Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial day: A Day of Mixed Emotions

Today is a day of families and friends coming together, of lots of hamburgers and hot dogs consumed, of games and patriotic gatherings; a day of parades and speeches about patriotism and sacrifice by politicians who hardly mention those things on other days of the year, a day of bands playing and flags waving and pundits speaking about great wars of the past, American exceptionalism and the necessity of America leading the world, righting all the wrongs of other nations and cultures and showing them the way of freedom and democracy.

Amid this patriotic orgy few know and even fewer stop to reflect on Memorial Day's humble beginnings. It was originally called Decoration Day. It began with widows decorating the graves of the Confederate dead before the end of the failed War for Southern Independence. From there the tradition grew and was adopted by the north as well.

With that, event follows upon event that makes the thought of Memorial Day as it has come to be celebrated, with all of the government myth and propaganda, a day greeted with mixed emotions to say the least.

On the one hand who can speak against the suffering and sacrifice of those who have fallen in past and present wars? These brave souls are among the best America has had to offer. Almost everyone has a relative or friend they can recall who fell in one of the battles the nation has fought. I think of my own best friend from grade school who died in Vietnam. He loved his older brother and admired him above all others. His older brother was a Marine. He wanted to become a Marine. He did...and he died. He died in the swamps of the insect infested jungles of Vietnam ostensibly making the world safe for democracy and keeping it free from communism. At least, that is the rhetoric we have been asked to believe from our central government.

Which brings us to the "on the other hand."

On the other hand we have a government which engaged in many of these conflicts in direct contradiction of the policies and wisdom of the Founders. Their vision of America was a peaceful one. It was a vision of a productive nation, trading with all yet entangling and involving itself in the affairs of none. It was a vision of a militarily strong nation but one which used its strength only defensively to protect the many, not aggressively for the profit and empowerment of a few.

In repeated contradiction of this wise, just and noble policy, the general government has sent generations of our brightest and best to the four corners of the of the globe to die in wars of conquest, intervention and confiscation, indeed, sacrificing the many for the profit of the few.

Ironically, these wars of conquest did not begin in a foreign land, but domestically, with a ruthless invasion of the Southern Republics that had formed a Confederacy and withdrawn from the free compact they joined in 1789.

Few know that while the Southern Confederacy was being unconstitutionally invaded and conquered many areas of the north were also occupied by military rule to control the populace. Held under martial law the rights of thousands of northern citizens were taken away. Those who spoke out were imprisoned and hundreds of newspapers that opposed the policies of the Central Government were shut down and their presses destroyed. The inmates, indeed, had taken over operation of the asylum.

Once the Confederacy was defeated the newly born Empire, with a virtual one party system to rubber stamp Federal policies, turned westward for further conquest, not shirking the policy of genocide for the indians. From there the imperial power of the Empire expanded throughout the world, beginning its international escapades with the Spanish American War, a war carried out under false pretexts, supported by the yellowest of yellow journalism and the most offensive of American jingoism.

The rest, as they say, is history, a history of unnecessary wars, interventions, the brutalizing of citizens of other nations and prolonged occupations. Even the most perfunctory analysis shows gross cognitive dissonance between the actions of the Empire and the policies and intentions of the Founders of the Republic. This does not stop the leaders from cherry picking the words of the Founders to rationalize the government's actions and choices; actions and choices often in diametrical opposition to the desires and wishes of the citizens as well as the Founders.

The wisdom of the Founders has been vindicated a thousand times over by the sorry consequences of the unconstitutional actions of the General Government. As already mentioned, the Founders created a central government of limited powers because they knew of the abuses, mischief and evils that always result when power is usurped and placed in the hands of the few.

Since that American historical train wreck misnamed "The Civil War" the Central government has incrementally usurped every power originally reserved to the states and the people, making the 10th amendment a dead letter in a dead document. Every time the Central government has abused these powers to overreach and go beyond the Constitutional mandate clearly set by the Founders, whether acting domestically or internationally, the consequences have been tragic and disastrous for all but a few––usually "the few" being those who drove the unconstitutional, overreaching policies to begin with. Even when good did result it has almost always been accompanied by tragic, unforeseen consequences, consequences that cause much greater harm than the original conditions the government sought to end by police state-like actions. This is typical of Jacobin-style liberalism.

So Memorial Day is a time a thoughtful American finds to be a day filled with conflicting emotions and sentiments. On the one hand we have the virtue of the self-sacrificing soldier. On the other hand we have the vice of the self-aggrandizing political leaders become pimps of unelected and often faceless international private interests. On the one hand we have the noble soldiers, who understand their service to be one in defense of the freedom of their relatives and neighbors. On the other hand we have the history of the consequences of many of those wars; consequences that demonstrate clearly that the real purpose of those wars was anything but the freedom and well-being of the citizens of the Once Great Republic of Republics called These United States.

No doubt, many will be offended at bringing up such thoughts on this day of "unity." They may even greet such ideas with cries of treason and accuse me and those who agree with me of being unpatriotic. To those I have nothing to say in my defense but few a questions to ask of them.

What is patriotism?
Is patriotism the same as nationalism?
Is Patriotism about whom you are loyal to, or what you are loyal to?
If one is devoted to the policies and persons of the inmates who have taken control of the asylum by force can one be said to be a true patriot and advocate of the purpose for its being brought into existence in the first place: the restoration of sanity? Or are those who point out the abusive policies and mad acts of the inmates the true patriots and guardians of the ideals and intentions of those who founded the asylum? As it is said, in the kingdom of lies true is treason, and by inference, the truth speaker is branded a traitor. Things have not changed much since the days the Jews persecuted Jeremiah.

How wonderful it would be if Memorial Day was a day one could celebrate without inner conflict! Even now it would be possible to forgive if the abuses ended. But in order for that to happen we would have to have real change---not the change Dear Leader speaks of presently, a change that would place even more power into the hands of even fewer persons ruling a world government. To the contrary. Change to the President's mad vision of Brave New World is the very thing that is not needed. It, indeed, is not change at all, but simply more of the same. Only the change of return and restoration of the Founders Sane Old World, a World that insisted the General Government operate within the constraints of Constitutional limitations, is change that offers hope worthy of the name. Only such a restoration will provide the means by which freedom and liberty can be re-elevated to their rightful central place in American life. It is only such a restoration that can end our imperial aggression carried out at the cost of the labors of our citizenry and the blood of our youth. Only a Constitutional restoration will return America to a peaceful and prosperous Republic of free Republics. Then and only then can there be the unalloyed unity of its citizens in the celebration of Memorial Day, a Memorial Day celebrated with the assurance that those patriots of the past who died for our liberty and those of the present who protect it now did not and do not do so in vain.

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