America’s lost soul

America, a once-great nation founded on a notion of freedom, has lost its way.

America is a country without a soul, controlled by leaders without conscience, fueled by political agendas without honesty and dominated by issues without purpose.

Some say the loss of soul began in 2003 when we invaded a sovereign nation without reason, using rationalizations based on lies, promoting a fear based on political expediency.

But America has been losing its grip on reality for many, many years. America is a victim of its own paranoia, driven by an outdated belief in a superiority that doesn’t exist. That egotistical belief that our way of life is the only cure for the world’s ills has led us to become a nation that attempts to export a vision of democracy that no longer exists within our own borders, to believe that our own narrow view of the world must control others peoples and other governments and that we, and only we, can develop, own and use weapons that can destroy the planet.

We decry terrorism yet we export terrorism to other countries. Our soldiers maim, kill and torture. When we run out of soldiers, our government hires mercenaries to continue our dirty work and claim all this mayhem is necessary in the name of freedom.

Whose freedom? Our own? We began losing our freedoms years ago and that loss accelerated as the smoke swirled around the remains of the World Trade Center and the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon.

While we attached Chinese-made American flags to our car windows, our leaders deposited the Constitution into a shredder. U.S. goon squads, operating under the Germanic-sounding name of the “Homeland Security” rounded up Americans and shipped them off to foreign countries to be tortured and denied the rights that once belonged to each and every citizen of this country.

A mentally-unstable President used paranoia and fear to gain unprecedented power and bring this nation to the brink of a dictatorship. An effort by voters to restore some checks and balances to the system fell short when Democrats reneged on their promises and put political expediency above the will of the American people.

The billions upon billions spent in Iraq devastated the economy back home and we face an increasingly uncertain future.

As we head into the 2008 Presidential election season, both political parties appear destined to nominate candidates who support the status quo and offer no real return to a our forefathers’ dream of a government of, by or for the people.

Historians argue that America’s democratic republic was always more theory than reality. Those who founded this nation did so with the premise that only white, male landowners could truly be free. Blacks were slaves and women existed only to serve men.
From the beginning, our elected officials came from the ranks of the wealthy and privileged. They thought elected office should be “public service,” not a career. Today, those who aren’t rich when they come to Washington usually find wealth either in office or by cashing in when they finish their “public service.” They answer not to the people but to special interest groups with large political action committees.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have one. I wish I did. I’ve worked around the American governmental system for more than 40 years. I’ve covered it as a journalist and worked within the political system for nearly a decade. I’ve served my country. As a young reporter writing about the fall of Richard Nixon I thought America had sunk as low as it could go.

I was wrong. The sink hole deepens and more simple American values disappeared into it long ago. Too many Americans gave up too long ago on demanding honesty, accountability or solid performances from our leaders. We judge them not individually but in relation to other leaders and we forgive their failings if the other side is worse and the other side is always worse in a partisan political system.

We cannot reverse the downward slide of America through partisan politics. Both parties, in my opinion, are corrupt. Neither represents the interests of the American people nor gives a rat’s ass about the nation they claim to serve. Independent voices on both sides of the political divide can’t succeed because party leaders insist on lockstep compliance with pre-determined issues driven by special interest money and political agendas.

It may be time to start over, to rethink this grand, but failed, experiment called America.

“Democracy,” Winston Churchill once said, “is the worst form of government imaginable…except for all other forms.”

Churchill may have been right. It would be easier to judge if democracy actually existed in a place called the United States of America.

43 Responses to "America’s lost soul"

  1. Janice  October 24, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    I wonder if this is what Bush is pushing us to, and will use as an excuse for martial law. I don’t know the answers, but I do know that unless we the people stand up and demand an end to this war, it will go on and on, dismanteling our Constitutions completely. This never ending war on terror stinks of 1984. I do not trust my government – or our elected representatives – anymore.

    My husband told me I can’t solve the problems of our country – or save it, and I answered, ‘If not me, then who?’

    If not each and every one of us, then who will? This is what we must embrace if we hope to salvage any of our freedoms. I don’t go to Washington to participate in the protests because I work. But, I can practice civil disobedience in my town, along with Kent’s 200,000,000 other “me’s” who have also had enough.

  2. Janice  October 24, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    While I hope that this will not lead to civil violence, like Kent, I am afraid that it will take that to get the attention of the populace. And, I wonder where the loyalities of the police and military will fall; with the citizens of this country, or with the government. What has our country come to..?

  3. Stratocaster  October 24, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Most of the military has been brainwashed into thinking Bush is the good guy. For the most part they think they are doing the honerable thing in defending their country. The do not seem to have come to the realization that they are dying for Halliburton’s and Blackwater’s profits. I guess that makes us the bad guys.

  4. old_curmudgeon  October 24, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    There’s a lot of talk here about civil disobedience and civil violence…just curious but what do you suppose the purpose of all those detention centers that were built by KBR/Haliburton might be? Just curious. There are those that have said that everything that has happened since 2000 – everything – has been by design. That the dissolution of the United Statesas we know it (or thought we knew it) is the genesis of the new version of North America. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran – the decline of the dollar, the callous lack of concern by the government to those citizens who suffer and are needy (New Orleans/Katrina, SoCal (wait and see) – the utter contempt by our elected representatives to those who voted them in – the rise of nationalism and racism and hate in general. What makes you believe that anything we might do might have an influence on those who wish to control us? But of course, that is just this old curmudgeon’s opinion.

  5. Janice  October 24, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve heard about the detention centers, but have not followed any links to the facts. Do you have any you can share with me?

    Your theory, while plausible, does seem like a big conspiracy. I have to wonder if anything can be that well planned and executed.

    Our founding fathers were insurgents and terrorists – at least from the British perspective. The principles of our country are based on those held by the patriots. I hope that those foundational beliefs that drove the formation of our country are still with us, otherwise we are truely lost.

  6. old_curmudgeon  October 24, 2007 at 6:37 pm

    First off, dearie, it was not My theory. I said, “…some have said…”. Second, there are plenty of “facts” out there if one were to take the time to do the research for themselves. Try GOOGLE for a start. Just remember that “facts” are “facts” only if you put store in the source.

  7. Stratocaster  October 24, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    A detention center has been built locally, supposedly to detain the illegal aliens they are about to round up. If we would stop all this speculation and just check into the local concentration camp for reprogramming like we are supposed to.

  8. Janice  October 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Well, my mistake. I apologize for missing the subtle distinction in your post. What are your beliefs; conspiracy theory or consequences? I was hoping for a shortcut through all the hits in looking for the truth about the detention camps – but I guess I will have to practice the old adage that if you want something done right – then do it yourself.

  9. eggplant43  October 24, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    That may be what appears on the surface, but I suspect that is not the case in actuality. If you are active duty military, you express your true opinion, only at extreme risk of your personal safety. Thus, all the retired generals who recant after retirement.

    Of course, this is just my opinion, based upon my actual experience in the military.

  10. SEAL  October 24, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    “I’m beginning to think that the cleansing of civil disobedience may be our only option, but I’ve got so much to loose…..” Is that true? Maybe not…. Perhaps just the opposite is true.

    Almost everyone in this nation is in debt beyond what they can ever repay. No one asks the price of anything anymore, only what the monthly payment would be. They know they will always be in debt. They take on a $6-700,000 debt when buying a $200,000 home and a $60,000 debt when buying a $30,000 car. And then, there are those credit cards. We have become a society wherein our insurance rates are determined in part by our credit rating.

    If there were a non-violent civil uprising that refused to pay anything – no taxes, no mortgage, no credit, no nothing, what would happen? When the money stops, the nation stops. Who is then in power? Who then can dictate terms? What the hell are “they” going to do about it? Arrest everyone? And who would do that? Soldiers and mercs don’t work without pay and no bank is going to turn loose any money for that with nothing coming in.

    All debt could be renegotiated, or even abolished. Laws could be changed or abolished. We could actually go back to living according to the Constitution.

    This is the power in this nation and we have it. When will we use it?

  11. ekaton  October 24, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    “There’s a lot of talk here about civil disobedience and civil violence”

    As far as I know my use of the term “civil violence” is the first use of this term, ever, anywhere, that I know of. Its not a term that makes any sense, nor does the term “civil war”.

    This does not constitute “a lot of talk”.

    I’m not nitpicking, just trying to clarify.

    I do NOT advocate violence of any kind against any individual or property, private or public.

    — Kent Shaw

  12. Carl Nemo  October 24, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    Doug Thompson; truly, spot-on, sparkling commentary concerning the state of our nation! There is no solution other than a possible rebirth born from an absolute, abject crisis, no different than the fires in southern California except on a nationwide scale.

    When all Americans witness the value of their dollar implode to less than that of the Mexican Peso in buying power with foreclosures and bankruptcies reaching epic proportions will they begin to rise up and say enough is enough. Only then will they realize they’ve been conned by silver-tongued devils; ie., evil, self-aggrandizing, pols with a globalist agenda who could care less about America or it’s citizens. They will also realize the terrible price they will have to pay for being profligate, card-swiping spenders both on a personal and national scale.

    “having lost its value, money may no longer be the root of all evil; credit having taken its place.” …Dalton Camp

    Carl Nemo **==

  13. Sandra Price  October 25, 2007 at 6:36 am

    We all failed as Americans to learn and teach the basic freedoms that our founders had designed for all Americans. Our schools did not touch on these freedoms and simply told us about speech freedoms that stopped at yelling “Fire” in a crowded room.

    Every American citizen has the responsibility to know clearly what our Constitution gives us. How clever our government was to allow the academics to dissolve into a pile of crap involving teaching our children social restrictions instead of their absolute right to disobedience. We dumbed our students down for 3 generations to the point that nothing makes sense to any of them.

    We got the government the people wanted. We lost our ability to correct our errors. We ended up just like all the other nations under a dictator and now we whine about it.

    http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/

  14. Stratocaster  October 25, 2007 at 8:16 am

    The problem of debt was touched upon by SEAL in a previous post. The banks are responsible for a large portion of our problems. They are the ones that are financing the corruption. MBNA contributed more to Bush’s re-election than the oil companies did.

  15. Stratocaster  October 25, 2007 at 10:28 am

    The problem of bad government will never go away anymore than crime, greed and corruption will go away, but that doesn’t mean that you stop working to make it better. Just because you can’t do away with fire doesn’t mean you give up on and do away with fire departments. It will never be perfect, but you can always make it better.

  16. SEAL  October 25, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Janice: The link I had for the concentration camps no longer works, but check this out:

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/october2007/251007_end_game.htm

    Everyone should.

  17. douin  October 25, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Until the real truth of 911 comes out it will be impossible to open the eyes of this deceived nation as to the full extent of the evil that is being propagated on us all. If the so -called Investigation is accurate, then why is this Administration so against re-opening it so as to remove all doubts..once and for all. The only reasonable explanation that comes to my mind is that it will be shown that it was all nothing but one big cover up.
    Why 911..you ask ? Why else other than to have a plausible reason ( excuse) to finally follow through on their already well-laid plans to invade Iraq ..starting with Afghanistan so as to have troops and weapons already in place.
    Conspiracy ‘theory’ is no longer a theory once it is acted upon.
    This is just one more person that agrees with ‘old curmudgeon’s’ views. This country is all that stands between the Shadow Government and it’s complete domination of this world. As long as we are Free..or still believe ourselves to be free..they cannot take the type control that they have been conspiring to have for the past several decades. They now feel that the time has come and it is Now or Never..as most of them are growing old and time is running out for all of them.
    If anyone else can come up with a better explanation ..then enlighten us. Otherwise, stand up in support and make your views known. Then and only then can we stop the downfall of all of our freedoms so many have given their lives to leave us. That is the only way. Civil disobedience is called for. With no workers..no taxes…no taxes..no war funds, thus no wars.
    As it stands now, we are helping to fund a war that was never necessary for our security and one that we now know was based on nothing but a pack of known lies by our own government. It appears that our only recourse IS civil disobedience on a massive scale. It is not wrong to disavow a war that has been proven to be based on Lies..and one that was not approved by Congress…as only Congress has the Right to declare War on another sovereign country that has never attacked us.

  18. douin  October 25, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    Until the real truth of 911 comes out it will be impossible to open the eyes of this deceived nation as to the full extent of the evil that is being propagated on us all. If the so -called Investigation is accurate, then why is this Administration so against re-opening it so as to remove all doubts..once and for all. The only reasonable explanation that comes to my mind is that it will be shown that it was all nothing but one big cover up.
    Why 911..you ask ? Why else other than to have a plausible reason ( excuse) to finally follow through on their already well-laid plans to invade Iraq ..starting with Afghanistan so as to have troops and weapons already in place.
    Conspiracy ‘theory’ is no longer a theory once it is acted upon.
    This is just one more person that agrees with ‘old curmudgeon’s’ views. This country is all that stands between the Shadow Government and it’s complete domination of this world. As long as we are Free..or still believe ourselves to be free..they cannot take the type control that they have been conspiring to have for the past several decades. They now feel that the time has come and it is Now or Never..as most of them are growing old and time is running out for all of them.
    If anyone else can come up with a better explanation ..then enlighten us. Otherwise, stand up in support and make your views known. Then and only then can we stop the downfall of all of our freedoms so many have given their lives to leave us. That is the only way. Civil disobedience is called for. With no workers..no taxes…no taxes..no war funds, thus no wars.
    As it stands now, we are helping to fund a war that was never necessary for our security and one that we now know was based on nothing but a pack of known lies by our own government. It appears that our only recourse IS civil disobedience on a massive scale. It is not wrong to disavow a war that has been proven to be based on Lies..and one that was not approved by Congress…as only Congress has the Right to declare War on another sovereign country that has never attacked us.

  19. douin  October 25, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Sorry about that…computer acting up and it did not register that my comment had actually lifted off the ground !

  20. Stratocaster  October 25, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Try this link:

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0418-27.htm

  21. JoyfulC  October 25, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    I think the most significant failing in our democratic experiment happened when we began recognizing “corporate personhood.” I believe there was no mention of corporations in the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. It’s obvious our founders not only never intended for corporations to have legal rights equal to or exceeding those of private individuals, but that they intentionally excluded them.

    Could they have foreseen how corporations, acting in their own best interests (…which, unlike human beings, consists of only a single qualifier: profit) would take over our media and buy up our governments and courts?

    I’m not anti-corporation, but I do believe that corporations are entities which require strict definition and regulation. Otherwise, they’ll roll right over us. How can they help themselves? They are not like humans, and so if they are to live and function among us, they must be kept on a short leash.

    Take, for example, health care. If you were walking along at the mall, and the old man next to you suddenly grabbed his chest and fell to the ground, what would you, as a human being, do? Would you run over and see if he were okay? Call for help? Whip out your phone and dial 911?

    And what if he was fumbling with his pocket, his hands trembling, and a bottle of pills fell out and rolled just out of his grasp — again, what would you, as a human being, do? Would you retrieve his bottle and help him open it?

    But now, let’s look at how the corporation treats that same old man. First — very first — thing the corporation must do is check to see if he’s insured. If he is, then the next thing they’ll probably do is open an account on him, so they can bill for any charges from actions taken on his behalf. In short, every action the corporation takes with respect to the old man is guided almost solely by the expectation of profit. (Occasionally corporations make some demonstration of charity — but even then, it must be done with an eye to the bottom line, ensuring that the corporation receives positive publicity from it’s “corporate citizenship.”)

    And really, this is only reasonable. Corporations exist for one reason, and one reason only — to make profits. While we humans certainly enjoy profiting, there’s more to life than that for us. A certain amount of altruism is hardwired into each and every one of us — but altruism can only exist artificially in a corporation, even though that corporation is made up of human beings.

    I believe that the original founding fathers never intended for corporations to have the status that they have in the US today. If we’re to pull out and continue this experiment in democracy, then I think we need to reverse the trend and put corporations back in the role that the original founders intended for them. It remains to be seen whether that’s possible. It’s sort of like saying that, in order to save the village, we have to kill the dragon — but the dragon’s bigger and MEANER and more likely to survive.

    I want add a link for a book outlining the history of this subject, which — incidentally — you can download free in pdf format:

    http://www.gangsofamerica.com

  22. DejaVuAllOver  October 25, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    America is merely the latest victim in a 4000 year old conspiracy (yes, that’s right) by the Chosen Race to finally conquer the Promised Land. Our media does the Zionist’s bidding, constantly, and our wacky fundamentalist Christian rednecks, who favor the Old Testament over the New Testament, have bought the whole program hook, line and sinker. We are now immersed in a filthy Judeo-Christian Holy War with no end in sight, only escalation.

    I’m not even a Christian, but it looks more like Armageddon every day. Thank your local zionist, neocon, same-old-con or whatever you want to call it.

  23. Paolo  October 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

    “Joyful C” says:

    “I think the most significant failing in our democratic experiment happened when we began recognizing “corporate personhood.”

    I have heard this argument before, and it still makes little sense to me (with all due respect). A corporation, in a free society, is just a group of individuals who contractually agree to work with one another to achieve some well-defined business ends (generally speaking, profits). This is not something to be feared as such.

    When we speak of a “corporate person-hood”, in a legal sense, we just mean that all benefits and liabilities shall accrue to the corporation, and not to any one individual within the corporation, for actions undertaken by the corporation.

    Thus, if Person A works for the corporation, which causes harm to Person B through its business actions, Person B cannot sue Person A unless it can demonstrate Person A caused harm as an individual, and not as part of the corporation. I have no problem with this.

    The corporation in effect is a “shield” for individual persons working within the corporation, against liability. The corporation can be sued, and made to pay damages, but individuals within the corporation cannot be sued (unless it can be legally proved that the individual acted irresponsibly qua individual).

    If you do not accept the concept of a corporation as a distinct entity, then you allow any worker for a corporation to be sued for any action of the corporation. This strikes me as eminently unfair, on the face of it.

    Admittedly, this is a complex issue. If I have missed something in this “corporate personhood” debate, please post an explanation. I say this in all good-will and friendship.

  24. Stratocaster  October 26, 2007 at 2:35 am

    If it was just bad government, it could probably be fixed. This has gone way beyond that. This is organized crime. Maybe we should file a lawsuit. The People of the United States vs. The Government of the United States. Compile a list of crimes. Put it in the form of a petition. Have a couple million people sign off on it. Get a good lawyer. Boy, that would make a damn good class action suit.

  25. SEAL  October 26, 2007 at 2:52 am

    “our wacky fundamentalist Christian rednecks, who favor the Old Testament over the New Testament”

    They conviently ignore the fact that Jesus resinded 8 of the ten commandments. I read the bible as a non-believer and without any “interpretations.” What I got out of it was that the new testement essentially was Jesus explaining what god realistically expected, leaving the old testement of no value other than history. Yet, we are constantly referred to the old testement quotations. Therein you can always find some pious sounding something to fit whatever “Your” preconceived conception is.

  26. JoyfulC  October 26, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    First, you sort of answered your own question when you stated “A corporation, in a free society, is just a group of individuals who contractually agree to work with one another to achieve some well-defined business ends (generally speaking, profits).” That’s exactly right. A corporation is not a person. It is a device of a group of people. The people who form the corporation already have rights and responsibilities. By giving the corporation the status of a person, we’re attempting to offer those people a loophole from the normal human equation and from their responsibilities in society while they pursue their profits. We are giving people a way to profit from behaviour that we could never approve in an individual human being.

    As you point out, a fundamental purpose of corporate personhood is to exempt those people who profit from the corporation — shareholders — from liability. I wonder if maybe you’re not confusing “shareholders” and “workers.” The “workers” are hired, directed and overseen by the corporation for the purpose of generating profit. The “workers” don’t earn a share of the profits (unless they’ve also chosen to become shareholders or unless the company has some sort of bonus program) but rather are paid commensurate to their value to the corporation.

    The operation of the corporation — including hiring, directing and overseeing workers — is the responsibility of the senior management, who in turn is hired, directed and overseen by the shareholders. So when the actions of its workers result in liability, it’s only natural that the shareholders should be responsible for it. I’m not a legal expert, but I believe that the term is “severally and jointly.” After all, when the actions/efforts of its workers leads to profit, the shareholders benefit from that, as a group and as individuals, right?

    There’s nothing wrong with desiring profit, but creating an imbalance that allows people to divorce their pursuit of profit from their responsibilities as human beings and as citizens under the law obviously isn’t working out. Why shouldn’t a group of people who get together to make a profit have the same responsibilities as if they had each acted alone?

    We’ve seen an analogy of corporate personhood on the internet. I’m sure you’ve seen how people can sometimes behave when they’re participating anonymously and when they can simply log off if things become unpleasant. People post things on message boards that they’d never utter verbally in a room full of people. “Sims” act out ways that we’d consider dangerously promiscuous, criminal and even sociopathic. This is what happens when you try to take apart the human psyche. God or nature or whatever fashioned us intended for us to bear responsibility for those things that we do in an effort to get ahead or better our lot.

    Moreover we, as humans, are hard-wired to certain duties, even though there may be no personal profit attached to them or there may even be a loss. Taking care of our children, for example, or helping out our friends as well as strangers, and even, in some cases, those we believe are predominantly responsible for their own misfortune. This “person” creature that we created — the corporation — isn’t human. It has all the ambition of a human, but no corresponding conscience. It’s an unnatural device that, in its current form, serves mostly to create a loophole for individual responsibility and obligation to behave humanely.

    Apparently things weren’t always so, nor do they have to be so in the future. We need to seek a better balance that will allow corporations to exist and thrive without dominating us and destroying our finest attempts at human progress (such as democracy). In nature, things work best when there are checks and balances. When something comes along to throw things off balance, all hell breaks loose — which pretty much describes where we’re at right now! As mere humans, we can never know the mind of god — we can only look around ourselves and grasp the importance of balance, strive for it in our personal lives, in our public lives, in our society and in our government.

  27. ekaton  October 26, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Well put, most eloquent. I cannot find a single nit to pick. I will be quoting your arguments in personal conversations.

    — Kent Shaw

  28. JoyfulC  October 27, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Whenever anyone suggests a conspiracy, people always respond by suggesting doubt that such an elaborate conspiracy could be put together.

    No? Why not? It seems to me that it’s more difficult to believe that it all just happened by accident.

    I believe that there is an active conspiracy to throw democracy over in favour of a feudal system based on corporate hegemony (… if that’s the right word). Check out how a place like Dubai functions — I believe that’s our future. Maybe some of us will be among the wealthy elites, but probably most of us will populate the class that services the elites. And those who fail to be appropriately obedient and subservient will find themselves in the lowest class, a virtual slave class — working 16 hours a day in 40+ celsius heat and living 20 to a room.

    I think this has been going on for years — and all the while, they’ve trumpeted “democracy and freedom” from every corporate media outlet. We hear about it more and more, have access to it less and less.

    Theyr’e stealing America right out from under us, and like any good con man, they’re doing it so as most won’t even notice until it’s too late.

  29. JeremiahJones  October 27, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    May I suggest America didn’t lose its soul, for it never developed one. The Constitution was a liberal ideal — but even as it was ratified, conservative interests ensured that slavery would remain legal. Then came the long downhill slalom: The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed less than a decade after 1789; Jackson initiated the genocide of the land’s rightful owners; Lincoln suspended habeus corpus and waged war against southern Americans; Wilson jailed dissenters; FDR confiscated the public’s gold; Reagan legitimized race war under the guise of drug control. … The current sorry state of American “democracy” is simply the fruition of an informal, creeping coup that began in reaction to the populist fervor of the Gilded Age. It was formalized after WW2 with the collusion of defeated fascists and crypto-fascist multinational corporations and financial interests. The JFK assassination (yes, yes) was a worldwide proclamation — to those who knew it for what it was — that the conspirators had achieved a milestone, immunity from prosecution. The stolen elections of 2000 and 2004 permitted the de jure repeal of the last protections against an imposed dictatorship. … A people long accustomed to three squares a day and a shiny new car every few years can hardly be expected to defend rights they never knew they’d need.

  30. Gerald Sutliff  October 24, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Dear Doug,
    May I suggest we really began to “lose our way” when elected Ronald Regan.
    Keep up the good work.

  31. Freewinds  October 25, 2007 at 6:46 am

    If we are serious about “finding our way again”
    I strongly suggest we give all our support to
    Ron Paul.
    He is the ONLY hope America has.
    http://www.ronpaul2008.com

  32. JudyB  October 24, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Congratulations and Thanks for a brilliant rant..it should be refered to by every source of media…BRAVO!!!

  33. Stratocaster  October 24, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Democracy may never be an achievable goal, but it is an ideal to br strived for, and without that ideal, we have nothing. However, the last time I walked into an affair where they were saying The Pledge of Allegiance, I covered my ass instead of my heart.

  34. Janice  October 24, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Doug,
    Exceptionally good rant. Unfortunately, truer words have never been written. I see the only way to combat this degeneration of our democracy is with the introduction of other viable political parties. The Democrats and republicans are absolutely corrupt – different sides of the same coin. There has been so much damage done to our country and Constitutuion that I am not sure recovery is possible anymore.

    One thing I do know is that we need to get off our computers and come together as citizens again to DO something. This medium, while giving us an opportunity to relieve our frustrations and anger through venting in a semi-public way, also diffuses the same. We need to join with our fellow citizens and put our effort into reconnecting with each other and actually doing something to change the direction this country is moving. While we are online, we are united in ideas, but divided in action. Coming together as citizens in communities, we are united, can fine tune our ideas and move them into actions – and as a physical group we can be heard and effectively do something beside complaining. Sharing ideas on the internet is important and necessary, but coming together as ciitzens and communities to practice civil disobedience is how we start solving this horrible destruction of our country – if, as Doug has said, it is not already too late.

    If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
    Mark Twain

  35. ekaton  October 24, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    ” … but coming together as ciitzens and communities to practice civil disobedience is how we start solving this horrible destruction of our country … ”

    AMEN! 200,000,000 people, some weekday morning just walk out into the streets and sit down. Pack a lunch. Bring a guitar and a harmonica. But, how to organize, how to organize? One “little guy” like me or you has no chance. Maybe an organization like Iraq Vets Against the War, or MoveOn (doubtful). I don’t know. But that is what its going to take.

    (And, undoubtedly some of us are going to be murdered by the police, some seized without due process, etc. That is the price of freedom for all, the sacrifice by some. I’ve had a good 58 years, so take ME you bastards. SOMEONE has to be willing to pay so that others can live in freedom. And I might point out that “the troops” in Iraq are NOT NOT NOT “fighting for our freedom” which can ONLY be done at HOME by any populace that truly wants to be free.)

    — Kent Shaw

  36. Stratocaster  October 24, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    The last time I suggested civil disobedience, I was told I would have to file a permit for it.

  37. ekaton  October 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Yeah, well tell whatever “authority” informed you of this, “I got your permit right HERE.” Filing a permit for civil disobedience. Yeah. Right.

    — Kent Shaw

  38. Bruce-The work in progress  October 24, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Well Said Doug. I’m not particularly religious but the following quote sums up the spirit of what I’m feeling:

    “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    Bruce-The work in progress
    http://www.quixotichierophant.blogspot.com

  39. dobro2837  October 24, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Great column but I believe we began our downward slide with Lincoln’s Civil War. Next came the Federal Reserve and then came income taxes, direct election of senators and FDR.

    We are not a democracy and were nver intended to so be.

    We have become an imperialist bully.

    Believe Tommy Franks: We are another 911 away from martial law.

  40. eggplant43  October 24, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Once again you capture my mood. I don’t know when the decline started, but I certainly experienced it when I was serving in Viet Nam. The hubris, the arrogance, and the isolation from reality that we are currently experiencing can either be our downfall, or the impetus to reclaim what we once had.

    I certainly don’t think that either the Republicans, or the Democrats have any chance of reclaiming the possibility of greatness that this country once represented.I’m beginning to think that the cleansing of civil disobedience may be our only option, but I’ve got so much to loose…..

  41. ekaton  October 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    “I’m beginning to think that the cleansing of civil disobedience may be our only option, but I’ve got so much to loose…..”

    Aye, and therein is the rub, is it not? How angry must we become before the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune become so oppressive that we say “to hell with it all” and do what must be done. Don’t get me wrong. I have as much to lose as anyone, and I’m as timid as anyone else. But at what point does the pot finally boil over?

    Frankly I don’t think civil disobedience will do it. I think that eventually we will see civil violence (yes, a bit of an oxymoron but no more so than “civil” war), which I do NOT advocate, but disobedience must be tried first.

    — Kent Shaw

  42. Stratocaster  October 24, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    “Freedom is just anouther word for nothing left to lose.” I have already been jailed, not for what I said, but for what someone said that I said. A false police report was filed against by by someone who said I threatened them. A swat team showed up at my place of employment, and five guys dressed in kelvar put in in a solid concrete cell with 18 violent people and left me there from 4PM to 10AM. Needless to say, I no longer support my local police. The charge was a terroristic threat.

  43. ekaton  October 24, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Yours is NOT an isolated incident. The police state is already here, and anyone whom has had the most minor brush with the police knows this. I was railroaded at a preliminary court hearing by a police officer perjuring himself. I documented NINE separate, individual LIES by the police officer. My attorney told me he had enough to beat the cop at an arraignment, but it would cost me $6000 which I did not have.

    Oh, you ask, what did I do? I was at home, and I had more than a few beers that day, beginning at noon. I HAD NOT BEEN DRIVING. Around midnight my car alarm began going off for whatever reason. I went out to shut it off. The panic button did not work. I opened the car door, got in, started the car and immediately shut it off, which killed the alarm as I knew it would. The police officer observed all of this. He then arrested me for DUI, which, according to Pennsylvania law he had the authority to do. In court, he told the magistrate that he had observed me “driving in circles”. He said that I had laughed and asked him for help getting inside my house. He said it took me several minutes to find my license, registration and insurance card, when in reality it took about 30 seconds. He said that I talked incoherently all the way from my home to the booking location and county prison. I had not uttered a word. There were many more lies. Interestingly, he cannot look me in the eye to this day. I live in a small township, not far from the police department, so I encounter the officers often. He ALWAYS looks away. I know better than to even say “hello” as that could be construed as assault.

    So. Welcome to the police state.

    — Kent Shaw

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