Monday, June 28, 2010

Speaking truth to power

All power to the people! was the ignorant but well meaning shout of the 60s, from whence I came (b 1950, teen and young adult in 60s). I claim ignorant because all the power is already in the hands of the people, of the populace, if only they would awaken to that fact. This is always true, whether they have taken it or whether they have let it languish. This is true in the most advanced, participatory, direct democracy and in a brutal closed dictatorship. The question is not how to take power from the leaders, but rather how to stop ceding it to them. Indeed, Gandhi noted that Britain had not taken India, India had given itself to the empire. With just 100,000 troops, the British empire held command over 300 million Indians--until they stopped cooperating.

This is how a war system operates in our name, around the world. We let it. We could stop it, but we don't. We pay our federal taxes, half of which go to war, war preparation, or the cost of past wars. We do that every year. We vote in politicians who promise peace and vote for war. We do this every two years.

And the endless reports on how poorly these dollars are actually spent has no discernible effect. The multiple and endless failures in Afghanistan produce a liberal Democratic president who escalates the war and Republicans who criticize him for not escalating it more. Each and every US program there is a failure, even though the Pentagon paints a huge mural of rosy success. Independent reports peel off that veneer and show the sad and predictable truth. From the New York Times: "Despite spending by the United States of $27 billion on the training of Afghan security forces since 2002, the report found that even top-rated Afghan units could not operate independently and that the ratings of many security forces overstated their actual capabilities."
(Heck of a job, Stanley; you're fired)
This week we see the spectacle once again of the US committing more massive amounts of money so desperately needed to create US jobs sent into the deep pockets of the war profiteers. Congress will vote on pumping another $33 billion from your paycheck into the veins of this war. How will your representative vote? Will you tell him or her how you feel about this? If we wanted to, we could be power speaking to our public servants, "Vote no." Or we can whine and sigh and pay up for more blood on our hands. Those are our primary choices.

Back in the day, this required a piece of paper, and envelope, a stamp, finding addresses, writing a letter, and mailing it. In our easy democracy it is pick up a phone or click your mouse:
The Capitol Switchboard is 202-225-3121. Ask to be connected to your Representative's office. Try to get the Foreign Policy Legislative Assistant on the phone; tell whomever you get to speak with that you urge the Representative to vote no on war funding and to co-sponsor McGovern's bill and vote for McGovern's amendment; try to get them to say how the Representative will vote; report back to us any result of your query at the following link:


1 comment:

Cole said...

Thank you for this blog. Without too much detail, it was a much appreciated reminder.