Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, May 04, 2007

National grief

I let it all get to me again. I've been working so hard, trying so hard to not engage... to watch, but not approach these polarizing issues from a place of anger and hostility. The fact is, I realize that I am not writing from anger but from grief.

I grieve for the pain we are causing in Iraq. I grieve for our loss of honor and our Federal government's descent into an official disregard for ethics and morality. Torture? The United States? Appalling. These corrupt GOP appointees have proven they don't have a grasp of even the most basic 'family values' - let alone national values and honor.

I grieve for the pain experienced - now every single day - by the families of soldiers killed in that senseless war, and for the families of those who are injured beyond recovery; those who will never really be the same. I grieve for those who have lost huge chunks of their souls over there, somewhere amidst the bombs and the shattering gunfire.

I grieve for Iraqi children growing up with no knowledge of anything but war and violence... they should be in school. I thought we - proponents of Democracy - believed in offering a better life. It appears that we people still believe, but our government does not. It has become one giant corporation; interested only in making money and amassing power for itself.

Mostly, I grieve that we have lost our moral center as a nation. We no longer represent - if we ever did - the ideals our parents' generation fought for in WWII.

I realize the world - and our country - was never perfect. But we had ideals once, and we once believed in honor. The people and the government were united in this belief, and there was at least lip service given to common decency and morality. We had presidents like FDR and Ike Eisenhower. We all strived for higher values than simply financial gain. There was a time when morality wasn't about shoving your religious intolerance down someone else's throat, it was about behaving ethically and defending the rights of people everywhere.

We were liberators then... now we are aggressors, conquerers and occupiers. And apparently also looters.

I grieve that we as Americans are now known, world-wide, as hypocritical torturers. The right of representation and a fair trial - such a cornerstone of our Democracy - has been systematically dismantled by the Bush Administration. Even habeas corpus, which has been around for hundreds of years... lost to us, in our own country!

And we let it happen. Because we allowed ourselves to become so afraid, that we gave away our most precious birthright - our democratic principles laid out in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The WWII veterans still alive today; those who fought the Nazis to restore freedom to Europe, must be horrified by what they see happening today, right here on American soil.

I grieve that there are corporations among us pretending to serve our troops; pretending to serve the people of Iraq - corporations that signed on to perform certain duties they never intended to perform. Corporations tied to Bush cronies, and holding no bid contracts. Corporations that are making a killing while building shoddy infrastructures, providing unsanitary water to our troops, using mercenary soldiers to terrorize the populace, and overcharging our government by millions of dollars for services they aren't even providing. War profiteers... and our tax dollars are funding them.

The citizens of this nation are basically honest, moral, compassionate people. Our government is not.

I grieve that the goodwill we received from all over the world after 9/11 has been squandered and turned into hatred due to the Bush Administration's total lack of morality and sense of honor. It is very hard to watch silently, reserving judgment, and not lash out with outrage. There is little here that does not warrant outrage.

But I will try.

Anger fixes nothing. And there is so very much to fix.


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