March 4, 2005
by Michael Boldin
"Whenever you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship."
-- Harry S. Truman
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations."
-- James Madison
Senator Robert Byrd, former KKK member and fanatical Civil Rights opponent in the 1960's, recently compared the actions of the Republican Party to those of early Nazi Germany, and he's right. Unfortunately, the only man who's actually said it is the one that's hardest to believe because of this sordid past. Where are the rest of the Democrats? Things are sure starting to sound fishy. Shouldn't the Democrats be in opposition to the Bush administration? Sadly enough, they've become nothing other than a fake opposition. While many of them are busy distracting us by making statements opposing Bush's Social Security "reform", behind the scenes they're even busier supporting virtually everything that Bush is requesting. They've approved over 90% of his judicial nominations, most all of his war funding requests, and now many of them are calling for further action against Iran and Syria. Has the great American Republic failed? If our representative government were truly working, we'd see approximately 50% of our representatives against our foreign wars, because about 50% or more of the public is in opposition. Reality is quite the opposite. The rhetoric from both sides of the aisle sounds different, but the results are the same; big business gets bigger, and the American empire continues to expand. This is not a new phenomenon, as the drums of war have been beating from both Democrats and Republicans for decades. We've attacked nation after nation, overthrown governments, destroyed economies and more. No politician, left or right, is stopping it. Without a real opposition that actually does something to oppose current policy, we have become a one-party system. The corporate structure of this one-party "Republicrat" system has taken us just a small step away from all-out martial law and dictatorship.
- In a dictatorship, the military is exalted.
Have you tuned into the mainstream news lately? No one does it better than Fox News, but CNN, NBC, ABC and the rest, are also involved. Story after story, the men and women of the military are made to look like heroes for their courageous efforts overseas. Yes, it does take courage to face death every day, but the true military heroes are the thousands of men and women who are refusing to murder innocents and occupy foreign lands. They are refusing duty, and risking jail or even death. These heroes, when reported on in the mainstream news, are most often referred to as crackpots, or even worse, traitors, while the ones actively occupying and destroying sovereign nations are exalted. It's not just the media stooges constantly praising our nation's militarization; it comes right from the politicians. Cheney and Powell have both referred to the war in Iraq as 'brilliant.' The Bush administration, along with the House and Senate, has been approving overwhelmingly huge amounts of funding for war. While millions are homeless, underfed, lacking education, and lacking healthcare, billions of dollars go to what the media and politicians consider our most important segment of society, the military. People are unimportant to our government, or at best, they're less important than major military contracts. The unfathomable amount of military spending itself, tells us that the government considers the military to be of a greater importance than health, education, and life itself. Any time that killing capabilities are the most important facet of a government, you've got major problems. How many times have you heard, from both sides of the political spectrum, the phrase "support our troops" lately?
- In a dictatorship, the government is secret.
No American administration in history has been so secretive as those of the last decade. They attempt to block the release of papers at every turn, from investigating 9-11, to releasing surveillance tapes of the Oklahoma City bombing, to secret energy meetings, CIA/Nazi ties and more. Both sides of the political aisle are guilty. A free society requires an open government, yet they continue to scheme behind closed doors. Their enemy isn't overseas; they see their enemy here at home. We, the American public, are under attack.
- In a dictatorship, debate is eliminated.
The last few years have seen an all-out attack on our liberties through legislation, the media, and more. When war in Iraq exploded, it was common for TV commentators to declare that disagreeing with the president's policies was an inherent right, but that in a time of war, it was unpatriotic. Again, watch the news and listen to politicians and commentators who say that although they "may disagree" with the president, it's not their place to push their own political views, as the "people have spoken" and re-elected him. When did the role of president of America turn into the role of "fearless leader"? Are we to suddenly give up our beliefs and fall in line with what the president wants? These statements are not anything other than a calculated campaign to program us into following the White House like faithful foot soldiers. Even in Congress, a pillar of debate, the filibuster, is being slowly destroyed. Soon, the minority will have no say, no protection in our society. Free speech is the basis of a free society, and we've all heard many reports about the police state measures taken at the Republican National Convention in New York last year, but how much did you know about the same measures at the DNC? It doesn't matter if you're left or right, protests are slowly being eliminated. We're being required to get permits to organize and voice our opinions as a group. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights state that all of America is a free speech zone, and that permits and approvals from the government aren't necessary to exercise our inherent right to free speech. Unfortunately, they're taking this away from us. They're getting us accustomed to free speech zones, protest permits and the like. Soon, we'll be left with nothing.
- In a dictatorship, the population is brought to its knees economically.
Politicians claim economic growth, yet America is turning into a second-world country. No longer can the average American live with one bread-winner in the household. Rather, two or more incomes are necessary to sustain family life. We spend all of our time worrying about how to pay additional bills, higher taxes, poorer quality products, and what are we left with? Nothing. NAFTA has resulted in huge trade deficits, loss of employment, lowering of wages, and now they want to expand it into all of North and South America, resulting in further economic destruction. Meanwhile, the prison industry is exploding, because the prisons are being filled with non-violent offenders. The CIA floods the country with drugs, arrests the users, puts them into prison, and then they're used as slave labor, also resulting in fewer jobs and lower wages for the rest of the population. When a people aren't able to make economic gains, it prevents them from focusing on anything other than their own finances. This destroys their ability to spend time and money standing up to tyranny. America is wealthy. Sadly enough, most of our money gets spent on the military.
- In a dictatorship, the police have unlimited power.
Your papers, please! Although incomplete, police power is growing immensely. Checkpoints, warrantless searches, surveillance blimps, riot gear, and invasions of our privacy are happening daily. The Supreme Court has even ruled that we are no longer to expect to be secure in our papers and effects from search and seizure. In the days of freedom, the police couldn't force you to show identification. Now, an officer can stop you at any time and require ID under the threat of arrest.
Absolute power is never achieved overnight, and throughout history, evil men who have come to total power have done so in increments. Napoleon, Hitler, and the rest, took years to become the ultimate leaders of their respective nations, and if we are students of history, we know that it was the people's "representatives" that actually gave these tyrants their full power through the law. Although the government isn't running around and eliminating their opponents yet, they've already set up the structure on paper to allow them to do so. More importantly, they've conditioned us to accept these practices, such as arrest without warrant, elimination of protests, the military joining the police and much more. They must be stopped. Information is power, and only when enough of America knows what's truly happening to our great country, can power be put into the hands of the people.
As Samuel Adams once said,
"it does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds"