(Editorial Comment from host RJ Evans on his American Heathen® radio show – Air Date 09/22/12)
“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The last words of the Gettysburg Address. And yet, we have forsaken them. We have given them away. We have abandoned our responsibility. The great experiment is about to blowup the American lab.
I had a dream last night. I was in a hotel lobby speaking with a native American. An Indian. I was speaking to him with most of my head and body covered by a sheet and blanket. My face was barely exposed. We were discussing our national state of affairs. He would speak. Then I would speak. We listened to one another, intent and focused on what the other had to say. And, not surprisingly, we both found common ground in our words. But, as we finished our conversation, reporters showed up. They pulled their pads of note paper from their pockets and started writing with abandon. Soon, I was the only one speaking, and the covers were slowly being drawn off of my head and body. More reporters showed up, and soon my every word was being recorded. What was I saying? What could I possibly say to draw such interest? I’m not sure. But, when I woke from this dream, the words I could not hear in the dream flooded from my fingers to my notepad on my computer. They were jumbled. Fractured sentences that were confusing but significant. I spent this morning assembling them into something contextual. Hopefully they will inspire. Or not.
“Freedom and liberty for all”. These are words that are beyond a simple tag line for a radio show. They are words that bear substance to an ideal that is as old as humanity. They are not words of liberation granted by any supernatural entity – they are not given as a gift from tyranny. The are not bestowed upon fearful masses. They are inherent to the human condition. They are a guarantee of existence. They are fought for because they are essential to life. No other words hold so clearly and concisely the power and majesty of humanity tightly in their grip. “Freedom and liberty for all”.
We have taken for granted “freedom and liberty for all”. We have cast those words off, setting them adrift on a sea of ignorance, anger and despair. We have replaced them with demigods, surrogates for our own lack of conscience, men and women whose character is borne of the lowest common denominator, of debilitating ego and greed. We appoint them because they sound important, speak in circles, or are pleasing to the eye, and we never hold them accountable for personal zealotry or ambition. We call them Senators and Representatives, and we demand they think for us because we no longer care. “Take my mind. Speak on my behalf, even though I know not what I think! I cannot think. I’m far too busy to care!” Yes, we are far too busy to care. Too busy to guard our house. Too busy to guard our lives. Too busy to guard our humanity.
Too busy? Too busy? The very foundation of human conscience and we’re far too busy?!! Freedom and liberty for all. Fundamental rights of every human being. And we throw them away as a matter of course, a total denial of our humanity. Is it any wonder why we are so divided, so polarized, so vitriolic and angry? Is it any wonder why we have allowed ourselves to be reduced to numbers, percentages, colors on graphs, and dollars and cents? Is it any wonder why the only value we place on our lives are figures on the profit and loss statements of a corporate spread sheet? Government of the people, by the people, for the people, has perished from the earth. It no longer exists. We gave it away. “Here. You do it.”
But suddenly, everyone wants it back. Suddenly everyone realizes that the lowest common denominators of our conscience-for-hire are failing. But our cries are nothing more than a tantrum from children, our extreme lack of ideas run amok. “Take back our country! We want our country back!” we scream, as if it had been stolen, pilfered by thieves in the dead of the night, pitiful attempts to convince ourselves that we are victims. Americans are not victims. Americans voluntarily gave freedom and liberty for all away. Lock, stock and barrel. And we’ve been shot by it. If Americans want America to return to its principles of freedom and liberty for all… Try a novel, tested and true method. It’s not about taking our country back. It’s about being involved, informed, educated, reasoned, and enlightened. It’s about electing our representatives who reflect our conscience and our humanity. It’s about holding our representatives accountable for their votes. But ultimately in the end, it’s about being responsible for our country.