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Infinite Monkeys. Infinite Typewriters.
An Open Letter to Right Wingers
Response to reactions to Leanne's write
I find incredible the repetition of the blindness and irrationality that is currently manifesting itself in this country. To you who say that foreigners should not criticize the US because they don't understand, let me ask if you think you shouldn't comment or criticize other nations. After all, that would follow logically. People in most other nations above the third world know more about us than most American know about them. Heck, most Americans can't even locate another country on a map, and some can't even find the continents.
I would remind you of the words in the Declaration of Independence: "...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires..." It was one of Jefferson's (and other founding fathers) reasons for writing the document. Perhaps you don't think you can learn from them something about proper American values, but I disagree. The opinions of foreign nations were important to them. Today, with our growing dependence on foreign nations for our materiel, energy, money and brainpower, we must be even more sensitive to the opinions of mankind. I might also remind you that the person whose writing rights you criticized is a citizen of one of the "Coalition of the Willing". That gives her the right to criticize her government's actions, and by extension, its allies.
When I said at the beginning "repetition of the blindness and irrationality", I was referring to history. We wronged the American Indians, then later felt bad and said we wouldn't make that mistake again. We interred the Japanese-Americans in WWII, and later said we wouldn't do that again. We gave way to hysteria and meanness during the McCarthy era, then said it was a mistake and we wouldn't do it again. We yelled and screamed about dominoes during the Vietnam War; today we trade with them and say we won't do that again. And now we're in Iraq, doing it again.
One of the other things our founding fathers said was that the greatest threat to liberty was war. Yes, they actually said it. It was the main reason behind Washington's (George, not the capitol) warning to avoid foreign entanglements. It was the reason most of the founding fathers wanted us to NOT have a large standing army. For several years of the new republic, we did not even possess a navy. One other thing they recognized is that democracy could not exist without certain preconditions. One was the condition of being informed about current events. This was necessary for the people to make good choices, and is the primary reason behind both the First Amendment and their push for universal education. Most Americans are ridiculously uninformed - more than half STILL believe WMD's were found in Iraq following our latest invasion; they are unaware that we put Saddam's party in power in the 1970's; and they have never read a book by Chalmers Johnson or any other writer (there are literally dozens) who reveal our sordid past. They still think we're number one in the world in things like education, health care, per-capita income, life expectancy, etc. In short, their worldview is frozen in the 1950's.
The other precondition for democracy is dissent. Where there is no dissent there is no democracy, but right-wingers tend to confuse dissent with disloyalty. Some think that dissent should not be aired during wartime. We found the German people guilty for remaining silent during wartime, and rightly so. To wait to speak up until after evil has already wreaked its damage is immoral.
The fact is that this country could withstand a 9/11 event every single year, and never fall. Our population grows annually by a hundred times the loss of life we endured on that day, and the economy grows by twenty times. But we cannot endure if our liberties are lost even once. They have been encroached upon by both Clinton and Bush to an extent that citizens of my parents' generation would not have tolerated for two seconds. But that was when Americans were braver, better educated, and more civic-minded. If I had to guess, I would give the American Empire less than 20 years before it - like most empires - wears itself out.
Alcuin of York