Now Playing: Arthur Ruger
Topic: Civic Duty
We Were There: Thoughts on getting away with talking mean about the government
Part I Photo is mine
About half way through the Hearing, my brain suddenly connected the dots of concepts from the American Government class I took as a 12th grader in 1964. Here we sat assembled talking about our government and what's wrong with it,
- perhaps a majority of us taking for granted how that document (whose name gets tossed around like mustard and ketchup at a barbecue) protects us with more force and authority than had a brigade of troops standing guard outside the doors been present (unless necessary which then would make a military brigade a right of every citizen.)
What better demonstration that what all this is about is to live in one of the very few places on the globe where we can get away with it; that in a democracy some things lead to even greater manifestations of citizen power.
Here's what we got away with this past weekend:
Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Being married to an activist who can get things done has its positive perks which include sitting up front where I can hear and see stuff a lot more thoroughly. (And even for an old Veteran who thinks he's seen it all and knows everything, sitting up that close is no place to be caught falling asleep!)
Photo of Lietta is mine
So I thought I'd get my notebook and write down what I expected would be a thought, concept or cool quote that might enter my ears once every ... oh, say 45 minutes. I'd hear something I could use as a talking point or theme for long-winded articles or rants.
So ready to take notes, both feet on the floor and somewhat alert, I started listening and then began to write.
When it was over the old callous on my writing finger was back, having regressed some 40 years ago.
I don't have a laptop, just a calloused writing finger and 36 pages of talking points.
I'll leaving the laptopping and live blogging to Noemi who ought to get some kind of blogging award from somebody who knows a good job when they read one.
So no, don't panic! I'm not going to write up 36 pages of talking points.
But I am going to start writing over the next few weeks about thoughts the came flying into my awake old military-Veteran mind as I sat protected by a document.
What would a "Constitutional" model of citizenship look like?
Does a good citizen live in indifference to freedoms possessed by few and coveted by most who live on an entire planet?
Does a good citizen justifiably think that the pursuit of happiness includes mere patriotism of consuming American-made products, enjoying corporate sponsored shallow entertainment, going to work, giving up withheld taxes and living only for today?
Does a good citizen leave most of the important stuff to bigmouth politicians who talk down to an entire electorate that is far wiser that it itself realizes?
Does good citizenship stop at the door to a military recruiter's office?
Does a good citizen-soldier agree and commit to stop thinking and merely follow orders once a uniform is donned?
- Hell yes, I will go!
- But don't tell me I can't think
- Don't tell me I can't discern
- and don't tell me I have to violate law and repudiate the Constitution to help some fool up my chain of command stay in the driver's seat.
Our assemby did not ask that question, but instead refused to wait for some sort of wise permission from any "higher authority" - elected or wannabe - that pretends to know more and understand more Civics than what we know and understand.
Our assembly waited for no one's endorsment.
- We gathered
- We deliberated
- We will be heard
- We will demand REAL American Constitutional justice for all!
We will ask, for example, of the Lieutenant's presiding Court Martial Judge,
if the illegality of the order to march out and kill is a concern included in the Consitution, why is it not relative to a thinking soldier's right?
By the way - to all fools who say "You signed on, you knew what you were doing, stop whining and get going!" - read an officer's oath.
That oath includes the primary and overarching vow to protect and obey the Constitution. Nowhere does an officer's oath -unlike an enlisted man's oath - include a vow to obey without question or assessment of orders from all superior officers.
So I'm already worked up but have to get going to work so I can earn more tax money to pay - among other things - other citizen soldiers to protect the rights of every other American citizen and their court marital presiders.
This then will start a series for me.
I'll close this morning with a quote from my distant relative, a much maligned (and deservedly so from my own reading of history) former president, but a highly admired, respected and effective military officer and commander of all American forces at the time. Ulysses S. Grant.
Grant's words in and of themselves, authorize any and all - past or present - U.S. military officers to think for themselves, even if they never run for president.
"one of the most unjust ever waged on a weaker country by a stronger." - On America's war against Mexico
More later ...
Posted by SwanDeer Project
at 12:01 AM PST
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 5:20 PM PDT