The Sale of America, Piece by Piece

There was a time when this was a nation – not of states, but of tribes. The nation had a rich history that was known well by its proud Natives. I don’t even know what the nation was called because immigrants, some armed with guns, some armed with liquor, some armed with guns, destroyed the nation. They weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes.

The invading immigrants built a new nation, not out of tribes but out of states. Generations found the old nation vanishing along with its inhabitants. The remaining descendents of that nation and its tribes were relegated to small pockets across the land called reservations.

The new Nation, called the United States of America, then built itself into a powerful nation, inhabited by its own generations of proud natives. Until one day, immigrants, armed some with drugs and some with investment capital came along and weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes. Generations are finding this nation vanishing along with its once proud inhabitants. The new Nation, called the United Investment Holdings of the World, will build itself into a powerful fund for wealthy corporations around the globe. Its inhabitants, loyalists only to their home nations will also remain proud – but will never be natives.

If you think that it couldn’t happen to us – so did the original Native Americans. Perhaps it is the revenge of the Great Spirit, or the result of greed – or maybe just a cycle returning to its beginning point. Whatever it is, this country is losing itself. My father came to this country in 1918, like thousands of other immigrants, to leave behind old roots, old nationalities and become a part of the American Dream. He and countless others came here to plant the seeds of their dreams in new soil and to build a life as an American from the land that was America. They came here to melt into the melting pot – leave their old identities behind – to speak American, to dream American and to become American. They came, not only to pledge allegiance to the flag, but to pledge allegiance to fulfilling the promise of Democracy and of the Constitution of the United States. They came to be a part of that becoming.

Americans lost sight of their nation and its meaning, they lost sight of history. They saw only the gold. To Americans, the land did not represent its original principals, its original spirit, it represented booms, and rushes. There were gold rushes, silver rushes, oil rushes, and real estate booms. Immigrants began to come from other countries, not to become Americans, but only to off of America while remaining true to their homelands. Some, found that they could remain in their own countries and export their drugs to America – living better than most Americans, off of the weakness of Americans. They began killing Americans with their drugs, while buying American and Americans with their money – all the while never even crossing the border. Their effect on this nation is no different than the effect of the immigrants who came with small pox to give to the Native Americans. Others, have come armed with capital to invest, robbing the people of their incomes, their ability to feed themselves – while keeping all of the profits safe within their own native lands.

Perhaps this is what happens when you build a dream instead of a nation. When you build on what it has to sell rather than the people who make it a nation. I once thought that what was great about this country was that it was the only country founded on dreams and ideals. I realize that what made this country beautiful – the dreams – the ideals – were never planted into the soil of the nation which is its people. The funny thing is, that we miss this country, we know that it is slipping through our fingers, but we still don’t get why. We still don’t see, that like the American Indians, back when they were Indians and not Native Americans, our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the land that our nation inhabits. Our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the businesses that it builds and the people – the Americans – that they feed.

Again, it could just be karma. The nation was built on stolen land, perhaps that destines it to having the land stolen from it. Karma is only balance. The nation has a karma – not in deed – but in intention. Balancing karma does not require the impossible; it does not require undoing what cannot be undone. We can balance karma by realizing the error of what we have done and making a commitment never to do it again. Instead, what we did was commit to becoming a nation united in strength and action rather than tribes, divided and weak. And, as a nation united, we will not do what we did to obtain our land. However, rather than dividing into tribes, we have divided into mega-corporations, competing with each other for profits, just as the tribes competed with each other for land. The corporations have enough autonomous power to have aided in the weakening of the nation – no longer united as one people, but divided by the competing interests of different corporations. A corporation has not heart, no home, no loyalty other than to itself. Its home is where its profits are. Capitalism has reached the point where corporations not only control the goods and services of the nation, but they control the flow of information. Whosoever controls the flow of information controls the nation.

“Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone – to the citizen as well as the publisher… The crux is not the publisher’s ‘freedom to print’; it is, rather, the citizen’s ‘right to know.’ ” Arthur Sulzburger
1990 American newspaper publisher

The mainstream Media providing the most widely available information is privately owned. It is free under the first amendment to provide whatever information it chooses, even if that information is ultimately in its own best interest. It can choose, and often does, to serve the government which it was designed to censure. There is no branch of government that is not in some way indebted to one if not many major corporations. Capitalism has circumvented the Democracy that our forefathers attempted so desperately to ensure the people. We spend so much money and energy in an attempt to protect our shores from a foreign military invasion, that we have completely lost sight of the fact that there would be no need for any nation to spend money and lives attacking us when all they have to do is buy us, business by business, loan by loan, building by building. It may be a hostile takeover – but we invented them. However we look at it, we are being killed by our own poison.

Unlike the Native Americans of the past, we understand the value of union. We are in a position to take back our nation as a people and to put the rights and the freedom of the people before those of any entity be it the government, a corporation or a religious group. No organization should not have the rights of individuals, it should not under any circumstances have rights greater than those of an individual and it should never be allowed the freedom to act in any way that is contrary to the rights of each individual as defined in the constitution. The only organization granted rights in the bill of rights is the press. Not the press as a corporation but, the press as the bringers of information to the people. We can still save our country from being no more than a piece of valuable real estate, but to do this, we must remember what it meant to be an American before it was equated with being a capitalist. Capitalism is the monster that flourished from the seeds of Democracy, just as Communism was the monster that flourished from the seeds of socialism. When what is good for the whole, becomes less important than what is good for the few, the whole is destined to deteriorate regardless of the label given to the system that caused it.

We are in a bad state. And, as the one stock that most of the world’s investments are tied into, we will not go down alone. But we can change, even if the change is a slow one. Electing Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee tells the world that we are seeking change. Electing Obama President, will place us on the path of change. But only by becoming the United People of America, only by pulling in and giving back to this country and all of its people, all of its diversity, only by reinvesting our hearts into the spirit of the Constitution, can we hope to become the change that we seek. We may have financial problems, but as Americans we are rich in spirit. We have to stop this fire sale mentality that keeps the Carpetbaggers coming in. We must value ‘made in America’ above all else. Any entity that does not give more to the people of this country than it takes for itself is the meaning of un-American. This country needs every to build itself up from within, the educational system, employment, and healthcare must be repaired. It is time for those who have gained so much from this country to give as much back. We need a government that demands it, we need a government that puts the individual above all else. The whole that sees its parts as expendable will eventually expend itself. This country is being divided up and sold off. But we can stop the sale, we can reclaim what is ours, but only through union. So long as the parts are abandoning the whole, the whole has no chance. We need to come together as a nation and worry about our own soil, stop worrying about some terrorist group attacking us, we are selling ourselves off at way below cost.

It Is Time For Us To Embody the World That We Envision

“Look at yourself, Look at what you are and measure it against what you imagine you are and what your conscience tells you, you must be. Be shocked, America! Be stunned, be overwhelmed by what you see, and feel at the center of your being the purifying fire of remorse.”  Frederick Douglass

This is a small world.  And perhaps it is the shrinking of the world that will ultimately bring us the era of peace that has been prophesied; it is, after all, this small world which has brought us to the entrance of war.

“This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?”

Frederick Douglass

You see, this shrinking world, has dragged the poor, the slaves, and the under privileged into the ‘grand illuminated temple of  ‘liberty’, a temple into which they may only enter carrying a tray of food to serve, a broom to sweep, a new brick to lay, or through the medium of television.   While the wealthy are spared constant images of poverty flashing into their homes over the airwaves -the poor are not afforded the same courtesy.  The wealthy have claimed ownership of the world’s resources.  Lush fruit trees grow in the back yards of the poor but they may only labor in the fields collecting the harvest, they may not eat of it.  The poor go hungry and children die of starvation even in the wealthiest country in the world.

The ability to communicate and to see what goes on in every country affords the oppressed a view of lives which they would not have otherwise known, and it is through those images of wealth that the poor are faced with the clear reflection of their own poverty.  The world is overburdened by mans inequity and mans psyche is overburdened with pain.  People see that there are opportunities they do not share, and yet, those opportunities are advertised as basic human rights.  They see that all they need to advance in life is a good education, but they will almost never be afforded that education.

Now, the technological advances that have turned an entire planet into a neighborhood where to wealthy unknowingly parade their wealth before their neighbors who have nothing.  Every revolution on the planet has been seeded by this.  I have heard many people who had grown up poor, before the world became so small, say that they did not feel poor or feel badly about being poor because everyone else was in the same position. It is when the poor must endure not only their suffering but the constant exposure to those who are greedy and wasteful that the poor, feeling a loss of value, rebel against those who hoard the wealth.  Without a sense of self-worth, without a sense of value, man finds little left to live for and often is vulnerable or unconsciously seeks out a cause to die for that in some way will give value to their having lived.

We live in a world of uncomfortable neighbors who, were it not for technology, would not be so forced into acknowledging the circumstance of the other. Along with creating animosity that had not existed before, between nations and people who really would not have known each other in such intimate terms, it has also created a way to kill each other with a minimum of effort and a maximum of emotional detachment.  Yet, there is something else, something much more important that the shrinking world has made manifest.  It has forced mankind to come face to face with its own hypocrisy.  This hypocrisy is no less evident in a country whose Declaration of Independence states:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

This country can state this in its declaration of independence while at the same time supporting slavery and the annihilation of its native peoples.   In an industrialized and technologically advanced world it is necessary to have a workforce that is at least minimally educated.  Because of this necessity, those who once suffered oppression without the education which would awaken their awareness of being oppressed, are now informed of the inequity in which they exist.

The ignorance which once shielded the division of classes is being technologically erased and so society can no longer sustain the division.  We live in the information age, the age of knowledge and knowledge breeds discontent.  What you know can hurt everyone.  Without ignorance, the hypocrisy of inequality is exposed.  Without knowledge, those with vision can only dream, but, with knowledge, those with vision can and do change the world.  Ignorance veils the truth, but once exposed, the truth does set us free.

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

It is an inevitable truth that whatever we use to selfishly build ourselves up, will one day be used to tear us down.  At whatever moment we make the choice to use any of God’s gifts to advance one over another, we have secured the weapon of our own demise.  What goes around comes around, what is sent out will return.   The technology that the few have used to covet the resources of the earth that belong to all, is that same technology that is exposing this misuse and forcing mankind to look at what we are, as Frederick Douglass said, and measure it against what we imagine ourselves to be.

Technology has made secrets more difficult to keep and it will slowly but surely make abuses more difficult to profit from.  Those who we have elected to govern us have used our trust to place themselves in positions that transform them from representatives of the people to representatives of only themselves.  Ours has declined into a government that represents the interests of those who govern and not those who are governed. If our representatives in congress voted for the people to have the same health insurance and pensions that they themselves enjoy, we would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  At present, in the United States, we have a government of those in power, by those in power and for those in power.   In the coming lean years, it will be advisable to remember the next paragraph of the Declaration of Independence which states:

“That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security-Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government.”

It is foolish to underestimate history.  We study history so that we do not repeat it.  And yet, repeating it is all that we ever do – new set same play.  When will we come to the understanding that we own nothing, we are entitled to nothing above that which every other human being on the planet is entitled.  We are permitted the use of the earth’s resources so long as we understand and accept the responsibility of that use. When resources are limited they must be equally shared.  History has shown us over thousands of years of wars, revolutions, and natural disasters that what we do not share will inevitably be taken away.

When AIDS was used to judge the lifestyles of homosexuals, it was loosed upon those who judged.  We are waiting for Judgment Day, unable to see that it has been here for many years.  The world looks more and more like a comic in the New Yorker magazine depicting Big fat pigs with cigars stepping on little ant sized people.  Those who are the guiltiest of the injustices greed are distorting religion, particularly Christianity to justify their actions.  Greed today, calls itself Capitalism, but it is what it is regardless of what we choose to name it.  It is the worship of mammon, and we can’t dress it up to be anything else, God sees what it does to the little people and calls it what it is.  How can anyone call themselves Christians and not live as Jesus Christ lived?  During his 40 days in the wilderness he was given a test.  It is a test we are all given, particularly in the country. He could have had mansions and servants traveling the world in luxury but that was not the wealth that he chose, who could choose that wealth today and call themselves a Christian, maybe a Christian wanabe in some lifetime, but not a Christian.  The basic tenet upon which almost every religion is built is that we are to love our brothers as ourselves, do unto other as we would have others do unto us. I have to believe that only by losing everything will those who hoard everything ever learn.  That they do not see what they are doing because if they saw, they might change only to save what they have and not learn the lesson of giving.

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.” .”  Isaiah 6:9-10

Many individuals on earth who share the dream of One World are joining together to reach out and aid those who are still in the dark.  We are learning that our survival is intricately connected with the survival of everyone else on the planet because they are our neighbors, we are no longer a world-we are a neighborhood.  One person cannot have a net worth of several billion dollars, while millions of children around the world starve to death.  The world is now a neighborhood and those children are our neighbors’ children.  If we do not protect our neighbors’ children, eventually it will be our children who need protecting, and we will be alone.

“A certain heathen came to Shammai and said to him, “Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he repulsed him with the rod which was in his hand. When he went to Hillel, he said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn.”  Judaism. Talmud, Shabbat 31a

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  Albert Einstein