those people should have been surprised considering Mr. Barack Obama's campaign was financed by corporate interests tied to the same ones that had financed Mr. George W. Bush and were financing Mr. John McCain and all other “major” presidential candidates that had a “chance” of being elected.

War is not a right or left issue. It is a right or wrong issue. The only war that is ever justified is the war against those who would occupy your land. The only war that is ever right is a war of self defense against those who would force their way of life upon you. While the invasion of another nation may be justified as a response to an attack, once that nation's military has been defeated and that particular threat neutralized the continued presence of troops constitutes an occupation and any actions taken are no longer wartime actions of one military against another, but policing actions of one nation's military against the civilian population of the occupied country.

There is a saying I've heard that I agree with. People don't make war, governments do. I believe that individuals, if left to their own devices, would avoid confrontation with others. They'd rather trade and interact peacefully on a voluntary basis with others. It most likely would be too risky and the rewards too few or unimportant to make such engagements worth while. It's only when governments are created and empires grown that groups form up armies and decide to engage in the genocidal activity that is warfare. When looked at closely and studied on an historical basis, it can be easily deducted that an elite class at the very top of society benefit the most and suffer the least from this human endeavor known as warfare. Although an entire civilization can benefit from the enslavement of others and the theft of their natural resources, the few in control at the top of the heap, usually the ones beating the war drums the loudest, are the ones with the most to gain financially and in terms of political power. Once this is discovered it is morally correct to oppose such activities, either that or one willfully turns a blind eye to the suffering of innocents. Ms. Sheehan has decided to stand on the moral high ground, those who have abandoned her are now no better than the neocons they once claimed to oppose.

At the same time the peace movement has been floundering due to the loss of the Obama loving left, the freedom movement is flourishing. These peace loving people have, for the most part, come to the realization that the two party system in this country has failed. They have come to see that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans as political entities are willing to give up the power they have usurped. Neither party is willing to follow the law of the land and restore constitutional government. Many people have figured this out after seeing the Obama administration do nothing to overturn the Bush doctrine over the last few months. Many more others likely figured it out as they watched the Bush administration eviscerate the Constitution and especially the Bill of Rights over the last eight years.

One of the most vocal and visible people that fall into the latter category is Keith Olbermann. As I watched some of his “special comments” chastising Mr. George W. Bush for his total disregard for the US Constitution during some of the darkest days of that administration I felt a certain hope well in my soul as I realized that someone in the mainstream media was brave enough to speak truth to power. I felt that perhaps the country would survive and re-establish its constitutional roots. Then Mr. Obama was elected and Mr. Olbermann fell strangely quiet. He did not chastise Mr. Obama for not restoring the Constitution to its proper function by repealing the Bush era laws that had shredded it. He did not come down hard on Mr. Obama for continuing the bailouts and the government takeover of businesses that should have failed. I guess that when the constitution is ignored by Democrats it's not as bad as when it's ignored by Republicans. I guess that using unconstitutional laws that have already been enacted is not as bad as the act of enacting them. I guess that tyranny, the loss of economic freedom, and the continuation of ignoring the Bill of Rights under the Obama administration is not as worthy of comment as they were under the Bush administration.

More recently it has become Mr. Glenn Beck's turn to voice his concern over the loss of freedoms in this country. He finds himself in a precarious position as his advertisers threaten to pull their funding because he has expressed views they consider controversial. He takes umbrage to this fact and cries foul, claiming his freedom of speech is threatened. Yet it wasn't too long ago that he, himself, was calling for the silencing of a group of people he labels “9/11 truthers.” I think that perhaps these media personalities have taken lessons in hypocrisy from the very politicians they rail against. I quite agree with many of the opinions Mr. Beck seems to hold and what he seems to be trying to achieve when it comes to restoring our freedoms, and yet I wonder about his ability to practice what he preaches. I can only hope that his recent experiences have taught him that in order to live as freemen we must allow all others, even though we may disagree with them, to live as freemen also. I honestly hope that he is not just another political pundit trying to convince the populace that there is a difference between a Republican politician and a Democrat politician. The vast majority of them are unprincipled, power hungry control freaks who are not interested in peace or freedom and need to be replaced by men of principle.

Peace and freedom are non partisan. They are not owned by the left nor the right, Democrat nor Republican, conservative nor liberal. In fact, more often than not, all political factions and politicians seeking power over others want neither peace nor freedom for these things would curtail their power. We would do well to remember this when evaluating those we would place in public office, overseeing public coffers. Men and women of honor seem to be in short supply these days.

Peace and freedom are the stuff dreams are made of. The great majority of humankind, no matter where in this world they reside, would simply like to be left alone to live their lives unencumbered by government mandate or restrictions. Most people if given the chance would live out their days bringing harm to no one and peacefully coexisting with others. Given such a world, one would hardly care if his voice was heard by those in power, for those in power would not be abusing the trust placed in them or trying to force their will onto others. Until such a world is achieved, peaceful protests need to be held by those who seek a just world and respected by those who exercise power. I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend your right to say it. I believe it is prudent for everyone to remember that sentiment.

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