Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Prophetic Words

On April 20, 1795, James Madison wrote,

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

In war, too, the discretionary power of the President is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war...and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both.

No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

How prophetic Madison was two hundred years ago, and how clearly his words outline what, we today, are experiencing under this administration. Yes, we have engaged in warfare throughout our nation's brief history, and yes we have been victorious. And nearly always having been victorious has given us a certain arrogance. Some would say we have a right to that arrogance, others would say we do not. I believe that Madison felt the former might be the case and took pains to outline the pitfalls when war and power march hand in hand by design, and not from the necessity of survival.

In the last two hundred and ten years we have survived a second war (1812) with our Mother Country, a Civil upheaval which threatened our very existence as one country, and two World Wars. Never have we been an aggressor towards another foreign nation, and those wars in which we engaged, on foreign soil, were thrust upon us.

In 1917, when he spoke before a joint session of Congress and sought a Declaration of War against Germany, President Woodrow Wilson said, "It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilization itself seeming to be in the balance." Truly it was a most savage war, but one which we did not initiate, and one which our leader was loathe to rush headlong into.

More prophetic lines were uttered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when in his first Inaugural address he said, "...This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory." It was this man's leadership which took us successfully through a second Great War. Again a war in which we were not the aggressors.

Today, I see in my country those things about which Madison warned. We have almost unbridled power in the hands of but a few, an administration which fears the truth, fears public discourse, which seeks to dominate by RULE of fear and one which has sold us into never ending debt. We are in a war which is profitable to those who are in the top echelon of business, receive monies gleaned from the backs of those least able to pay (and will be paying for generations to come) in order to support a war, in which we have been the aggressor, and seemingly will continue to be in a never ending war scenario painted by PNAC and the current administration.

I cannot believe that there has not been a hew and cry sent up from the citizens of this country which truly, by now, must see this administration as morally bankrupt despite the protestations to the contrary. Is no one else sick of being told they are unpatriotic if they do not support this President and all his henchmen in their nefarious escapades? Is no one else sick of seeing one of our fellow citizens handcuffed and removed from an otherwise public forum for daring to speak out and demand answers? Is no one else sick of being told that if you do not believe in their interpretation of God that you are godless?

We have seen how cronyism in this administration has managed to put the lives of thousands of our fellow citizens at risk, (Brown/FEMA & New Orleans) and we have seen how the manipulation of fear (Baby strollers blowing up the NYC transit system) has allowed us to send our young people to die for this administration's agenda of greed (Halliburton & Oil), hardly compassionate no matter which way you care to slice it.

Never before, in our history, have we been so scorned for the actions of our leader. Never before in our history have we been thought less of, where the American Dream has somehow turned into a nightmare from which there is to be no awaking soon.

It seems that we have allowed Madison's words to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Susan B. Goodwin