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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Perished from the earth

Over a hundred years ago, Abraham Lincoln gave one of the most stirring speeches in American history:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Surely the American Civil War as a time of much greater fear and terror than anything we have ever known in our sheltered, spoiled lifetimes.

And yet President Lincoln never demanded that the people BE AFRAID, never cut Congress out of the loop. He created a bipartisan cabinet of brilliant minds to guarantee that the best interests of the nation would be upheld, even at the cost of his own personal comfort (many of them hated him, and openly looked down on him because of his humble background.)

This was no rich men's pawn. This was a president. This man was one of us; and he believed in us.

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus when riots broke out in cities all across the North, and threatened the safety of the masses. (We citizens have never really liked our wars... have we?) And Lincoln later lifted it. We will find out today if our Senate thinks the current suspension of habeas corpus is worth lifting... without a single American city in flames, or even one lawless riot rampaging through our streets. Yes, we will see.

Lincoln was trying to save our nation... not destroy it for his own, personal gain. Lincoln believed in the dream of our nation's founders.

Democracy. Liberty. Justice.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

Yes, wars will do that. Quite a lot of 'testing' goes on during wartime. 58,168 Americans died in the Vietnam war. 54,246 Americans died in Korea. 407,316 Americans died in WWII. 116,708 Americans died in WWI.

558,052 Americans died in the American Civil War, in the course of only 4 years... out of a total national population of about 30 million (today we have a population of 300 million.) Imagine the impact on society, on towns, cities and farms all across America. And imagine... they didn't toss out the Constitution - and Lincoln still conferred with Congress before going to war.

The South fought to form their own, new Constitution; the Union fought to defend the current. Each side was, in their way, fighting for their vision of America... just as today, angry voices on the right and angry voices on the left all fight for their own vision, their own American reality.

We disagree on everything else, but we all do love our country.

Unfortunately for us, corporations do not love our country. They want to rule our country. They want ever more money, ever more power, ever more control. But no, they do not love anything... but money.

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have raised up a monied aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. - Thomas Jefferson

Commercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive, and impolitic. - James Madison

We were warned. We have been warned by everyone; from Jefferson to Eisenhower. We didn't listen. We were lured by trinkets and toys, and capitalism grew and grew, until at last it ate democracy.

But back to Gettysburg. Back to the battlefield.

We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

We are engaged, once again, in a war. But this war was never about freedom. This war was never about ideals; although the money powers spun it a way that would inspire yet another generation of idealistic, patriotic warriors to fight.

This war has always been about money.

We are daily met on a battlefield of a war. We just haven't yet awakened as a nation to the true nature of our war; and exactly who it is that has declared war on us.

We are misled, co-opted, enslaved... more and more, every day. Our freedom is being stolen from us at every turn by the money powers that lurk in the shadows; the powers that pay for our politicians, own our media, and call the shots. The money that wields the real power behind the scenes in Congress.

Do we think -- do we really think, for one moment, that anything we see is happening without their consent?

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

And how do we do that exactly? How do we end this 'perpetual war' that was declared against our will? This war... this endless war that will kill generation after generation of American and 'enemy' warriors alike, along with untold millions of innocent civilians...while destroying our very democracy in the process?

How do we resist this 'war beast' that is intent on killing us?

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Ah, father Abraham... that is the crux of the matter. That is the heart of everything. Because you see, we no longer are a government 'of the people, by the people, and for the people.' That government has indeed, as you once feared, perished from this earth. It happened in increments. It happened with a bill here, an amendment there, and many, many signing statements. It happened while we went to work, went to school, eat, watched TV and slept. It happened quietly and in back rooms.

All across this country, people are demanding justice, demanding the removal of this lawless presidency. For some reason, the Democrats - who we elected to 'make it right' and save our democracy - refuse to act. Most of them refuse to even listen to the voices of the people.

Even Senator Feingold who I have held in the very highest esteem and never once doubted - not for a moment - seems to believe that impeachment is not worth the time.

How can saving our Constitution and our balance of power in government, not to mention our own voice - the voice of the people - how can this not be worth the time?

Lincoln would have thought it worth the time.

Yesterday, Senator Feingold posted a diary on Daily Kos. He responded to the many angry impeachment comments that completely flooded his last diary on Kos. He restated that he feels that impeachment is not a good use of time.

I fully respect the anger and frustration many Americans feel with this Administration. I share much of it. But on balance, I think Congress’s time is much better spent ending the war in Iraq, conducting the oversight that was absent for the last six years, and advancing progressive legislation.

When I try to contact anyone about impeachment (congressman or senator,) I hear much the same... only unlike Senator Feingold, (who did approach us in good faith and is listening,) they speak to me as if talking to a small, confused child. It is as though I must be some left-wing radical to even broach the subject of impeachment. I have to tell them that I actually LEFT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OVER THIS before they stop and listen.

I will never belong to any party, ever again. I have lost all faith in parties. Party before nation? NEVER. I put the onus on the Democrats to restore that faith by doing something - anything - to save my country from slipping into a fascist dictatorship.

And perhaps the Democrats are satisfied to have a Democratic dictator rather than a Republican. Perhaps that is the deal that was brokered behind our backs. As long as the uniform is blue instead of red... and the right party 'wins.'


This was a government built on the rights and the voice of the people; and no one gives a damn about us anymore except when we're actually voting, excepting of course that our elections are now broken too.

And do you know why that is? Because lobbyists now outnumber lawmakers 24-1.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny. - Thomas Jefferson

Why would Congress give a damn about us? We don't pay their way... the corporations do. Perhaps the money powers who own the candidates and the media (except for a couple of mavericks - the ones who are ignored by the media by some strange coincidence;) perhaps these king makers told the Democratic party that they will not receive any endorsements - any money - for next year's election if they push through with impeachment.

Has anyone considered this?

These corporations are growing fat on the Bush Administration's policies, on this contractors' war, on land giveaways, cutbacks on corporate oversight, plundering of the environment, union-bashing, corporate tax cuts... this is pig trough heaven for the corporate world. In fact, corporate lobby representatives now oversee every single oversight agency; and corporations now make the rules and 'police themselves.'

And that is why I now believe that we will never, ever get this back; this government of the people. The whole thing has already gone too far under Bush and Cheney; the corporations will never give up all of this power now. And no one in Congress (other than Dennis and a handful of others) has the courage to stand against them.

One of the starkest Lincoln quotes I've ever seen was written in a letter to an officer during the Civil War. Some people have insisted Lincoln didn't write it, but a historian tracked it down and verified. I was floored when I saw it. How could he have... forseen this? But since that day, I have read many other warnings, going all the way back to our founding fathers. This danger has been looming since the very beginning of our nation.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. - Abraham Lincoln

If even Senator Feingold says 'do nothing,' it must be because he cannot see any way that Democrats can win next year without keeping impeachment off the table. And what on earth... would make a man like Senator Feingold, who so obviously loves the Constitution and agrees that these tyrants deserve to be impeached; what would make him suggest that impeachment was a bad use of time?

Perhaps the threat of continuing, lawless Neocon rule.

The sad thing... is that if this is true, and it is all about campaign finance: the Democrats are being played.

The corporations will never allow the Democrats to take over Congress or the White House unless they agree to keep things just as they are now. The corporate world will never give up a single tool in their presidential toolbox. I had nothing at all against Hillary; nothing at all... until she became lost in Rupert Murdoch's shadow. And of course Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. And Times Warner. Why would Hillary concern herself with listening to me? I will never have that kind of money.

But I still doubt that they really want Hillary; they'd much rather have a greedy Neocon like Fred Thompson.

I'm imagining a different scenario. I expect they will tell the Democrats to toe that line just a little too long... until the people become increasingly enraged and disaffected.

Then they will toss the people an independent candidate to split the weakened, Democratic vote. And of course, the gravy train will go right on, as if nothing ever happened. Giuliani or Fred Thompson. Probably Thompson because he was a lobbyist. Who better for the new corpocracy?

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. - Thomas Jefferson

Do I sound cynical? Machiavelli called this hundreds of years ago. Jefferson foresaw it during the birth pangs of our nation. Adams predicted that our fledgling democracy could not survive, but would eventually 'commit suicide.'

It must have leapt while we weren't looking.

If we've lost Senator Feingold, we've lost our Democratic Congress. And they were all we have to represent us in these dark, dark days.

We have no Lincoln... except the one with the tired, sad eyes, staring out from the dusty, faded pictures of our past. The man, the president of the people; who saw the future, and is perhaps still trying to warn us across time and space.

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise -- with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. - Abraham Lincoln

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