Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Congress, Egypt, and robbing you, the silent victim, at gunpoint

What is the 'foreign aid' we give to Egypt? Guns. Tear gas. Bullets that their military uses to shoot nonviolent pro-democracy protesters.

One wonders if Americans have lost all sense of assertion and are stuck in passive-aggression? Isn't the public discourse where we are supposed to express our legitimate concerns and let it be known that we expect some reasonable behavior, some justice, some fairness and service from our government?

Federal taxes are enormous. If you began giving the federal government your entire paycheck at the first of the year until you paid your full year's taxes and then never gave them another cent until next year, you would pay them your entire income in 2013 until April 18, according to the Tax Freedom calculations. Shouldn't you feel as though you have something to say about how all that $2.76 trillion is spent? $2,760,000,000,000 is a tall stack of your hard-earned hundreds. Your entire income from January 1-April 18 is a lot of the fruits of your labor.

So do you want those funds used to fund police and soldiers in Egypt who shoot down 51 unarmed civil society members as they demonstrate for a democratic process? Do you think it's a good use of the money that you worked for to fund a military coup in a country that had a nonviolent revolution and is still trying to define its own democracy?

John Boehner thinks he should be able to grab your salary for that purpose. Even though Congress passed a law that says we cannot give aid to a country that has had a military coup, Boehner and the other militarists (from both parties) are willing to make an exception if a military ousts a democratically elected leader they don't like.

"I think their military on behalf of the citizens did what they had to do in terms of replacing the elected president," Boehner said, according to NBC News.

Does anyone else think this is surreal? Of course, I thought electing Ronald Reagan, a B-movie hack, as governor of California and then president--twice!--of the US was surreal, so perhaps I live on my own planet, one on which such stupidities don't occur. Would Boehner plot with the US military to replace a president we elected? I do not ask this rhetorically. The longer I live the fewer assumptions I carry about the potential for bizarre behavior by our elected officials. These are the people who take my entire paycheck for January, February, March, and half of April, and half of that seized money that I earned goes to pay for killing machines, death threats to entire nations, and murder of children who happen to live in poor places that harbor targeted violent enemies of the US. I put very little past them.

They support dictators. They fund military governments. They claim to be spreading democracy and they overthrow it when it displeases them. Then they lie about it. Boehner doesn't even bother to lie. He isn't passive-aggressive; he is simply aggressive. And he seems to have plenty of company amongst other elected officials. They support the military in Egypt? Really? A military that mows down unarmed participants in a public nonviolent demonstration? This is slaughter of civilians. Supporting this is simply ghoulish.
If we countenance this, we admit that possibility some day right here. Can you imagine John McCain, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and others supporting a military coup in our country? I honestly don't find that much of a stretch. The only sacred part of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to these people seems to be be the Second Amendment. Our other 'guaranteed' rights are worth about as much as any other piece of paper, as any other democratically achieved result, to these people. They are not going to stop eroding democracy in this instance until they see Hosni Mubarak's sort of government return, the military-backed government that bends to US interests in the Middle East even as it represses its own people. All paid for by you and me.

Just Say No. If we fail to say it we do not give our elected officials the information they need, which is what happens with passive-aggressive behavior, says Barbara Budjac Corvette in her instructional book on Conflict Management. Most of us get a bit passive-aggressive--have we ever expected another to be a mind-reader? I have, and it doesn't work so well. Give Boehner and his anti-democratic militarists a piece of your mind, not a piece of your paycheck.


Corvette, Barbara A. Budjac (2007). Conflict management: A practical guide to developing negotiation strategies. Upper Saddle River NJ: Pearson Education.

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