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Fear, itself

The Webster Retort,
November 3, 2006
By Stephen Webster
For The Lone Star Iconoclast

Fear, itself

I know why you did it. I understand that you were afraid, at least initially. After all, you were just doing what you were told, just marching in line with the rest of the team. Remember Reagan’s 11th. You do these things for our protection.

But when they said how a patriot must act, you accepted it as law.

And when they claimed an inherent power to commit a crime, you went along.

When they changed their reasons for war, and changed them again, and again and again, you let it slide. And when they said “Mission Accomplished”, you posed for the cameras.

When they said seniors will benefit from a system that enables drug makers to raise prices and lock out competition, you agreed, and even personally profited. All the while thousands of our elders suffered and died, unable to obtain the drugs which sustain them.

When they said it was okay to carry out acts that many Japanese soldiers were once condemned as war criminals for, you abdicated your duty to justice.

When they said they could jail an American without charge, simply by declaring something to be so without having to present any evidence, you gave your approval.

When they said stay out of it, sit down, and shut up; Congress has no right to be involved in the conduct of a war, you tucked your tail and obeyed.

When they said it was time to hand the keys to the people’s treasury over to the richest one percent of the nation, you went as far as buying them a gold-fringed lanyard.

When they said it was alright to invade the homes of citizens without a warrant and detain our brothers and sisters without the sacred Writ upon which our very democracy is based, you nodded in agreement.

When they said judges have not the right to uphold the Constitution against the will of a man unelected and his band of ethically-challenged mates, you allowed it.

When they contaminated our weapons with depleted uranium, and thousands of soldiers and Iraqis began to fall ill or die, you said Fine, and fought against programs to screen our young men and women for this poison as they return from the sand pit.

When they said that the people really shouldn’t be trusted with such liberal freedoms as those afforded by the Bill of Rights, you aided their treason.

When they said Help is On the Way, you were silent, watching as certainly as we all were as the façade of equality was brutally beaten and drowned in the murky, blackened waters of New Orleans.

And then, when they said it was time to repeal Posse Comitatus, the last protection the people retain that keeps our military from conducting operations on our soil without civilian control, you thought it might be a good idea.

When they said that the working families of this nation should no longer be allowed debt relief through bankruptcy, you pulled the line, further driving a stake into the heart of the American dream.

Then, one day, someone said, No. And then another, and another, until those who said No outnumbered those who would lie down and watch as a thousand tiny men with a thousand tiny daggers bleed Lady Justice dry, drop by drop by drop.

Then, one day, the thunderous applause stopped, until it was only you and a few others, blindly eulogizing the glory of the absence of liberty and the preservation of a New Type of Freedom; Orwell’s prophecy fulfilled.

Then, one day, the righteous looked around them and realized they are being enslaved on the land their fathers died to defend. But soon the righteous will have an opportunity to Take Back their Destiny.

And I really, really hope they do.

It was another such time, during a period of exaggerated threat and tyrannical rule, when towers of men who were then considered terrorists, burned words immortal into the blood-drenched earth. Those words ring loudly still today, as our forefathers scream from the heavens that Freedom is something that Dies if it is not Used.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.

For obstructing the Administration of Justice by refusing Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

For rendering the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of 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.

Such were the words of John Hancock, who provided for us a foundation by which we can wrest our destiny back into the hands of those who build it, and away from those who would merely destroy.

It must be done.

For when they come for the Reporters, it will be in the name of preserving secrets of the state. In doing so, they will blind and gag the people.

And when they come for the Muslims, they will abate, because they are not them. In doing so, they will repeat a great sin we once fought against with every ounce of our being.

And when they come for the Mexicans, they will say nothing, because they do not vote. And in doing so, they will beat their drums as justification for upholding the Rule of Law.

And when they come for the Gays, they will remain quiet, for their ways, though harmless to others, were not pleasing. And in doing so, they will laude their own morality and a perversion of Christianity as the highest law.

And when they come for the Veterans who speak out against the chaos that fuels their cause, they will stay in their seats, for the Veterans’ plight affects but a few. And in doing so, they will be defending the state from “enemy propagandists.”

And when they come for their political opponents, they will applaud, for there will be nothing standing in the way. And in doing so, our democracy will have perished.

And when they come for the Christians who still adhere to the teachings of their Savior, they will further twist the words of a loving God into a resounding damnation. And in doing so, they will firmly establish an American Theocracy to dictate which behaviors may be acceptable.

But they forget that all Despots fear Representative Governance. Unfortunately, they never did think that one day, it might be the Representatives next on the list. And when they come for them, they will lose their choice to be silent. The decision will be made for them, and their irrelevance will cease to be.

In times such as these, I am comforted by the words of a leader long past: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For truly, in this day, we have nothing to fear but fear, itself.

Remember, remember, the Seventh of November, a day when redemption shall be sought. I see no reason, why the Seventh of November, should ever be forgot.

Stephen Webster is an Investigative Reporter, photographer, general assignments reporter, feature writer, opinion columnist and freelancer from Lewisville, Texas. He commonly contributes to The News Connection, The Lone Star Iconoclast, The Dallas Peace Times, The Bleeding Quill, and Peace Journalism Magazine. You can reach him at swebster_bc(at)yahoo.com.

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