Each and every one of us has the same potential for power as George W Bush or Dick Cheney; it’s just that we choose to acknowledge their power while doing nothing to increase ours. Obviously we cannot simply walk into the White House, demand what we want, and have it done, but we can slowly gain power from other people and eventually get some of what we want. I wrote last week (or maybe earlier this week- I don’t read my blog) that the (few) Democrats had succeeded in filibustering the Telecom Immunity bill, and they had done it because people like you and me – their constituents – had demanded it. It seems that now, the Democrats and Republicans have reached a deal to push the bill forward. There are quite a few amendments that will all have to be voted on, but in the end it looks as though (as it stands right now) it will pass the Senate with full immunity. I will not even go into the fact that most of the amendments that the Republicans put in, need 50 votes to pass, while most of the Democratic ones (including the taking away of amnesty) require sixty; Glenn Greenwald does a much better job than I even will be able to of explaining that. My point here is that the people who are making this decision are people whom we put in office and who are serving us, for the sole purpose of representing our stands. If we just sit back and let this happen without fighting full force against it, they will think we accept it. Enough voters are against giving huge corporations who broke laws in order to violate our civil liberties – simply because the President asked them to – complete amnesty, that we can actually make a difference. Write as many letters to your Senators and Congressperson as you can, call their office once an hour (it is a much simpler thing that most people think- a sixty second phone call usually does the trick), and get as many people as you can to do the same thing. As soon as enough people realize that they have as much potential for power as anyone else, things will start changing; but it’s up to each and every one of us to make it a reality.
All the things – and believe me, there are more than any of us realize – being done to people not only of this country, but also (especially) of the rest of the world in our name are stoppable. As I said above, it is important that we realize and then execute our powers in order to achieve this, but first we need to know what exactly is happening. Amy Goodman (one of my personal heroes) wrote an article yesterday in which she spoke of the recent death of the long reigning dictator of Indonesia who killed millions of people- with weapons and money given to him by the United States of America. None of the mainstream newspapers carry front-page articles about this kind of thing, and on the rare occasion that they do, they do not mention the fact that it is our tax dollars that are making all of that possible; it is up to us to figure that out for ourselves. Then, once we have done our research and become horrified by what our money is being used for, it is time to do something. We have come a long way from the power being in the hands of the people – we hand it to people who we think can make better decisions (and why do we think they can make better decisions? That’s a whole other blog) – and it is a long uphill battle to get it back, but it is possible and the only way it will happen is if we all fight. I’m not saying that we should all quit our jobs, refuse to pay taxes, and go to war with our government, but we should act how we feel and do whatever we can.
The number of dead due to the current presidential conflict in Kenya has reached 1,000 according to Al Jazeera. Nothing is changing on the streets, as backers of Raila Odinga continue to loot the homes and kill the supporters of Mwai Kibaki, while Kibaki’s police shoot into crowds of Odinga supporters. Ban Ki-moon (the UN secretary general) has joined Kofi Anan in the capitol to help work out some kind deal; the representatives of both Kibaki and Odinga are there, but are pretty far away from each other on the demands. Kibaki says he did not steal the election, but is willing to share power if it means settling things down, while Odinga maintains that he will not back down (although he is in no way condoning the violence) until Kibaki admits he cheated and agrees to hold new, fair elections.
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