Editor’s Note: The following text was a persuasive essay that I entered into a writing contest. The open-ended theme of the contest was “How does writing sustain democracy?” Although I very loosely incorporated writing in the beginning and end of this essay, I felt it was to powerful to keep to myself. I entered the contest, but decided not to share it until the day that winners would be notified. The Presidential Election is too important for you to not participate. My position on the election has been made very clear. Despite this, I implore both republicans and democrats to take the time to exercise your rights as a citizen. November 4, 2008 is a day to make history. Without further ado, my entry…
In the late summer months of 1776 British monarch King George III sat in his regal chair with his afternoon tea and correspondence. Among the parcels was a letter from the thirteen British colonies in America. As he perused the letter the king clenched firm his fists, pursed his lips, and shook with vitriol.
To Whom It May Concern:
We are of the opinion that King George III has not been governing British America very well. Therefore, we are going to give it a go on our own.
Enough is enough George!
The United States of America
As a red, white, and blue-blooded American I like to think King George III then fell over backwards in his chair. With ratification on July 4, 1776 our patriots established a democracy by a unified act of dissent against a monolithic corrupt authority. The written letter King George III lost his stoic British composure over was the United States Declaration of Independence.
To insure that citizens of the newly formed United States were guaranteed their unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” the Founding Fathers included the right to dissent. The Declaration preamble authorizes citizens of a corrupt government “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.” The Declaration is more explicit in its dissent affirming language proclaiming, “it is [the citizens’] right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
Our democracy functions on the principle that citizens will work together to come to agreement towards securing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Fortunately, the day-to-day majority of these written agreements legitimately benefit our society. Be that as it may, there have been times when our nation’s laws have tarnished our democracy. In our nation’s infancy people with black skin were nothing more than property. The indigenous people were cattle to be driven out west. Women were expected to make decisions at home, but not in public policy.
How did patriots secure the rights of blacks, native populations, and women? Those who asserted their right to dissent with the status quo brought change. Their brave dissent provided a fundamental and corrective balance to our democracy. The collective efforts of those who struggled for their rights in turn made our democracy stronger. Today, however, we can only read about their endeavors in history books. Their tomes are ghosts of American democracy, as it existed in bygone eras. To whom can we look for models of modern dissent in America?
We look to the unpatriotic Americans who refused to follow the status quo after 9/11 for modern, living, breathing examples of democracy.
Recall the unpatriotic Americans who questioned whether Saddam Hussein was legitimately linked to 9/11. Saddam Hussein still has no credible link to the events of 9/11 as of 2008. This unfortunate truth has cost the lives of more than 4150 of America’s finest soldiers.
Think back to the unpatriotic Americans who questioned if Saddam Hussein actually had weapons of mass destruction. We now know that he had never procured yellow cake, stockpiled nuclear weapons, or hoarded other WMDs. Tens of thousands of America’s finest are coming home with life-altering injuries and untreated psychological disorders from this fruitless endeavor.
Conjure up the unpatriotic Americans who questioned whether the War on Terror really would pay for itself with oil revenues. Emergency appropriations bill after appropriations bill has funneled money into Iraq without appropriate oversight. We have currently spent over $700 billion of your tax dollars rebuilding that country.
…and we still have not caught Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan!
Ponder the unpatriotic Americans who questioned whether suspending habeas corpus and torturing people for information was legal. Our nude Abu Ghraib prisoner stacking and Guantanamo Bay water-boarding exercises have destroyed our credibility as an advocate for basic human rights on the world stage.
Reflect on the unpatriotic Americans who questioned whether The Patriot Act encroached upon civil liberties. The telephone companies and intelligence agencies have been caught red-handed spying on Americans without a warrant. The secret No-Fly List has the TSA blindly accusing American citizens of being potential terrorist threats. The world’s top intellectual minds are avoiding our country due to harassment from the Department of Homeland Security.
Mull over the unpatriotic Americans who marched out of sync with the beat of the war drum. They have been relegated to pre-designated out-of-sight out-of-mind zones where First Amendment rights have been quarantined like an infectious disease.
The nerve of these unpatriotic Americans defending our rights via dissent!
In the past eight years we ordained fear as a guiding light and have somehow been led into darkness. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would be rolling in his grave if he knew our worst fear is fear itself. We will not survive if fear continues to be status quo. Now is the time for the status quo to change. Everyday Americans have the power to change.
If you were to scrutinize the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington D.C. you may be surprised at its physical condition. It is pathetically brittle, a jaundice shade of yellow, and has print barely detectable to the naked eye. The ink may be dried and fading on the Declaration, but the ink is still wet in the wells of each American’s democratic vote. Within the American vote lies the power to write the text of our democracy and, as a means of preservation through dissent, to make right our democracy when it is wrong.
A vote of dissent is an unalienable right granted to you. Dissent provides balance to our democracy. Dissent is an explicit act of patriotism. Dissent is an act of love for our democracy.
Enough is enough George!
Political signs outside of a gas station in Jefferson, WI. Not exactly the best place to show where a McCain-Palin ticket will take us with a perpetual war in oil-rich Iraq.
Remember, Republicans and Democrats alike, can vote early in Wisconsin by going to your local city clerk. Finding your local clerk is as easy as plugging your address into this google page.
A while back I was smitten with one of Nike’s Leave Nothing commercials. I am not a person who purchases sportswear, plays sports, nor watches sports. But somehow they got me to pay close attention to their commercial.
They struck gold a second time with another Leave Nothing commercial entitled “Fate.” This time around the vignettes follow a boy growing up, becoming more agile, and eventually becoming a football star. It is a well coreographed visual narrative with a befitting audible narrative. The tune is a sublte remix of Ennio Morricone’s song L´Estasi Dell´Oro, or for you non Italian speakers, The Ecstasy of Gold. Metallica fans will no doubt be familiar with the tune and/or falsely claim that it is a ripoff of their work. The non-metalhead will recognize the theme from the excellent 1966 western film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Bravo Nike. You get a pat on the butt. But I’m still not buying your gear.
Achtung! Achtung! Taco Zeitgeist fans! This is a special announcement.
I have just received confirmation that Taco Bell will be distributing free hard shell beef tacos during the MLB World Series. If any player steals a base then you are entitled to a free taco between the hours of 2 – 6pm on designated redemption days at participating locations. The details can be found at this Taco Bell website.
In order to obtain maximum free taco goodness I recommend using Google Maps to plot all Taco Bell locations in your area.
All Operation Übertaco Einsatzkommando are to report to base for additional briefing.